Spanishbackpack.com on the House - Spanish Teachers and School Budgets Say 'Gracias'

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Spanishbackpack.com has become a turbo-charged web site, packed with interactive resources for Spanish teachers and students. Conversa, a Costa Rica-based Spanish immersion school, and developer of SpanishBackpack.com, has just announced that it plans to offer the service free of charge.

We’ve developed a solid resource, and we’re anxious to get it into the hands of all the great Spanish teachers out there.

What started out as a few pointers and a list of vocabulary words for a few Spanish students, has evolved into a turbo-charged web site, packed with resources for Spanish teachers and students.

Conversa, a Costa Rica-based Spanish immersion school, and developer of SpanishBackpack.com, has just announced that it plans to offer the service free of charge. This is great news for hundreds of Spanish teachers across the United States who participated in the pilot program, as well as for thousands of teachers who are constantly looking for inexpensive ways of keeping up with technology in the classroom. “We feel that we’ve developed a solid resource, and we’re anxious to get it into the hands of all the great Spanish teachers out there,” said Andy Kaufman, one of Conversa’s directors, and head of the SpanishBackpack project. “It feels really good to hear from your users, and to find out that they’re enjoying the service, and by offering it for free, we hope that a lot more folks will take advantage of it.”

This news comes at a time when schools and school districts across the country are cutting costs, and foreign language programs are often among the first to go. In some cases, school districts have let go of their language teachers in exchange for costly software packages. “I recall an article in the NY Times a few years back where a school district let go of a few teachers to save money, but still decided to spend a bunch of what it saved on Rosetta Stone. That’s not what we’re about.” Kaufman argues that language is a social tool, and that teachers should be at the center of the learning process.

“Perhaps the most interesting feature for Spanish teachers is the content sharing and open workshops,” says Irene Orlich, SpanishBackpack’s co-creator and content manager. “Teachers love the opportunity to chat with peers about different aspects of teaching Spanish. By offering the platform for them to connect with each other, and by providing a tool where teachers can actively and easily share content with each other and their students, we feel we’re giving them a better shot at succeeding.”

A SpanishBackpack Android app is available for free download from the Google Play store, and the iPhone/iPad version is soon to follow. The resource comes equipped with a digital textbook, thousands of interactive exercises, pronunciation practice tools, and a robust assignment management tool so that teachers can manage virtually all aspects of their Spanish classes from one location. And while it already offers all of this content, it also includes a number of tools for teachers to create their own material on the fly – and share it with other teachers within their own organization, should they choose to do so.

About SpanishBackpack & Conversa: http://www.spanishbackpack.com is a free service for Spanish teachers provided by Conversa, a Spanish immersion school and online Spanish program located in Costa Rica. Conversa has been teaching Spanish as a second language, and training Spanish teachers since 1975. http://www.conversa.com / 1-888-669-1664.

For more information contact:
Andy Kaufman
info(at)conversa.com
305-394-6651

Related links:
Foreign Languages Fall as Schools Look for Cuts - By Winnie Hu, September. 11, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/education/13language.html

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Andrew Kaufman
Conversa
+1 (305) 394-6651
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