03 October 2012

Spanish PBL with a Purpose

I called up a former student who is an EMT and for whom Spanish class did not quite go far enough: excerpts of our conversation can be found under "Los problemas" in the app I made on appsbar.com as an entry event for the First Aid unit. You can see, and use, a preview of the app below.

So the plan is to get students to create a free app that EMT's can use to communicate with patients who speak only Spanish. When I mentioned the aim of the next unit and my student's request (which, truth be told, I kind of squeezed out of her), I got questions like "why us?" and "why don't you do it?"

My answer? Besides the fact that they chose the driving question "How do you respond to a medical emergency if the people around you speak only Spanish?" I said that all of them put together could come up with something better than what I could do alone.

I will need to do better sticking with the Need-to-Know checks along the way--while eschewing overkill. I'm going to be extra careful to anticipate some categories of Need-to-Know. I think I will approach it more as a web map exercise this time, maybe starting something like this:

Make a map like this at bubbl.us

The movie trailer unit that just ended was not a disaster, but this class indicated that they are not ready for planning their own schedules. They said they could, however, benefit from having their groups set from the beginning. To that end, groups may be the very first thing they figure out. I figure with groups of 2-4, they can each specialize in two categories of emergency or so and collaborate on arrival questions and responses. Plus that way we can get at least 3 different apps to eke out maximum possibility--balanced with manageability and responsibility.

Of course AppsBar is in English, but I have concocted a little list of 31 steps in Spanish to interject some interpretation. Of course there is always my favorite First Aid manual for interpretation too. I shall have to meditate muchly on how best to incorporate interpersonal in this unit as well, not to mention how to fit three major grammar concepts into 6 weeks along with the necessary vocabulary!

But if I can pull all this off, maybe get a handful of actual EMT's to evaluate the apps when it's said and done, I think the class will have a greater sense of accomplishment--of purpose--when THIS unit is done!


  1. What a great idea! I love this! Please let us know how it turns out! :)

  2. I know my students would love this unit. Is there a way to share your app so I can embed it on our canvas page?