A Tech Tool to Engage World Language Students
Teachers can use Genially to create infographics, games, and more to boost students’ interest in world language classes.
As a world language educator teaching in a postpandemic world, I’m always looking for educational technology tools that will improve my teaching and student outcomes. I recently discovered Genially and have been using this technology tool for the past semester.
Here are four ways all teachers, regardless of their grade level and academic content, can integrate Genially into their classrooms.
One of my main focuses this year has been to try a new educational technology tool through the creation of infographics for my students. I started to incorporate Genially initially to present the content in a different way this new school year, and this website was user-friendly.
Handing out worksheets and lecturing can be monotonous, and I wanted to spark the learning inquiry for students through a different approach. Infographics provide opportunities for my students to interact with the academic content in a fun and engaging way, compared with the worksheets. The various types of infographics, such as maps, timelines, posters, and so much more, are easy to create.
When teaching about Spanish-speaking countries, for example, I was able to create an interactive map that let students click links about individual countries. With these infographics, students were able to learn additional information about the country’s population, capital, flag, government, currency, popular foods, and interesting facts through the multiple images. I also like how students can view these at their own pace, spending as much time as they need to understand the content further.
Another infographic idea I integrated involved famous artworks. This type of infographic was full of well-known artworks that were then linked to other websites that explained in greater detail about the artist and provided a synopsis of the artwork. For example, my students deepened their learning about Pablo Picasso’s Guernica and Antoni Gaudí’s La Sagrada Família.
The infographics have a limited amount of text, which doesn’t overwhelm students and still gives them a way to understand the gist of the topic. Learners enjoy the infographics because they can quickly remember details from what they’ve seen, rather than reading a long passage about the lesson. Also, since my students are learning a second language (Spanish), this helps them build their vocabulary and confidence. Students can use the images to build their language development further and enhance overall comprehension.
Another way to integrate Genially is to create escape room games for your class. These games have various puzzles within each game, and students have to work on each puzzle to unlock clues. As they advance within the game, they’ll eventually escape the room in the game. These usually take anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes to complete. I enjoyed creating escape room games for my students because I wanted them to have the opportunity to work with one another and have some healthy competition.
Since so much of the learning these past two years has been in isolation, I knew that these games would promote teamwork and collaboration. Many students are more comfortable in these gamification settings and are open to making mistakes, which leads them to want to try again.
One escape room game that I created involved having students climb through Machu Picchu. Students answered questions with varying levels of difficulty through four different lessons. When they successfully escaped, they received a stamp on their “passport.” Students enjoyed racing to finish and seemed to work well together.
Genially has many free templates to use, which saved me time with the design and formatting process. Some presentations give students the opportunity to practice vocabulary. For example, there’s a swimming quiz that has students’ avatars “swimming” on the slide as the students answer questions. If they answer correctly, then their individual swimmer continues to swim a little closer to the end. Meanwhile, if the student answers incorrectly, a life preserver pops up and they get to try again with the question.
This type of learning becomes visible for students through progress indicators. It’s important for students to get immediate feedback on how they’re progressing with the material and to be able to interact with the material in multiple ways.
The last way I integrated Genially was through our interactive images project. Students created interactive images when we discussed Hispanic Heritage Month. These interactive images included famous Hispanics such as Jennifer Lopez, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and many other influential people.
Students integrated infographics that included hyperlinks that took them to websites that explained where these individuals were born, career highlights, famous artworks, etc. Students also recorded audio that narrated the entire presentation. Some students even took advantage of the “read more” option that provided additional research about their influential Hispanic person.
These images were both interactive and engaging. Our culminating project called for the entire class to participate in a digital gallery walk. The objective was for students to walk around the classroom and interact with other students’ Genially projects at their own pace, clicking the images that redirected them to additional sites and information.
As an educator, I strive to continuously improve both my teaching and student outcomes each year. This school year, I’ve seen my teaching advance through the delivery of academic content and my students deepen their understanding and engagement through the use of Genially.