Fieldston, Foreign Language Goes Beyond Hand-Outs
summertime at the Fieldston School in Riverdale and the campus,
with its picturesque buildings and landscape, resembles that of
Princeton University in New Jersey. Inside one of these buildings,
foreign language teachers sit in a temperature-controlled computer
room surrounded by 15 Macintoshes and 7 Dells. They are editing
their own bilingual video on making guacamole. The three teachers,
Esperanza Cano, Leticia Zervas-Gaytan, and Diane Russcol, volunteered
to take part in a weeklong workshop designed to help them incorporate
computer technology into their foreign language classrooms. Mary
McFerran, the schoolís Academic Technology Administrator, guides
the teachers and shows them how to create a homepage and a class
discussion board, how to use Power Point and how to evaluate web
course provides a useful tool for projects, said Diane Russcol,
who teaches French at the Fieldston Upper School.
a program called iMovie, the teachers edited their video using
software that allowed them to enhance it with voice-over, music
and visual elements. The teachers hope to master the program,
so that they can create similar videos during the school year
and enhance their foreign language curriculum and teaching techniques.
have to practice a lot so you dont forget the steps, said Leticia
Zervas-Gaytan to another teacher as she tries to learn how to
edit a portion of the tape. Despite the difficulties they encounter,
the teachers appeared willing and determined to learn and to meet
the goals of the week, which, as outlined by McFerran, include:
improving computer skills with Microsoft Office applications,
learning how to make a grade book with Excel, increasing their
knowledge of PowerPoint, and learning how to use PowerPoint as
an assessment tool.
to Cano, who has been teaching Spanish at Fieldston for 15 years
and considers the method a valuable new tool, the iMovie method
has the potential to enhance the cultural reports, which require
students to focus on and study a specific country, an assignment
she gives every year.
kids are always fascinated by visuals. This will capture them,
agreed. Students love to work in this medium, she said.
will use these tools to learn language and hone our skills, said
Cano. The teachers also learned how to post assignments up on
the web so students could access assignments from home. They also
learned how to make forums where students could discuss different
topics. We are moving away from handouts to web-based instruction,
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