Learning about other cultures can be fascinating for students, but even more intriguing is learning about one’s own heritage, especially when the journey is aided by classroom technology.
Now more than ever, technology can help with discovering facts about your own cultural background in addition to connecting with additional resources for enriching experiences. Let’s start off with taking advantage of a critical yet easily accessible resource some students may have – a relative still living in whichever country they’re from. Though thousands of miles may separate them from one another, reaching out for a face-to-face conversation is as easy as linking up through Skype using a USB Webcam. Interview this relative to learn about their ancestry and how to better pronounce the native language. Even relatives from an older generation within a household can aid in language learning by creating digital voice recordings with an MP3 player for later playback to practice pronunciation skills. With improved language learning students will better understand the language so they can familiarize themselves with their heritage and appreciate where they come from. Those not born in their ancestral country can open the lines of communication with fellow students from that part of the world to form a unique bond while realizing what differences and what common goals they share. The use of tech tools can have a tremendous impact on the kinds of things students can access to navigate learning more about their cultural backgrounds. Take mobile devices for instance. Perhaps videos that provide a glimpse into their country’s landscape, vegetation, and wildlife can be downloaded onto a mobile device and shared with their peers using the PA419 portable speaker connected to a TV. Another video could serve as an educational tour guide of sorts and allow students entry into their country without having to physically step foot in it. Showcasing these videos for the entire class to view transports all on a virtual field trip! Music is an important part of every culture and downloading the musical compilations native to their country can offer a taste into different music styles, sounds, and instruments as well.
Embracing and learning more about one’s own culture and ethnicity by employing digital tech tools can be fulfilling and can help teach students to learn, appreciate, and respect one another. In giving such insight, students can not only take the language and the knowledge they’ve ascertained along the way but also the confidence in identifying who they really are.