Antonella Bassi, continuing lecturer at UC Davis (French and Italian Department), has long been an advocate of technology in the classroom. In her current courses, she regularly uses YouTube, PowerPoint, and SmartSite, as well as blogs for writing assignments and GoogleDocs for peer review/editing.
She has also been increasingly interested in having students create their own videos, especially for Intermediate Italian. “Part of the grade is a series of student presentations,” Bassi explains. “Students can focus on vocab, structure of language, the culture embedded in the chapter, etc., and they have a set limit of time.”
It used to be that the students completed these assignments via a skit or a game, but more and more students have been opting for video. “So far,” Bassi notes, “I’ve allowed students to decide whether or not they want to use video, but, in the future, I may make it a requirement. That way, instead of using class time for the presentation, I can ask students to watch the videos outside of class and we can use the 50 minutes for discussion and a follow-up activity.”
I asked Bassi if her evaluation of the presentations would change if they were all video, but she says probably not: “I usually have several categories – effort, creativity, use of language – and I don’t focus so much on the technical aspect. I focus on how they use the language, which is, after all, the point of the class.”