So I’ve finally hit the end of my attempt to learn Spanish, at least formally for my class, EC&I 831. Fortunately, I fully intend to continue learning Spanish going forward, especially through Duolingo and hopefully with some travel and an online course for credit to come.
I figured the most authentic way to assess where my Spanish is now at would be with the Unit 2 Progress Quiz in Duolingo. Here are the results, for better or for worse (spoiler, I passed!):
I also decided to retake the Spanish Proficiency Test I did at the start of the course where I failed miserably with 21% (on a four option multiple choice quiz which would have an average score of 25% for someone just guessing…).
I still didn’t do well (it’s very difficult for a beginner), but I was able to nearly double my score at 40% correct. I think an accurate way to describe my grasp of Spanish at this point is: almost passable.
So, looking back, it’s been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs. To recap chronologically:
Major Digital Project 1: Options, Oh, My! — Maybe other people were more decisive than me, but I struggled in choosing a learning project idea in the semester. It wasn’t so much a lack of ideas, but rather too many to chose from. Learning Spanish was ultimately chosen because it aligns best with my personal, professional, and educational goals.
Major Digital Project 2: Option B Underway! — After testing my Spanish proficiency (21% on a multiple choice exam…), I started using Duolingo, a language learning app, daily–I’m now on a 60 day streak!) . This would prove to be my most reliable source of learning, and one that relates well to the ideas of social media and open education explored in the course.
Major Digital Project 3: Duoling-whoa! — I dove into Duolingo’s features and really explored them from an educational lens that the class provided. I also learned how to use a phone screen recorder, which is proving to be a very useful tool, such as on my Summary of Learning.
Major Digital Project 4/5: Hola YouTube! — In this mega post (my version of a classic rock double album), I continued chugging along on Duolingo and added YouTube as a method of learning Spanish. I found the series Spanish for Beginners to be a very accessible way to understand Spanish more conceptually. However, it never became more than a complimentary piece of my learning because it lacked the interactivity needed to truly learn a language.
Major Digital Project 6: Gaming the Gamification — I kept up with Duolingo and and explored the elements of gamification present in the app. It’s very clearly designed to maintain the commitment of its users and works quite well in that regard. I also kept using YouTube resources, and began speaking a bit of Spanish with a few of my students and coworkers.
Major Digital Project 7: Hard Times — I struggled to remain committed to this project during my busiest week of the semester, and reflected on how to cope with those challenges. I also explored an open education Spanish resource suggested by a classmate and gave it a bit of a review (it’s useful, but not especially engaging).
Major Digital Project 8: Tallying the Progress — I used this post as an opportunity to trace my journey so far, especially the time I had committed to Duolingo. At this time, I had estimated a usage of 33 hours in the app alone. At the time of this post, I’m up to 40 hours! That wouldn’t include any of the supplementary work, of course.
So that’s that. One of the key takeaways of this project for me is the observation that recording my learning progress probably took almost as much time as the learning itself. And I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. Reflecting on your progress is a form of accountability that kept me focused on the task and helped me remain committed and motivated. It also introduced me to new tools like Screencastify, Wevideo, and AZ Screen Recorder. The value of interaction with classmates cannot be overstated either. I leave this course inspired by the work of others and committed to continuing my learning, both as an educator and a learner (and really, they are one and the same).