Hi! Bonjour! ¡Hola!

Hi everyone!

This is the first blog post I have written since my internship. Little nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time! I am used to writing weekly updates and reminders that I share with my students’ families, but these blog posts are more personal. It is a little different to be writing a reflection piece for my graduate class and writing down my insights calls for a little more time and concentration than my typical weekly update.

I am a French Immersion teacher and have been teaching with Regina Public Schools for the past nine years. I am the Grade 2 French Immersion teacher at Ecole Centennial School and I briefly taught Grade 1 at Ecole Wilfrid Walker as well. Last year, I decided to go back to school and pursue my graduate degree and I have loved every second of it so far! I have always been enthusiastic about the idea of bringing technology into the classroom and I like to use it as a tool to engage my students whenever I can.

During my internship, I researched various bilingual apps and would bring in my iPad weekly to incorporate technology with different learning activities. My cooperating teacher also had a “Mimio” ( ) which is a tool used to transform your whiteboard into an interactive one and that is something we used daily with the kiddos during my internship. We also started up a blog during my internship and I was responsible for adding weekly blog posts with updates. I had to communicate as well as stay connected with my parents through email and our classroom blog every week.

Once I started teaching with Regina Public Schools, I continued to incorporate technology in the classroom as much as I could. I guess you could say my experience with technology during my internship sparked my interest and it has encouraged me to keep trying out new technology with my students. Resources in French are not easy to find and the use of apps and online websites allows French Immersion teachers to find resources in French that can be used with their students in class or at home. One of the first things I set up was a Quizlet account ( ) and I got started on creating my page ( ) with activities that my kiddos used to build vocabulary and practice our spelling words. This is something we use in class and they can use it at home as well. I use a Mimio as well as iPads although both these tools can be restrictive at times due to license agreements and the apps available on our iPads need to go through a big process of being approved by the division before they can be downloaded. I also love using Kahoot ( ) with the kids because setting up an account and accessing content as well as creating your own content is very user-friendly. I have had the chance to create a couple of Kahoots and I hope to have more time to keep playing around with this website (; Like most teachers, I also incorporate the use of a projector in my classroom, YouTube, and PowerPoint presentations (it works well to create cue cards with audio) for lessons and activities. Additionally, we use websites such as Lalilo ( ) which is an online phonics program for French, and Je lis je lis ( ) which is an online reading resource for French. These two programs are great for in-class use and they are also very user-friendly for students or parents to access from home. During the pandemic, I also got the opportunity to try out other programs and resources available that could be used for online learning. Google Classroom and Screencast-O-Matic ( ) became lifesavers during online learning. I also became familiar with Boom Cards ( ) during the pandemic and enjoyed all the different activities that were available to my students in French. I hope that one day I might get a smartboard in my classroom and get to introduce that technology to my students.

At the risk of dating myself, some of my earliest memories of technology would probably be the use of an overhead projector with that special film teachers would write on. A VHS would be brought in if ever we were watching a show/documentary and cassettes along with cassette players were used when our teachers wanted to bring French music into the classroom. We were lucky to have a computer in the classroom at that time but I do remember that we had a computer lab at my school where we would go to practice typing and Math (there were some pretty fun Math games like Math Blast and typing games). Back then our computers used CD-ROMs and we did not have google to help us access information. In high school, I remember we had a program we used in Accounting class. This next item is a little off-topic from educational technology, but I remember using LimeWire quite a bit as a teenager to burn music and make CDs ?.

It is amazing to see the progression of educational technology over the past 30 years and what is available nowadays to our students to further their educational experience. From the perspective of a French Immersion teacher, I know that we have more tools readily available to our students and their parents to help support their learning in French. My parents would have been ecstatic if I would have had online reading resources and online phonic programs in French that I could have accessed from home. There is no doubt that all this new technology engages our students, but we also have a huge responsibility to teach our students to act responsibly when using it. Educators are now met with the task to teach digital citizenship to their students and guide them on how to act accordingly in this digital age.

