Didactired is a sub-section of the Centro Virtual Cervantes, designed as a repository of teacher resources. It is a collection of 500+ (and growing) classroom-tested activities contributed by teachers, for teachers.Teachers can access a rich variety of practical classroom ideas and techniques, select appropriate activities ranked according to proficiency levels, and depend on teacher-friendly descriptions of classroom-tested activities. It is updated almost daily. Activities are archived in ?Didactiteca?, where they are catalogued in four sections, each with a number of ?apartados?: Contrase?as (55 apartados), La gaveta (87), Literalia (64), and Llave maestra (32). Each apartado is linked to the related activities in the archive (as few as 1, as many as 16). Some activities offer printable handouts, some have links to resources within CVC, others to outside resources. There is a built in buscador which allows for searches by various sub-categories (fecha, titulo, autor, contenido, nivel, destreza, destinatorios).
Development of Spanish language proficiency and cultural awareness.
Target Student Population:
Primarily a site for teachers, Spanish language classroom activities can be found, developed and expanded. The teacher can adapt realia to the appropriate proficiency level.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
There are activities for all proficiency levels, catalogued accordingly.
Type of Material:
For practical classroom activities
Evaluation and Observation
The classroom-tested nature of the activities makes them a highly practical resource. Most activities give detailed, step-by-step instructions, plus commentary and suggestions for adapting or expanding the activity. Many include printable charts, tables, or lists. Lesson plans often provide functional situational dialogues for real-life situations using the actual realia of the web link,such as maps and restaurant menus. For giving and getting directions, dialogues are included to match an actual map of Buenos Aires found on the web. Sometimes the lesson plans provide links to enhance or develop other skills using related thematic links and then direct the teacher to develop another oral activity, e.g., ordering meals in a restaurant using a famous restaurant?s menu online.
No previous technology has allowed for this kind of daily sharing of small units of practical knowledge.
Since all activities are defined according to proficiency levels, there should be a description of these. The levels could also be compared to the current ACTFL proficiency levels and a possible reference to ACTFL?s National Standards for Foreign Language Education. Although the site makes excellent use of technology to share knowledge and expertise, many of the activities are in the low-tech to no-tech range. (Thank technology for taking you there, but once you arrive, you won?t find much technology being used there.) As the contributors gain technological expertise, one would expect the contributions to gain likewise.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Great source of ideas for any teacher, but especially rich for teachers-in-training. All of the material includes use of appropriate Spanish as
used in different contexts. Each lesson plan includes the content,
proficiency level, the dominant skill to be taught, the intended learner, e.g., adult, appropriate learner, grouping for performing the activities, the preparation time, necessary materials, duration of activity during class time period, and recommended webpage links. Teacher-trainers can demonstrate excellent designs that student teachers can model. Classroom instructors can easily find last-minute lesson ideas to refresh their teaching methods.
The instructions in some activities may be somewhat confusing. Perhaps, a numerical ordering can be provided for the sequence of activities of a particular task. The site could be presented in several languages other than Spanish.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The interface is clean and generally easy to navigate. The site provides a search engine named Didactiteca to locate a variety of information as listed above. Often a lesson plan provides several pull-down windows with a lesson assignment, e.g., a questionnaire window and another one with the answers to the assignment. This feature facilitates a teacher?s work and helps to implement the material readily.The use of e-mail to provide feedback is helpful to improve areas of concern. Although the volume of material borders on overwhelming, the indexing and linking keep it manageable (except for the glitch below).
In terms of finding what you?re looking for, the large number of apartados (238 at last count) reduces their value as traffic signs, and you may soon resort to the buscador. However, the buscador displays 50 items at a time, and when it finds more than 50 items and you click on ?siguiente? to view the second page of results, it invariably takes you to page 2 of an eleven-page full-site listing (500+ items,
sorted by date). (I could never figure out how to get to the second page of results for a defined search.)