Digital Teaching Cookbook prototype

The use of digital debates in Spanish class

Semester(s): Fall 2014


Software: Moodle with Poodll, Camtasia


  • Showcase the learner-centered approach to curriculum design
  • Demonstrate the use of the Moodle plug-in called Poodll to enable digital debates.


This project features Maria Jesus Iglesias’ incorporation of digital debates in her Spanish classes at MIIS, using the Moodle plug-in Poodll. The digital debates allow students to choose their own topics and post articles or Youtube videos on the chosen topic. Everyone is required to record their opinions and post the recordings on a Moodle forum. Then students are required to listen to their peers’ opinions and react to a few by posting an audio response on the same forum. Maria-Jesus then gives her feedback on the linguistic aspect of the responses individually to each student through audio recordings as well.

As a DLC graduate assistant, first I had a conversation with Maria-Jesus to gather basic information regarding the classes, the reasons for choosing digital debates and the Moodle platform, the details of facilitating the debates as well as the pedagogical implications of using digital debates. We then recorded Maria-Jesus narrating about the digital debates while simultaneously showing the relevant sections of her Moodle course site using the screen casting software Camtasia. I then pieced together the different parts of the recording and edited the video to make it coherent and easy to follow. Throughout the process, I received significant support from the director of the DLC, Bob Cole, who had set the vision for the project, as well as another DLC graduate assistant, Daurie Mangan-Dimuzio, who gave me helpful suggestions and feedback during the editing.  Below is the finished video.

Lessons Learned:

Based on an anonymous survey that Maria-Jesus conducted with her class, students largely reacted positively to the format of online digital debates. Most students appreciated the extra opportunity to practice speaking outside the classroom. A couple students highlighted the ability to fine-tune their pronunciation and formulate organized arguments through the debates.

As a graduate assistant, this project has been an incredible learning experience. Collaborating with Maria-Jesus taught me about the amount of planning that goes into curriculum design and the importance of incorporating technology into classrooms to allow further language practice. I was also able to enhance my technical knowledge of Camtasia, especially in terms of video editing.