Tag Archives: foreign language

The New Google Drive Empowers Language Learners

The New Google Drive Empowers Language Learners

This is a guest post from Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) of EdTechTeacher– an advertiser on this site.

Recently, while demonstrating to a Spanish class how to use Google Drive, I also showed them how to change the overall text to Spanish. By doing this, autocorrect would stop trying to change their text, and they would no longer have that annoying red line appearing under their writing. I then reminded them to switch the language back to English when they returned to working on other classes. A student (7th grader) quickly shot up his hand and taught me something new today about Google Docs.

With the New Drive, not only can you now set your overall language, but you can also include a subset of languages that you understand. This is a great tool for students taking foreign language classes. A first year Spanish student, for example, can easily get confused when their menus switch to Spanish as a result of changing the primary language in Drive. That’s no longer an issue if Spanish is added as anadditional language rather than the primary one!

The addition of more languages is easy. While in the New Drive,  click on Settings(the gear shaped icon in the top right corner) and then select “Settings:”Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 2.21.59 PM


You can read the rest of the post via the link:

The New Google Drive Empowers Language Learners.

The Language Classroom 2.0: How Making a Self-Made iBook Has Transformed Language Instruction (7-12)

The next session I’m attending is: “The Language Classroom 2.0: How Making a Self-Made iBook Has Transformed Language Instruction (7-12)” with Violet Richard and Anderson Auza from Noble and Greenough School. You can see a copy of their presentation slides here.

The agenda states that they will cover three main topics: Video, iBook, Apps & Websites. Noble & Greenough is currently piloting iPads in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grade (1:1) as well as some shared carts. There are also some iPads for specific classes (like the language class).

Anderson shows us a lovely video of Violet and her students reflecting on using the iPads in their Spanish Classroom.  Violet states that incorporating iPads has helped her to create the text that she wants (not one that is based on the textbook) and allows greater organization. Her students highlight a well organized, condensed piece that allows them to take notes directly on the iPad allows them to more effectively study and learn.



What Violet determined from her experience were that the iPad allowed for:

  • multi-dimensional capabilities
  • custom-designed
  • personal interest – songs, cultural aspects, etc.
  • mobile & lightweight
  • efficient & condensed
  • interactive & engaging
  • It can be edited in real time
  • It can be financially sustainable

For language teaching, the most effective tools on the iPad is the camera, the photo roll, and the apps! By using these tools you can create a multimedia, finished device.

Violet now shows us the iBook she created for her Spanish II Honors  class. The book includes video, images, as well as text. Students can progress through at their own pace. Students do not need to switch between multiple tools/devices, it’s all in their iPad. By incorporating Quizlet into the book students can study their word lists. Violet highlights the fact that the iBook option allows them to focus on developing oral proficiency in their language learning environments; you certainly can’t do that with a traditional book! Anderson highlights that the mobile nature of the iPad helps to foster the necessary spontaneity of language proficiency.

When putting together your Book, be sure to contact publishers to ensure you can use the image in your book (Fair Usage is a little problematic). You can also build your own content using tools like GoAnimate, as well as film and video that you take (from field trips, your own travels, etc) to build your book. This allows for even greater flexibility in building content.

Creating an iBook

iBook Author

iBook Author

The primary means of building an iBook is via the application, iBook Author. While the software is free, it’s important to know that it only works on Apple computers.

Building an iBook does require that you hone a new set of skills because now you’re the author, curator, editor, designer, and publisher. Before you start, she suggests that you outline:

  • Decide on chapters/themes
  • Generate/collect activities
  • Take photos
  • Find images & consider copyright
  • Record audio/video & format them
  • Organize a storyboard/outline
  • Create customized activities
  • Build screencasts
  • Find YouTube & other online links
  • Familiarize yourself with iBook author (here’s a great tutorial)

Apps & Websites

There are many apps that you can use in your classroom, so Violet & Anderson highlight a few apps that focus on creation and flexibility, rather than simply content based tools.

Notability for grading

Notability for grading

Reading & Writing

Notability ($2.99) and Goodnotes ($4.99)

These tools allow Violet to quickly grade their content using her own, hand written notes! These tools can integrate with Google Drive.

Video & Audio

Camera (free, included) and YouTubeCapture (free)

These allow students to quickly record and share content via a link, not uploading large files to Drive (which can be time consuming).


Safari (free, included) and iBooks (free)

The digital textbook is shared via iBook and the Safari browser allows them to access foreign language content throughout the world.


iTunes U (free) and Podcast (free)

With these tools students can access content from various educational institutions and experts for free, right on their iPad!

Explain Everything

Explain Everything

Multimedia Creation

Explain Everything ($2.99), Book Creator ($4.99), and Educreations (free)

These tools allow you to create and edit content as well as opportunities for the students to demonstrate their own learning in multiple formats.

Sharing Information

Google Drive (free)

Sharing content created on iPads is key. One of the best ways to do this is with cloud computing options. Google Drive is popular because of its connection to Google Apps for Education (GAFE).


Skype (free) and Facetime (free, included)

Using these tools students can engage with people in other countries, practicing their language skills, or communicate with one another.

There are several other tools and apps that they highlight in their talk, which you can view here.