This month’s Technology Spotlight is on Nancy Barajas, AP Spanish Instructor at the New Braunfels Ninth Grade Center. Known to her Foreign Language colleagues as “The Chicana from Chicago,” Sra. Barajas spent her first 2 years teaching at inner city schools in Illinois before moving with her family to the New Braunfels area. Her spitfire attitude, combined with her extensive cultural knowledge, make for one of the most dynamic instructors we have in our district. Faced with the daunting task of preparing her students for the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam (imagine taking an AP exam when you were 14 years old!), Nancy relies on a variety of teaching methods, many of which require current technology. Her students enjoy using FlipGrid for interactive engagement, allowing her to use real world, native speaker prompts for students to record their reactions and practice their spoken Spanish. Similarly, while preparing for the spoken section of the AP exam, students use the QuickVoice App to record and submit spoken responses… not as fancy as FlipGrid, but certainly effective! She even uses the Voice Record feature on Notability with her students… she really gets those kids practicing their Spanish! For vertical alignment, Sra. Barajas collaborates weekly with Sra. Padilla at NBHS vía Google Hangouts to keep their AP curriculum synced up, ensuring her students are all set for AP Spanish Literature once they get to the High School campus. (Digitally) Together, these instructors prepare in-depth PBL lessons, including a yearly project on Magical Realism in Latin American Literature, culminating with a field trip to The University of Texas at Austin to conduct their research in the Benson Latin American Library while preparing their end of year presentations!