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Professional Development

Teachers Teaching Teachers Tech!

The ACIE Newsletter, May 1999, Vol. 2, No. 3

workshop summary submitted by Gabriela Sweet, NLRC Immersion Project Assistant

Tonya Dexter, third grade bilingual teacher, reads a story to a group of her students

Twin Cities immersion teachers “going to school” at tech workshop.

Teachers and administrators from eight immersion schools in the Twin Cities area met at Emerson School in Minneapolis (MN) on February 6th to share ideas and strategies on the use of technology in the immersion classroom, in a workshop sponsored by the American Council on Immersion Education. The workshop was broken down into five working sessions, where participants got a chance for lots of hands-on work with the Internet, and discussion on key issues related to immersion education.

The presenters, immersion teachers themselves at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, led participants through a variety of activities. Greg Anderson, from the Adams Spanish Immersion School, held a session on creating basic web pages using Claris HomePage Trial Software. This software can work on its own or within Netscape (running without an actual connection), giving new designers a chance to see how their created pages might look on the web. Participants reported that they were happy to see how easy web publishing can be! Teachers had an opportunity to begin building a page at the workshop, which they could later take home and develop.

Maureen Curran-Dorsano, from the Normandale French Immersion Community School, guided participants through building web activities using Netscape Navigator Composer. This group developed interactive games about animals.

From Highland Junior High School, science teacher Andy Burfeind showed how he uses the Internet as a learning resource in his Spanish immersion classroom. Burfeind led a surfing session, showing how teachers can effectively use links with their students during content-based science lessons, and increase student motivation at the same time through the use of technology.

Emerson’s Tomás Gonda and Terri Geffert, from Bridgewater Elementary in North- field, collaborated on a demonstration of KidPix, a program they both use in their Spanish immersion classrooms. Gonda and Geffert showed how teachers can create slide shows that tie to lessons, using both audio and video to
reinforce students’ developing language skills.

Víctor Barela, from the Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School, led an informative session on assessing students’ speaking ability in the second language through the use of video. In addition, Barela showed examples of rubrics in use at Robbinsdale, providing workshop participants with a concrete example of performance-based assessment.

Robbinsdale’s Angie Cabrera provided user-friendly guidelines for creating multimedia presentations through HyperStudio. In addition, all participants received a disk containing web site URLs specifically chosen for immersion teachers, featuring sites for class activities, software, identifying “key pals,” and more.

Participants noted that, despite their busy schedules, the opportunity to meet with immersion colleagues to learn from each other was tremendously valuable. “I tend to forget that other people have faced the same challenges that I have,” admitted one teacher. “It’s great to be able to collaborate: it makes my work that much easier! Good to remember that we’re all in this together.”




CARLA Summer Institute for Immersion Teachers
University of Minnesota
For more information:
(612) 626-8600

Center for the Study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents Summer Workshops

California State University, San Marcos.

For more information:
(760) 750-4070

Association Canadienne des Professeurs d’Immersion (ACPI)/Canadian Association for Immersion Teachers (CAIT)
Fourth Annual National Summer Institute for Immersion Teachers

Simon Fraser University, Vancouver

For more information:
Linda Laplace <>
(604) 291-4278


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