George Lucas Educational Foundation

Sage Advice question: Technology and foreign language/culture study

Sage Advice question: Technology and foreign language/culture study

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Readers of will recall that we have a regular feature called, "Sage Advice." This is where we pose a question to the greater Edutopia community and post some of the best ones on the site. The newest question is this: "How do you bring global cultures and foreign languages into your classroom?" Please feel free to share any and all ideas. These will reprinted on the site. Thanks in advance! We look forward to hearing from you.

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E. L. Lotecka's picture

I'm part of a group of teachers volunteering at a non-profit organization (APAL) to support language learning through Internet & phone applications. A top priority is online speech recognition for checking pronunciations with speech-to-text and text-to-speech, including translations. To exchange info, please email

GingerTPLC's picture

We too, use LiveMocha at our school. The kids who like to have that self-directed learning are truly thriving. Some are struggling, but that's because they like to be a little more hand-held in their language exploration.

Sherry M. Johnson's picture

I am a French teacher in a large urban high school. While French is the primary focus, I encourage any students with other language/culture backgrounds to share as much as possible. American students get the feel of multilingual/multicultural societies. There are currently twins of visiting professors from Spain in my classroom consisting primarily of American born Spanish speakers. They love the US Spanish, Spain Spanish, English, French exchanges.

William Teasley's picture

Global Nomads Group creates education programs and media about global issues for youth. Using interactive technologies in the classroom, such as live video-conferencing and multi-media videos, young people from around the world learn about and discuss the global issues that affect their lives.

Amanda's picture

We already use ePals in our classroom and it is great! Even with 1st graders they have a wonderful time hearing about another culture and learning about another country. I find it a great way to add authenticity to their learning. We have communicated using emails, videos, and pictures. The students are able to work on their letter writing and typing skills at the same time.

Rebecca's picture

As a Spanish educator, I thrive on bringing global cultures and language into my classroom, both online and face to face. I have incorporated various techniques for helping students recognize and be aware of cultural diversity while taking a bigger part in the global community. One way I have done this is by creating a weblog through with another Spanish class in the northern part of Spain. Our high school students managed this blog and exchanged opinions, comments and shared cultural differences through this communication tool. When developing assignments or projects, I find opportunities for students to seek out people, products or perspectives in their community which represent and connect with the language or culture we are studying. This always helps students recognize how multicultural their community is or was. I encourage students to find friends or acquaintances who are connected to the culture or language we are studying to gain more information and to be able to compare and contrast diverse ways of life. It is also important to get the students to reflect on their own cultural heritage to gain some more insight about their own background. Once they have looked at their own background, they will be able to share and compare it with the language or culture we are studying. Service Learning projects/activities are a great way to bring global cultures and foreign language to the classroom while sharing it with the community. I love using the International Children's Digital Library ( On this website, you can read beautifully illustrated multicultural stories in many different languages. This provides a glimpse into the culture being studied. I used this website to foment a desire to create children's stories in my high school Spanish classes, and then we donated the books we developed to a local bilingual elementary charter school's family lending library. Another tool for teaching foreign language is the Centro Virutal Cervantes (, which provides Spanish teachers with tools, lessons, activities and professional development for their classrooms.

Salzabar's picture
I teach middle school students Reading and English Language Development

Not new, but free download from microsoft, students research, write and create a mini- movie with their own voice as narration. Each student is at a different comfort level with this project. Time consuming, but worth it.

Elvira Deyamport, Ed.S.'s picture
Elvira Deyamport, Ed.S.
2nd-6th Gifted/Talented Teacher

I teach Spanish and have partnered with the 6th grade social studies teacher at my school to organize a visit of international college students to come interact with our students. During their visit, our students will participate in several learning centers where they will learn origami, songs and dances from different countries, as well as national symbols associated with each country.

Jane Scott's picture
Jane Scott
Year 3 EAL Teacher and Primary Home Language Coordinator

Love the website postcrossing - thanks for sharing. We are looking for ways to celebrate World Language Day next year and this looks like it could be part of it if we get going early enough in the year.

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