This semester I began using Chromebooks in the Spanish classroom for native speaker rotations.
I had recently won three Chromebooks from donorschoose.org for my high school classes, though I was not quite certain how we would use them when I applied for them. I simply needed some Internet ready devices for students who do not own a personal device that can be used in the classroom. I encourage the use of such devices for Kahoot games, Quizlet.live competitions, as well as quick Google searches and various formative assessments, such as Padlet and Goformative. In addition, the Chromebooks would help students when working on projects. However, it never occurred to me how well the Chromebooks would work to enhance our Spanish native speaker rotations.
I teach a small class of Spanish III students that includes three wonderful native speakers of Spanish, two of whom are recent arrivals and are still English language learners. The third student is completely bilingual and has lived in the US his entire life. Each day the native speakers use the new Chromebooks to conduct stations, discussing assigned topics that relate to our lessons. For example, this week they will quickly look up their favorite sports teams and players to discuss with rotating groups. These groups consist of three students and meet for five minutes each before rotating to the next station. It is amazing how much more confident my students have become concerning their speaking ability after only ten such sessions. Not only do these rotations assist students to learn Spanish, but the Spanish native speakers gain confidence as well communicating with the English speakers. It is a true pleasure to watch how they speak to the students in Spanish, using actual authentic language. As a teacher, I merely facilitate, answering an occasional question by the English speakers and making sure they adhere to the time limits.
The Chromebooks are perfect for such activities since they connect to the Internet almost instantly. Though I do not have a good WIFI service in my classroom, the Chromebooks have no problem connecting. These are no-nonsense devices that produce reliable search results. I can assign the topic to my students and they immediately produce visuals to enhance and clarify the conversations. Consequently, the stations do not require any preparation ahead of class time.
Chromebooks are an awesome resource for native speaker rotations. They provide reliable Internet connections that allow for quick Google searches in the classroom to enrich communication, providing necessary visual clues as students communicate with each other in the Spanish language. They allow for daily immersion in the language, and as an added benefit provide for much needed social interactions of our recently arrived English language learners. Now I only wonder why I did not request five or ten Chromebooks for my students.