I am looking forward to learning more about digital citizenship and incorporating this new knowledge into the classroom!


  • Brian

    There is no harm is dating oneself when it comes to the use of technology. It is curious to see the journey of other teachers, as it becomes very clear that tech continues to evolve and grow and expand, but doesn’t seem to be quite as innovative. Or it could be that our students do not get to play with the technology in school, as it is not our homes where most of the playing takes place.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Valeska Porras

      Hi Brian!

      Haha, I could have gone a little further back and brought up Betamax tapes, but thought people would get the gist with VHS tapes ?.

      I am really enjoying learning about everyone’s Tech journey and just seeing what everyone’s experience has been.

      I guess there are only so many ideas to be conceived before we start recycling and revamping previous ones. I mean I have seen some big changes in technology over the past 30 years and I think we would probably see some big changes again in the next 30 years. But I do not think technology changes that much from year to year.

      I do believe we are heading in a direction where kids get the time to try out and explore different types of technology in the classroom. I think this is why we are seeing more courses and professional development opportunities being offered on the topic of technology and digital citizenship. If we had more funds, I think we could do more regarding technology and making more technology accessible to all schools/students.

      Looking forward to learning with you this semester!

  • Gilles Dauphinais

    Thanks for sharing your tech journey Valeska. I too worked in French immersion for a portion of my career. Do you find your students less willing or excited to participate using French apps or software – as compared to the English ones? Has the online use of translators helped your students and parents OR has it became something students/parents have become reliant on to do their homework? I recall using cassettes in core French to teach themes like (foods, clothing, body part, etc.). Some things have stood the test of time and music is one those things when teaching language. I can only imagine the variety of children’s music and teacher resources in French have improved with technology advancements like Spotify, Itunes, Google Music, etc.

    • Valeska Porras

      You are going to laugh Gilles – I think you might have been the VP at St. Mary’s when I did my pre-internship and internship there. I could have it wrong because it has been a while haha but I know you from somewhere ?.

      I think it is a little different when it comes to using French apps with the younger students. I feel that younger students enjoy the French apps/software more than the older students do (whether it is because they are more open to learning the language or the apps are cuter/more appealing???). There is always a type of pushback once students start to get older in French and it can be challenging at times to get them excited about French apps. I do not know why this happens, but it is something I have noticed happen quite a bit. I am not sure if you noticed this as well when you taught in French Immersion. I will also add that our younger students only have the option of using the French apps at school because we do not introduce English as a subject at school until Grade 3, so my Grade 2 students are just happy to enjoy some tech time and it does not seem to bother them that their apps are in French. It would be interesting though to see that if given the chance to pick between English apps and French apps, which apps they would choose ?.

      Haha, I am not the biggest fan of google translate. I do refer my kids to online dictionaries like Wordreference ( ) or Linguee ( ). I do hear from colleagues that teach the older grades that online translators are used by many students and even though they are not always accurate, it is a great starting point. Whether we get our kiddos to use online translators or online dictionaries, I think it is imperative to walk them through the online resources we want them to use and show them how to use/access them properly (and it is also important to take the time to talk about pros and cons ?).

      Music is super important when we are teaching languages. Technology has definitely made music resources in French more accessible! YouTube is amazing! Spotify is really good too! It is most certainly not as hard to find/acquire music in French as it used to be back in the 90s.

      Thanks for getting me thinking with your insightful questions!

      • Gilles Dauphinais

        Yes – I believe it was at St. Mary. Who was your co-op teacher? Great to see you again.

        Great insight on the apps and how the age of the students affects their buy-in when in French immersion. You are right – the fact students in K-2 are not exposed to any English certainly will make them hungry for tech regardless of language. Looking forward to reconnecting.

        • Valeska Porras

          Natalie Mitchell was my co-op during my pre-internship and Jamie Forrest was my co-op during my internship. Both are amazing teachers!!! I was super lucky to have had the chance to work with all of you at St. Mary’s ?.

