High Tech/Low Tech: Ideas for Every Classroom


Students as Teachers…Presentations Taken to the Next Level

04/11/2016 | Written by Tobias Barske

Student presentations are commonplace in world language classrooms and have been for a long time. Teachers use them for all the right reasons: instruction moves from teacher-fronted to student-centered, students gain responsibility for course content, and learners practice ACTFL’s presentational mode of communication. Presentations offer a possibility to assign research outside the classroom to students, […]

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Is integrating 21st Century skills synonymous with technology?

12/21/2015 | Written by Lauren Rosen & Deana Zorko

When we think of 21st Century skills we tend to think that the pedagogy which guides us to incorporate these skills must be accompanied by high tech tools. Of course by definition some skills (such as technology literacy) will need to be fostered by high tech tools, but there are others that can go low […]

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Should we go high or low?: A Few Tips on Using and Choosing Technology Wisely

10/14/2015 | Written by Deana Zorko (with Anita Alkhas and Kris Knisely)

Let’s start with ACTFL’s position statement on the use of technology as an initial step when deciding to go high or low tech in a lesson or activity: The use of technology should never be the goal in and of itself, but rather one tool for helping language learners to use the target language in […]

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Making A Solid Case for Realia (2): In Defense of the Handmade

06/14/2015 | Written by Anita Alkhas

“Only by acquiring skills that bring us into contact with the physical world can we flourish as social individuals.” Matthew B. Crawford, The World Beyond Your Head, 2015. Scissors, tape, glue, and brightly colored construction paper. The first thing I remember constructing with my hands was a wide-brimmed floppy paper hat for my mom, an […]

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Making A Solid Case for Realia (1): An Added Dimension

05/12/2015 | Written by Anita Alkhas

I recently reacquired the suitcase that I lugged around on my very first trip to Paris. The moment I grabbed it by its handle and felt it dig into the flesh of my fingers, I was flooded with sensory memories – cue the soundtrack to Amélie! Only instead of seeing movie-like images, I could smell […]

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Future Foodies Unite! Fostering 21st Century Skills in the Language Classroom

04/10/2015 | Written by Deana Zorko and Anita Alkhas

Using ACTFL’s 21st Century Skills Map as our guide, how can we strengthen the ways we teach recurring cultural themes such as food? Food seems to be a favorite topic of our students and many of us teach a unit on food or often incorporate it into our lessons. We’ve chosen to look at food […]

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Ideas that Stick

02/11/2015 | Written by Anita Alkhas and Deana Zorko

This month marks the one-year anniversary of High Tech/Low Tech: Ideas for Every Classroom. As we look back through the archives, we notice that there are quite a few ideas involving sticky notes. This is not surprising. After all, sticky notes represent a perfect marriage between high and low tech. The combination of space-age “low-tack pressure-sensitive […]

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High Tech/Low Tech: ¿Legend or Myth?

01/19/2015 | Written by Deana Zorko

Across cultures, stories about gods and heroes fall into the category of myths and legends. According to diffen.com, “…the two aren’t the same and can be differentiated based on factors such as reasons behind them, the stories behind them and the truth they hold.” The table below (from diffen.com) helps us distinguish between myths and […]

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Developing An Eye for Art: In-Person vs. Virtual Viewing

12/14/2014 | Written by Anita Alkhas

Recently after a museum field trip, an ever resourceful colleague in Spanish was pleasantly surprised when her students reported having greatly enjoyed an activity she had assigned: “sitting still for 30 minutes staring at one painting, to see what new things they’d notice.” Given how accustomed we have become to scrolling quickly through images on […]

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Back to the Future: Low Tech-High Tech Presentational Topics

11/16/2014 | Written by Anita Alkhas

It’s easy to forget that what now seems low tech was once high tech. Such is the nature of our relationship with technology. We want the next big thing, but in order to justify getting it, what we have now must feel dated. It can be enlightening – and fun – for students to trace […]

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