The Innovative Language Classroom

Leveraging Technology to Drive Learning

Teachers’ Digital Toolkit

CASLT’s Blended Learning project explored the exciting future of language learning, where technology and blended learning models will continue to transform the landscape for educators. In this dynamic environment, language teachers have opportunities to acquire new skills, experiment with innovative approaches, and collaborate in unprecedented ways.

The Innovative Language Classroom Handbook is a comprehensive resource for empowering language educators with the tools, knowledge, and community they need to embrace innovative, technology-infused teaching approaches. Dive into the accompanying digital toolkit, featuring videos, workshops, teacher tools, articles, and more. It equips teachers and administrators with practical, hands-on approaches to leveraging technology in the language classroom.

Virtual Classroom Tours

Welcome to our immersive 360-degree virtual tour series, where you’ll discover four inspiring language classrooms across Canada. These carefully curated spaces showcase innovative teaching practices, with a particular focus on integrating technology to enhance language learning. Explore four vibrant and inspiring classrooms:

  • an elementary French as a Second Language (FSL) roaming cart classroom in Edmonton, Alberta
  • a high school Spanish Language and Culture classroom in Edmonton, Alberta
  • an outdoor Indigenous Language and Culture classroom in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
  • a secondary Core French classroom in Toronto, Ontario.

Click through each space to discover the innovations that drive these language educators’ success and gain valuable insights for your own classroom.

Engaging Students

Using enjoyable, functional, and authentic language activities and breaking down complex concepts facilitates student engagement and effective language learning. Learn how technology can facilitate this process. 

Digital Ideas: Igniting Student Engagement in the Language Classroom

Rubina Sharma, FSL educator and department head with 20 years of experience, shares dynamic strategies for leveraging technology to spark student engagement and enthusiasm in language classrooms. Discover practical strategies to engage and empower students by giving them ownership over their own learning.

One Size Does Not Fit All: Understanding Differentiated Instruction in Language Education

In this interview with CASLT, Rachel Friedman of the University of Calgary shares the foundational principles behind differentiated instruction in language education. Discover how this personalized approach transforms the classroom to better meet the diverse needs of language learners.

From Theory to Practice: Implementing Differentiated Instruction in the Language Classroom

Rachel Friedman of the University of Calgary sits down with CASLT to bridge the gap between theory and practice, offering concrete and actionable strategies to effectively implement differentiated instruction in the language classroom. Discover how to tailor your teaching methods to meet the diverse needs of your learners and create an inclusive and engaging environment.

Engaging Learners Online Through the Action-Oriented Approach

In Part 4 of the My Virtual Classroom series, Denis Cousineau, an FSL educator with over 30 years of experience, focuses on the challenge of incorporating the action-oriented approach into blended language teaching. The webinar and accompanying toolboxes aim to help educators transition to a skills-first, authentic learning model and explores strategies to promote confident language acquisition.

Leveraging Routines

Being explicit when teaching and practicing routines in the language classroom fosters consistency, alleviates teacher and student workload, and elevates expectations. Implementing structured conversation routines also encourages students to actively engage in spontaneous oral communication.

Balancing Act: Using Routines to Improve Language Learning Online and Offline

Why are routines important? How can they improve student learning? How can technology help teachers create routines? CASLT spoke to Ian Foster of the Institute for Innovation in Second Language Education (IISLE) to find out more.

Tomorrow’s Success Starts Today: Practical Tips for Implementing Routines in the Language Classroom

CASLT spoke with Ian Foster of the Institute for Innovation in Second Language Education (IISLE) to discover practical, easy-to-implement strategies for establishing routines in language classrooms.

Establishing Routines in a Blended Learning Environment: Lowering Our Students’ Affective Filters

This webinar and teacher tool by Shauna Néro explore research-backed teaching strategies and routines that promote consistency, stability, and learner autonomy. Learn how to foster a supportive community among language learners, keeping their motivation high and affective barriers low.

Conversation Routines for Online and In-Person L+ Classrooms

This workshop by Dionne Leblanc focuses on the effectiveness of implementing routine, student-led conversations to boost engagement and enhance functional language skills. Discover practical strategies and resources to extend students’ conversational abilities in the target language.

Building Relationships and Community

Building relationships through authentic use of the target language enhances learners’ language skills and sense of community. Strategies for building relationships and community include:

  • Using team-building activities in the target language that provide real-world context
  • Using inclusive learning materials that reflect student diversity and incorporate diverse perspectives
  • Infusing activities with positivity and fun to foster classroom unity and proficiency
  • Connecting students across classes and using technology to bridge school communities.

