iPad and Language Drills – Using Google Docs and Evernote for Communication

One unique factor about Dartmouth is the inclusion of language drills, a period of time where students are drilled on various types of phrases in a certain language. This method of language drilling is part of the John Rassias method, and is adapted by all of the languages at Dartmouth. Previous students who are at an advanced stage of  a language take part in a rigorous training, and are then chosen by a drill committee. These students are called Assistant Teachers (AT’s), and are typically given a large stack of cards to use for drilling.

This project was a collaboration with Tania Convertini (Language Director of French and Italian), Scott Millspaugh (Lecturer in Italian), and Nikki Boots (Instructional Designer). The project focused on integrating technology with the drilling process by replacing the drilling cards with an iPad. By using apps such as Google Sheets, AT’s and professors are experimenting with communicating with each other throughout the term. The professors and AT’s shared a spreadsheet where they could communicate about which drill cards to review, while the AT’s could report back notes on how the drill session went each day. The students in the classes are also able to view a grades spreadsheet, which contains a current update to the grades.

Evernote Premium was also an app that was used to annotate the drill cards when changes were necessary, such as when certain phrases were ineffective.

Why should AT’s be drilling with the iPads?
-increased ease of communication between instructors and AT’s
-easier long term annotation of content cards (updating the cards)
-increased transparency between the students and the instructor (absences, quality of work)
-more effective curriculum design
-flexibility (choosing cards),
-making the physical load lighter
-increases ownership of teaching by AT’s
- AT’s provide immediate feedback towards grammar drills

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