          I am super excited about having a class together this semester!!!

  • Kimberly Kipp

    Hi Valeska,
    Great post with lots to unpack. Thank you, first, for the French edtech recommendations. With two young children attending a Fransaskois school (while my French is laughable), it is always helpful to learn more. Being Trilingual, you would be my daughter’s hero – at 6 years old that is already her goal 🙂
    Your comment “There is no doubt that all this new technology engages our students, but we also have a huge responsibility to teach our students to act responsibly when using it.” is so true and the reason I really value these EC&I courses.

    • Valeska Porras

      Hi Kim!

      Aww, thanks so much for your kind words ?.

      I am always happy to share resources and I know French resources are hard to come by. Whenever my colleagues and I find new resources in French, we are always happy to share them. Good for you for putting your kiddos in French! You are opening up so many doors for them in the future ?. As you can tell, I am a HUGE advocate when it comes to learning new languages and promoting bilingualism (and multilingualism).
      I love hearing about kids taking an interest in learning different languages and learning about different cultures! It warms my heart. I love seeing how they absorb all the information we send their way like little sponges of knowledge. I think your daughter has a fantastic goal ?. I am still hopeful that one day I will learn Italian and Portuguese as well.

      I also value teaching our students to act responsibly when it comes to technology. I am excited to learn more about digital citizenship this semester as well as how to take what I learn and bring it into the classroom. Looking forward to getting to know everyone as well as learning with them/from them on this tech journey!

  • Lovepreet kaur

    Hii Valeska
    thank you for sharing your thoughts on technology, and various applications such as Mimio, kahoot, and boom cards. i would really use these applications in my learning!

    • Valeska Porras

      Hi Lovepreet!

      I love sharing resources! If ever you’re wanting more information or wanting a quick tutorial, just let me know ?.

      Looking forward to collaborating with you this semester!

  • Gilbert Proulx

    I keep a tab of Word Reference open on my laptop all day! It sure is amazing how quickly things have changed not just in the last 30 years, but even in the last 10 or so. When I started my career, kids weren’t so plugged in, as smartphones weren’t even really a thing yet, and now they can be such an important educational tool for kids. I used to wrestle a lot with them being “too plugged in”, but I think it is important to recognize that they are born into technology, and that maybe it’s just us dinosaurs who are fighting, and so it’s more important to teach them responsible usage to complement their lives and their education!

    • Valeska Porras

      I do too Proulx! Wordreference and Linguee are always open tabs on my computer ?. Just to see how technology has evolved is pretty impressive. Makes you think about the type of technology we will have at our disposal in another 30 years. I completely agree with you and share your thoughts on the importance of teaching our students to be responsible when engaging with technology. Technology is not going anywhere so I do believe that we need to take the time to learn how to teach our students to act responsibly when using technology. I also think that by becoming familiar/embracing current and future technology, we can become more confident in teaching students how to use it properly.

  • Bart Mihalicz

    I love the variety of uses of technology throughout everyone’s posts this week. My eyes have been opened to different sites or tools, or even uses for the ones that I am familiar with. I find a post like yours to be particularly interesting (and anyone else who teaches an additional language) because it might provide me with some help in my own struggles to teach French. I am not opposed to utilize some other medium, but it needs to be something proven. Teachers such as yourself, are who I am excited to learn from this semester!

    • Valeska Porras

      Hi Bart!

      I am also loving going through everyone’s resources this week! I love how our profession allows us to learn from one another and sets up platforms for collaboration. We are definitely stronger together and I believe collaboration makes us stronger within our profession.

      I am glad you found some of the information highlighted in my post this week useful ?. If ever you are wanting some more ideas just let me know and I will be happy to help! French apps and websites are not the easiest to find, but there are some gems out there ?.

      Super excited to learn with you and from you this semester!

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