We’re teaching in a digital world.
Our students are part of this technological era, and you’ve got to make their Spanish studies relevant to their lives.
Well, here’s your simple solution: language learning websites. Although they might seem “old-school” compared to the other electronic bells and whistles made available in recent years, the plain truth is that sometimes using oldies but goodies has its rewards.
Most students enjoy working with technology and find websites easy to use, fun and stimulating. With websites there’s no need to install this or that, download X, Y and Z or (in most cases) fork over a lot of money to use them.
Furthermore, language learning websites have useful materials for both online and traditional “on-the-ground” courses. Websites can help students of all skill levels to review or just begin working on basic grammar skills such as verb conjugation without the need for the instructor having to set aside oodles of class time for this. Many websites allow students to practice skills beyond grammar such as listening, reading and writing—they can even help students learn about geography and culture.
Websites can be accessed from anywhere at any time, and they can be used repeatedly until students have mastered the featured concepts. Most websites offer self-grading activities, providing students with instant feedback and giving the instructor more time to devote to grading and commenting on open-ended exercises such as sentence, paragraph or composition writing.
And as if all this weren’t enough, websites offer a variety of features (such as multimedia activities) and formats (such as “cloze” questions and open-ended questions) which appeal to many different learning styles.
In sum, websites are great and, best of all, don’t require you to go reinventing any wheels, lose sleep or destroy our precious trees with photocopies, photocopies and more photocopies.
And now, for some quick tips about incorporating these sites into your language classes.
Quick Tips for Incorporating Websites into Your Spanish Classes
If you decide to use websites in your Spanish classes, try to make sure students don’t see the use of the websites simply as “busy work.” Make sure that students know the reason you’re assigning the websites (practice for an exam, for example).
Since everyone learns differently, you might consider giving students a choice as to which websites they’ll work with, especially since many sites listed here tend to overlap in content (grammar points, for instance), but differ in the way they present or test these concepts.
You might also consider assigning some websites for credit and others as optional (but highly recommended!) or even using some of the exercises in class as input material or a quick warm up.
To make the websites easy to locate and readily available from any location, you can always post a list of favorites by theme or chapter on your Course Management System and direct students there. Struggling students can benefit from spending some quality time with the websites and it doesn’t create more paperwork for you as the teacher.
Finally, encourage students to search for and post additional nifty websites they might come across. Chances are, if one student finds something particularly useful or exciting, other students will too!
11 Rad Spanish Learning Websites for Students to Study While They Surf
If saving your time and sanity as well as the environment sounds swell, and earning your students’ unfailing love for you sounds extra appealing, here are 11 awesome websites for learning Spanish that you’ll definitely want to incorporate into your Spanish classroom.
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This website allows students to access brief explanations of grammatical points and practice with verb drills and pronunciation. It also offers custom flashcards (cool!), an idiom generator and a bilingual cultural section where students can read and listen about different aspects of Hispanic American and Spanish culture.
Okay, so it’s not exactly a site for practicing conjugating irregular verbs or mastering the differences between ser and estar, but the grammar glossary is extremely useful for students who are still struggling to understand how a noun differs from a pronoun and what on earth “subject-verb agreement” means. It’s a “must have” for beginning and intermediate Spanish students, as well as for advanced students who are in need of a refresher!
A cool site that does just what you think it does: It conjugates verbs. In all tenses, moods, shapes and sizes. Students just click here and enter a verb they wish to conjugate, choose the subject pronoun they want and…¡ahí está! (there it is!) The site even offers the -se conjugations of the imperfect subjunctive! Fancy!
A neat-o website from the University of Texas at Austin. The website features a series of video-recorded interviews with native speakers that gradually increase in complexity, so there’s something for every skill level—from beginning to superior. Students can click around here to test themselves or build their listening comprehension skills.
This one comes from the brain of Bowdoin Spanish instructor Enrique Yepes. It’s another neat site similar to Conjugation.org, but that offers a greater number of variables students can choose from.
In addition to verbs, students can click on self-correcting tutorials involving nouns and articles, adjectives, pronouns, adverbs, prepositions, vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation. Some of the links take you to “off-site” websites like StudySpanish.com, while other linked sites have also been designed by Yepes. The breadth and variety of tutorials will appeal to students looking for more integrated options for studying.
This is purely a “test yourself” website, but it’s a very impressive and comprehensive one. No grammatical explanations are offered here, but this “no frills” website offers excellent practice with a very extensive list of grammatical points from the use of prepositions and relative pronouns to preterite and command forms.
Not just one, but several sets of exercises are offered for the most difficult points such as ser and estar and the preterite versus the imperfect. This is a site that your students will definitely want to bookmark!
A cool Spanish language practice website that offers drills similar to those on Matthew D. Stroud’s page. Despite the fact that fewer grammatical points are offered for practice, a neat feature of this site is that students receive extensive feedback as to why a particular answer was right or wrong.
When your students have gotten their fill of the more traditional grammar and vocabulary practice methods, send them clicking over to FluentU. This is a great website for in-class activities, computer lab class days, long-term group projects and individual homework assignments. Oh, and it’s so much fun that students may not even realize how much study time they’re actually logging in.
That’s because FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. We’ve got a tremendous collection of authentic Spanish videos that people in the Spanish-speaking world actually watch on the regular.
There are tons of great choices here when you’re looking for material for in-class activities or homework. Plus, all the videos are sorted by skill level and are carefully annotated for students.
Each video has interactive subtitles. If a student comes across a word they’re unfamiliar with, they can hover their cursor over the subtitled word. That word’s definition, pronunciation and in-context usage examples will all pop up on-screen instantly. This is what your students will get after they click “watch” on a video. Clicking “learn” opens up a whole new learning experience for them.
Using FluentU, students will be more engaged and will learn better. Not only does FluentU offer video, but it offers scaffolding that isn’t available anywhere else— students are guaranteed to find this authentic content approachable and within reach.
Perhaps the most interesting part of FluentU is its learn mode. Learn mode takes videos and turns them into full-on Spanish practice time.
Every video-based lesson is fully personalized, so that the student’s learning history is taken into account when presenting questions. FluentU’s algorithm sets students up for success by teaching them based on what they know.
Quizlet might seem at first glance as though it would be too general to consider on a list like this. However, the website offers the awesome capability to not only make your own study cards, but also to quickly look up and make use of flashcards that other students have designed for their classes.
This means that there are entire sets of flashcards already available for categories like “reflexive verbs,” “body parts,” “animals,” “adjectives” and so much more. Students can even find flashcard sets that correspond with a particular book chapter or teacher/professor.
This site offers numerous complete conjugation charts, links to literary websites related to the Spanish-speaking world and some very extensive explanations of grammar along with many thoughtfully written exercises. Unfortunately, the site is no longer being updated (the professor retired in 2003). However, the site is still being made available for student use.
I must say, one of the best and my personal favorite is Colby College’s website. There’s stuff here for absolute beginners to the most advanced students, ranging from verb conjugation practice to more open-ended exercises and even fun multimedia activities with music. This is a site you’ll definitely want to permanently embed in your Course Management System for all your Spanish language courses and encourage your students to work with often.
And there you have it – a bunch of amazing sites for studying Spanish.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to teach Spanish with real-world videos.