The vision for our 1:1 program at East Porter County School Corporation is much more than just that of putting a device in the hands of every student. At East Porter, we seek to empower, engage, and enlighten our students. Making the decision to go 1:1 challenges us as educators to provide new and exciting learning opportunities for our students that allow them to create and explore in an authentic way.
Grace Lacy, Spanish teacher at Washington Township High School recently utilized Google Hangouts to do just that. Google Hangouts is an application similar to that of Skype and Facetime. This feature is available on Google teacher accounts within our East Porter domain. Knowing that one of her own students has family members residing in Spain, Miss Lacy arranged for her class to meet and speak with fluent Spanish speakers through a video chat.
Student Hayley Riffe’s grandfather, a Boone Grove graduate, first visited Spain while serving in the Air Force. He married a native Spanish woman and has been living there for the past 24 years, during which he learned to speak Spanish.
The Hangouts session began with Washington students asking the family questions using Spanish. After the Question and Answer portion, the family in Spain shared additional information about their life experiences, particularly with the differences and similarities between Spanish culture and that of the United States. After “hanging up” the video chat, the class used Google Earth to find the exact location of the family’s house in Utrera, Spain. Students were able to view the street and house in which the family resides.
All in all, this was an experience which helped students see that learning the Spanish language has practical application and extends way beyond the classroom. Miss Lacy and her students hope to connect with Spanish speakers from other countries before the end of the school year.