This current year I have been teaching Spanish to superior middle school students at Chatsworth Hills Academy and using the Spanish textbook series Avancemos published by Holt McDougal. The series design begins with a stellar textbook that weaves cultural units by country with common grammatical standards. Students experience each unit with highly contextualized, authentic, and relevant photographs, side stories, written dialogues, and activities with clear objectives that reinforce state standards, speaking and writing objectives of language educators, and learning improvement opportunities for students.
In addition to this extremely well designed and published textbook is a fantastic web site that reinforces grammar, vocabulary, and cultural objectives with interactive quizzes based upon video dialogues, grammatical reference, and other listening comprehension activities via the web. Students can also explore web quests, animated grammar, verb conjugators, and more. It is truly a language tutor with quick feedback for students who want answers immediately in this information rich era. It also allows students to work out some language questions from home and build confidence for the speaking needs in the classroom.
With these facts in mind I am siting this textbook series as wonderful example of educators collaborating with educational technologists to create a product that is working for my students and I am sure many others. It works as a classroom tool, an individual tutor, a project platform, and a blended environment. There are so many resources (even audio visual materials and a workbook series that I left out) that this series deserves kudos. It is a instructional design masterpiece worth research by future instructional designers and current graduate students in education, educational technology, or language learning. Learn from what has been done well. It save a lot of time.