Instructional Software for Learning Spanish

Using instructional software in the Spanish classroom provides students the opportunity to practice their vocabulary, increase speaking confidence and find themselves “transported” to another country. There are five major types of instructional software and they each hold unique relative advantages:

  • Drill and Practice Software
    Drill exercises are a benefit in the classroom because they allow students to work at their own pace, provide immediate feedback to student work and save time for teachers because comments and grading are automatically generated.
  • Tutorial Software
    Tutorials allow students to work at their own pace, receive feedback quickly on their work and potentially have access to advanced topics or subjects that may not normally be offered at their school. (For example, students may have the option to take a class on astronomy, an advanced math class or language.)
  • Simulation Software
    This type of software provides students with a way to prepare for or review in-class lab exercises, as well as participate in experiments that wouldn’t normally be available in the classroom setting.
  • Instructional Game Software
    Using games to learn allows students to feel more comfortable taking risks, encourages students to work together in teams and often increases retention.
  • Problem-Solving Software
    Having students solve problems increases interest and also encourages them to find answers on the own using provided and found resources.

While there are thousands of instructional software packages available for free and purchase, it is important to take time to evaluate each package and ensure it is a good fit for your classroom. Here are a few evaluation resources:

For more information on incorporating instructional software into the Spanish classroom and relative advantages, please check out my presentation: Instructional Software for Learning Spanish.

Acceptable Use Policies

An Acceptable Use Policy, or AUP, is a document that provides clear guidelines for the use of school technology equipment and services. The goal of an AUP is help protect students and educators from harm and to keep assignments that involve technology centered around learning. According to the National Education Association, a successful AUP should contain the following elements:

  • Preamble- The preamble section of the AUP includes an explanation for why the policy is needed and what benefits will be received by educators and students for following the policy (Education World).
  • A definition section- The definition section introduces a glossary of words used in the policy and provides a simple definition (Education World).
  • A policy statement- The policy statement sets expectations as to what services and equipment falls under the AUP and what exceptions (if any) are made (Education World).
  • An acceptable uses section- The acceptable uses section provides students with real-world examples of how they might incorporate school technology into their projects. Clear language is used to provide examples of appropriate products, websites and uses (Education World).
  • An unacceptable uses section- The unacceptable uses section provides students with real-world examples of uses that are not allowed  on school technology (Education World).
  • A violations/sanctions section- This section provides a list of repercussions for violating the AUP (Education World).

Some schools adopt an AUP that involves blocking websites deemed inappropriate for student access, while others believe that students need to learn how to become responsible web users (CoSA, 2001).

Here are few examples of the Acceptable Use Policies that are similar to the University that I attend:

http://oit.boisestate.edu/aboutoit/governance/policies/policy-8000/

http://www.rules.utah.gov/publicat/code/r895/r895-007.htm

http://oregonstate.edu/helpdocs/accounts/onid-osu-network-id/getting-started/acceptable-use-policy

http://www.vt.edu/about/acceptable-use.html

Works Cited

CoSA. (2001, September 13). Web 2.0/Mobile AUP guide. Retrieved September 18, 2012, from http://www.cosn.org/Default.aspx?tabid=8139
EducationWorld. (n.d.). Education World: getting started on the internet: developing an acceptable Us… EducationWorld. Retrieved September 18, 2012, from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr093.shtml