Progress of Learning Spanish, With a Sprinkle of Canva.

Learning about The SAMR for Technology Integration has really made me ponder on the idea on how I can enhance my teaching practices through technology. I decided to focus on the resources Canva to capture my progress through this semester. More specifically, I decided to create a timeline to show my progress in my quest in learning Spanish.

Canva logo.

While this may seem elementary to some, I have never used Canva to create anything. I thought this would be a good way to visually show you all my progress of what I have been learning. After watching a few short YouTube videos, I learned the basics of using Canva. To my surprise, this was much easier than what I was thinking. This was such a user-friendly application for people of all skill levels and has many premade templates to choose from.

Canva within the classroom is a great way to introduce the SAMR Technology Integration. The options for this application are endless. While I decided to create a timeline, students can show their learning in a variety of ways. Students can create videos, brochures, pictures, posters, infographics, and much more. For students who prefer to not write essay to portray their learnings, Canva can redefine how students express what they have learned.

For all the people who struggle using technology, try it out and tell me what you think!

Take a look my the timeline I created using Canva.

 

Zach

Technology in the Classroom?

            As we move forward in the rapidly changing world of technology, as educators, we must ask ourselves; should we utilize the new tool of technology with our students? Or is technology dumbing down our students?

Computer lab from the late 90's
What my computer lab looked like as a grade 8 student.

Going through elementary in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, in some form I heard these famous words from every teacher I had, “You need to know your multiplication facts! You’re not going to walk around with a calculator in your pocket all day now are you!?”

Oh, the irony that statement holds today. It’s just that, we have a whole computer with access to anything we could ever think of that fits into our pockets. So, what is the perfect balance with or without technology?

In my opinion, I do believe as educators we need to keep up with technology. Both teachers and students should know how to use technology efficiently. While some may view this as lazy, I believe if taught correctly, this can be very effective. For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a hot topic within the education system these days, both in grade school and university. Some look at it as a form of plagiarism while some look at it as another online resource or search engine such as Google. If students learn how to properly utilize this resource in a way to assist in efficiency that stills holds the individual’s own thoughts and voice, then we should be teaching students how to prompt AI correctly to portray their own thoughts, voice, and beliefs.

Picture of Artificial Intelligence.

On the contrary, teaching students the foundations of subject areas are still essential. Students need to still be taught how to critically think for themselves while challenging what they have learned. This is where it gets tricky. With the use of technologies such as AI, this can very easily eliminate that critical thinking aspect that we strive for. So, if a teacher decides to use the tools in their classroom, we need to ensure we are not losing our voices while doing so.

What do you guys think, is using AI a form of cheating? Should we decrease the amount of technology that is being used in the classroom? Interested in hearing what you think!

See you next week!

Zach

Is Screen Time Good or Bad?

As a society, we are becoming more and more depend on technology. It could be from being on our laptops all day for work or from laying in bed until 2am scrolling on TikTok (which I assume is the problem for many). While technology can be a tool for many things, I believe that we are abusing our screen time in a negative way.

Personally, I am on my phone and laptop a little more than I would like to admit. I have a bad habit of just that, laying in bed until the late hours of night looking at meaningless content on social media. I mostly use Instagram and Snapchat. 99% of the time when I use these social media outlets, they are for leisure reasons and social interaction. The odd time I will be looking up informational video retaining on something I am trying to approve on.

TikTok

In regard to tools to assist with my academics and teaching, I tend to use technology quite a bit. This helps with organization, unit planning, resources for students and much more. I use many Google applications such as Google Drive, Google Classroom, and Google Docs. Theses are all resources that are user friendly for me and the students I teach. I have also recently started using different AI platforms to assist me in lesson and unit planning. When prompted correctly, I feel like this new technology can help teachers become more of an efficient teacher, freeing up more time to focus on individual students.

Google Classroom

Overall, I feel like I could improve my screen time usage. I have no problem using technology to become more productive throughout the workday, however I could improve on my leisure time while using it. I don’t need to be staying up late just to be looking at Instagram reels. One way I could improve on this is by placing my phone in a different room than where I sleep. This would decrease the temptation when I am having troubles falling asleep.

Do you have any other suggestions? Let me know!

Until next time.

Zach Nenson

From Hola to Hablo

Welcome everyone!

Join me on my adventure as I dive into the world of learning Spanish.

Back in 2016, I spent roughly 5 months travelling through South America. Within that time, I traveled to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. I can honestly say this was the best time of my life. I was captivated by the beautiful culture in these Latin countries. This stemmed from how smooth and romantic the native language is, which is why I chose to learn Spanish through our semester in EDTC 300.

Machu Picchu
A photo of Machu Picchu taken by me in Peru.

As I did travel to Spanish speaking countries for 5 months, I did not learn as much Spanish as you would think, or that I was hoping for. As a solo traveler, I would often stay at popular hostels to meet other tourists from all around the world. As this was a great way to meet people, the default language we would always speak was English, hindering my learning of the native language. I would say I do know more than the average Joe but not as much as I would like to know. My vocabulary is decent, especially when it comes to a restaurant setting, as I needed to learn this quickly to be able to order food when I went out on my own. I also have a pretty strong understanding on how to conjugate verbs but could definitely improve on that area as well. Where I lack is forming fluent sentences. When I attempted to speak Spanish, most locals had an idea of what I was trying to say because I could piece together a few words, however I was unable to make them flow smoothly into a sentence. I also found that the pronunciation on many worlds could use some work.

A picture of me looking onto the city of Quito, Ecuador after hiking a volcano
A picture of me looking onto the city of Quito, Ecuador after hiking a volcano.

Throughout the last couple of years, I have used the app called Duolingo. As I have used this in the past, I don’t think I have ever been overly consistent while using it. Once again, I found this app was great for the vocabulary aspect but not great from sentence structure. Maybe as I get further into the app, this would change. I have also taken one Spanish class here at the University of Regina. Outside of that, I haven’t really explored any other resources to assist me in learning the language. Throughout this semester, I am hoping to not only become a more consistent user on Duolingo but am also eager to find other online resources that can assist in my learning. As of now, I am unsure in what resources I am going to explore but will keep you all posted in the up coming weeks! If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

Until next week, bye.