Monday, March 23, 2015

#CSCTFL15 Conference Takeaways!

I was recently able to attend the 2015 Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in Minneapolis! I was vaguely familiar with this organization but had never attended one of their conferences. When this year's event was in my home state of Minnesota, I knew I had to go.

With more than 1200 registrants and dozens (hundreds?) of sessions to choose from, the #CSCTFL15 conference was an amazing example of excellent planning, hard work, camaraderie, and professional development. 

Over the past several days I have been reflecting on my experience and all of the incredible sessions I attended. I still have notes to go through and PowerPoints to review, but have started implementing some ideas already.

My biggest takeaway from the conference was our connectedness via technology. Attendees were tweeting messages during the conference and presenters were sharing and tweeting information. People were meeting up with Twitter friends they'd never seen in person! The "virtual" community was a mirror of the physical one. It was fun, engaging, and a practical way to share resources.

The other takeaway is for my classroom. I was reminded how so many authentic (and some non-authentic) resources are available to us via technology. Foreign menus, tickets, schedules, comics, memes, photos, videos...are all available to us with just a few clicks. Beyond that, sites like Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook help us share and curate those resources. Although it can be time-consuming to locate just the right materials, they are so beneficial to the Foreign Language classroom, and no one said they had to be perfect. Just get some real stuff into your classrooms! I have been re-energized to incorporate authentic media in my Spanish classes, thanks to Central States!

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