Technology and Remote Instruction

I believe that appropriate, intentional, and creative use of technology in the language classroom enhances student learning. On this page, I will briefly discuss my experience with technology in the classroom and with remote instruction.

I regularly use technology in my classes during in-person and remote instruction. Platforms that I have effectively used for teaching and for organizing course materials include Microsoft Word and PowerPoint; Prezi; Google Docs, Slides, and Forms; YouTube and downloaded video files; Qualtrics; Zoom and other video platforms; and the learning management systems Blackboard Learn, Moodle, and Brightspace (D2L).

See my sample work page for examples of my use of technology in the classroom, including a lesson plan that effectively incorporates technology in an introductory French classroom and student assignments that rely on the use of technology.

My Experience with Remote Instruction

In Spring and Summer 2020, I worked as a Teaching Assistant of Remote Instruction through the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). My responsibility was to assist professors and instructors in the transition to remote teaching as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Fall of the same year, I “returned” to UCSB to teach French remotely through the Department of French and Italian, where I taught through the end of the 2020-2021 academic year. Working with professors with varying pedagogical philosophies during this year of remote instruction allowed me the opportunity to evaluate my use of technology in the language classroom, and how best to use technology during remote instruction to enhance student engagement and learning.

The Use of Technology for Informal Language Practice

One of the challenges students have expressed to me during the move to remote learning over the 2020-2021 academic year is having enough time to practice spoken communication. When students are learning on campus, they have access to French conversation club, movie club, and other student events that allow them to meet and interact with other French-speaking students or instructors. With social distancing practices and a reduction of funds for the organization of such events, students have few university-led opportunities to speak French.

Synchronous communication platforms like Zoom can be used to fill in these gaps. In Winter 2021, I organized a small conversation group with mid-beginner students, and plan to continue this group through the end of the Spring quarter. I provided students with questions and topics to discuss if they so chose, and elicited feedback about their experience at the end of the quarter. In addition to allowing students time to practice conversational French, the goal of these meeting is to foster a sense of community that students may have lost since the move to remote learning.

While Zoom is the platform currently provided by my university, I have also had some success using Skype, GoogleHangouts, WhatsApp, and Facebook video calls for informal language practice.