Do your students love the internet as much as mine ? I’m betting your answer is a solid yes!
Most people today spend more time online than doing anything else except breathing.
What’s more, depending on their age, kids spend anywhere from six to nine hours a day online! That’s a lot of time and energy directed at a screen.
As Bill Gates put it, “the Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.”
So why not take advantage of your students’ love of all things online by creating a Spanish class website?
In this post, we’ll talk about some of the benefits of building a website for your Spanish class, and how you can turn it into an actionable language-learning experience.
Get with the Times: 6 Reasons Why You Need a Spanish Class Website
So, why develop a Spanish class website in the first place?
Well, there are bucket loads of great reasons!
- Students can keep up with your in-class information like instructions and dates
- It lets students get extra foreign language practice
- You can expose the class to cool cultural information about the Spanish-speaking world
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re still skeptical about why you should spend your time building a website, here are six reasons why it’s a great idea.
1. A Class Website Saves Time
Having a class website is a major time-saver for teachers. Once you’ve established the site, all you have to do is to build from year to year on what’s already there, enhancing and updating as you go along. And when the flu epidemic hits and you have tons of students absent, you don’t need to worry about running copies and making sure all those learners get what they need when they come back. You just tell them, “It’s on the website.”
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2. It Increases Student Responsibility
A Spanish class website puts the responsibility on students to keep up with what’s going on. Depending on how you set it up, they can do anything from finding their daily homework assignments to learning about study abroad opportunities, and you aren’t spoon-feeding it to them. The onus is on them to do their part, which contributes to increasing their responsibility and accountability. You’ll also be providing your students with more opportunities for active learning rather than the traditional passive method of sitting in class listening to the teacher.
3. Your Website Prepares Students for the Future
And that brings me to my next point: having students use a class website is great preparation for their future, when their job responsibilities will likely involve online tasks. It’s the ultimate multitasking experience, using technology to learn Spanish. And if they’re in high school, it’ll look good on their college application when they detail the vital role technology has played in their education.
4. It Makes Materials Accessible
Even the best teachers can’t be everywhere at once. However, unlike us, a class website is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With a website in place, students can access the information on their time, in the comfort and privacy of their own homes. Which is important because, well, who doesn’t feel more comfortable at home in their jammies?
5. Your Website Creates an Online Community
A Spanish class website keeps everyone connected and creates a sense of community. This is especially true if the site includes links to foreign language clubs, cultural activities and events that students can also participate in on campus. Additionally, students can work collaboratively with technology like Google Docs without actually having to be in the same physical location, which is perfect both for younger students who don’t drive yet and for busy older students who may have afterschool jobs and other obligations. Teachers might also consider a comments section or chat option to stay even more connected.
6. Most Importantly, It Makes Learning Fun
Finally, having a Spanish class website is motivating and fun! No one likes the same dry old worksheets every day with exercises divorced from the actual usage of the new language. With a class website, students have the opportunity to work outside the box, combining something they love with their language development and increasing productivity in the process.
Now that you’re convinced you need a Spanish class website (You are convinced, right? Of course you are!), the next step is to figure out what you want to include to make it el mejor sitio posible! There are a few essentials that every class website needs, as well as some features that may not be necessary but can be lots of fun.
Want to add even more fun to your Spanish lessons? Try bringing FluentU into the classroom.
With FluentU, you’re given an ever-growing library of real-world material that’s been converted into Spanish curriculum. Students gain firsthand exposure to Spanish-speaking culture through clips from popular movies and TV shows, pop songs, newspaper and magazine articles, commercials, documentaries and more.
But FluentU doesn’t just make learning languages fun, it also teaches students how to communicate naturally, like a first-language speaker. Instead of clunky dialogues found in most Spanish textbooks, they learn how to speak Spanish by listening to native speakers engaging in real conversations.
Ready to bring some excitement into your classroom?
What Should I Include in a Spanish Class Website?
The first and most important information to include in any Spanish class website is class-specific information. This includes, but is not limited to, the class syllabus and rules, the teacher’s schedule and contact information, lesson and homework materials and additional supplemental content for extra practice. This puts everything you want students and parents to know about your class right at their fingertips. You may also decide to include a review of skills and concepts on your site so that struggling students can brush up before evaluations.
Links to Other Sites
Why invent the wheel when there’s a wealth of excellent supplemental material for language study available online? The following are just a few of the fantastic websites available for Spanish students of all languages and at all levels:
- Duolingo: This website/app provides users with more than 80 different courses across almost 40 languages. With about 300 million registered users around the world, it’s the most popular language learning platform around!
- Quizlet: Quizlet is a mobile and web-based study application that uses flashcards and games to help students learn material. Not only is this a great review tool, but there’s even an option to have the Spanish read out loud, which makes it perfect for students who struggle with pronunciation. If you aren’t using Quizlet yet, you should be!
- Quia Web: This user-friendly website allows you to create your own educational games, quizzes, surveys and more, as well as exploring literally millions of activities and quizzes created by other educators. Why not take advantage of all those resources in one convenient location?
- Memrise: Memrise is a user-generated learning platform that specializes in language learning and uses flashcards as memory aids. The site offers more than 200 language courses across dozens of languages, and one particular strength of Memrise is the huge number of native speaker videos—more than 20,000 at present!
- Study Spanish: This site features online tutorials with audio, grammar, vocabulary, verb drills and links to other helpful language learning sites. One advantage of this site is that, because it’s only for Spanish learners, there’s a greater depth of instruction than on some other sites, with Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced instruction. Another highlight of Study Spanish is the cultural notes, which make the language come alive with tidbits about the real people who speak it.
- Spanish Dict: No Spanish class website would be complete without a link to an English-Spanish dictionary. Spanish Dict is the most popular online resource available, with more than a million words available for translation.
Another important feature for any Spanish class website is cultural information about the more than 430 million people who speak Spanish as a native language. This can include maps and information on foods, holiday traditions, history, music, currency and virtually any other topic you can think of.
Fun Extras That Relate to Spanish Language Learning
There’s so much that makes Spanish an awesome language to learn, and here’s your chance to showcase all those fun features!
This is the perfect section for:
- Songs and videos—I highly recommend Señor Jordan’s hilarious and informative videos on YouTube
- Your teacher biography (especially if you do any traveling to Spanish-speaking countries)
- Class photos, especially photos of cultural events
- Links to study abroad opportunities or on-campus clubs
…And pretty much anything else your students would find interesting. You know your students; go with their interests and make your website so inviting that they’ll look forward to logging on!
A class website is an excellent resource for keeping students connected and engaged. Using these tips and resources, why not create one of your own?
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to teach Spanish with real-world videos.