From Pixels to People: Fostering a Safe Learning Environment in the Language Classroom

In this interview with CASLT, Monica Tang of Simon Fraser University’s Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs (OFFA) explains how technology can be used to create a secure online learning environment that fosters trust and belonging.

Giving Learners a Voice: Practical Tips for Creating Safe Learning Spaces

In this interview with CASLT, Monica Tang of Simon Fraser University’s Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs (OFFA) shares concrete tips on using technology to encourage students to express themselves with confidence, creating a safe learning environment where risk-taking is valued.

Fostering a Student-Centred Classroom With a Focus on Social Emotional Learning: Practical Tips and Tricks

In today’s language classrooms, students need genuine engagement, well-rounded support, and personal agency. Join Kalli Lirette and Lauren Olson to explore practical techniques for creating student-centered environments, both in-person and online, through user-friendly technology and adaptable strategies.

The Potential of Plurilingualism in the Language Classroom

CASLT sat down with Quinton Stotz of Edmonton Public Schools to explore the world of plurilingualism in the language classroom. What does it look like, and what are the benefits of this enriching approach? Find out how plurilingualism can transform the language learning experience.

Plurilingual Pathways: Using Technology to Promote Linguistic Diversity

How can teachers harness technology to implement a plurilingual approach in their language classrooms? Quinton Stotz of Edmonton Public Schools shares practical strategies for integrating a plurilingual approach into the classroom while considering the essential role of technology in supporting linguistic diversity.

The Digital Disruption: Centring Diversity and Student Voices in Language Learning

CASLT interviewed Rubina Sharma, a passionate FSL educator and co-founder of the FSLDisrupt movement, to delve into the digital disruption reshaping language education and the shift towards centring student voices and diverse perspectives. Discover how technology has become a powerful ally in the quest for more equitable and engaging language learning experiences.

Ditch the Textbook: A Panel Discussion on Leveraging Technology to Centre Diverse Perspectives in the L+ Classroom

Technology connects us to a seemingly unlimited variety of authentic resources from diverse perspectives. How do we decide which resources to use? How can we ensure that they are appropriate for our learners? Eric Keunne, Rubina Sharma, and Lauren-Rose Stunell discuss best practices and share strategies for leveraging technology to highlight traditionally marginalized voices in the L+ classroom.

Ditch that FSL Textbook and Disrupt the Canon: Leveraging the Digital to Create Inclusive Classrooms

French language educators are embracing digital tools and resources to create inclusive and identity-affirming learning environments. Written by Rubina Sharma for Réflexions Volume 42, Issue 1, this article explores how educators are fostering active learners and critical thinkers by adopting tech tools and allowing student choice.

Connecting Language Learners to the World Outside: A Panel Discussion

Language doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and our language classrooms shouldn’t either! Karen Devonish-Mazzotta, Ashleigh Hudson, and Laun Shoemaker share authentic, meaningful ways to connect language students to the real world — a highly motivating way to facilitate learning

Implementing Technology

Selecting user-friendly technologies students are familiar with streamlines teacher tasks and keeps the focus on learning goals, not tech complexity. Engaging students in technology choices also boosts their engagement and ownership over learning. Prioritize simplicity: opt for tech that will allow learners to demonstrate their learning, rather than just using technology for its own sake.

An Introduction to Remote/Blended Learning

In the first part of the My Virtual Classroom series, Jim Murphy highlights key considerations for creating a successful blended learning environment.

Effective Integration of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL)

In Part 7 of the My Virtual Classroom series, Stephanie Jackson discusses strategies for selecting user-friendly tech resources and applying specific technologies in an authentic language learning environment.

Managing Workload

Looking for ways to improve your teaching efficiency and work-life balance? Leverage technology to digitize resources, establish routines, organize materials, and automate tasks. This can reduce your workload and optimize time management, ultimately improving the teaching and learning experience.

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Harnessing Technology to Manage L+ Teacher Workload

CASLT met with Jim Murphy, a language educator and tech expert with over 30 years of experience, to learn about practical insights and real-world examples of how teachers can use technology to streamline their tasks, reduce administrative burdens, and achieve a more balanced and efficient workload.

Ensuring Valid and Reliable Assessment

Technology presents both opportunities and challenges for assessment. To ensure valid and reliable assessments, gather evidence of learning from a variety of sources.

Innovative Assessment Practices Using Technology

Stephanie Jackson shares practices, technologies, and strategies that teachers can use to ensure that language assessments are reliable and valid, even when they occur online.

Reliable Assessment Practices for Distance Learning

In Part 8 of the My Virtual Classroom series, four expert practitioners outline their approaches to assessing language learning with technology. Each shares a best practice for assessing language competencies.

Maximizing Resources

Language teachers often face challenges in sourcing suitable teaching materials. Try embracing technology to streamline this process. Resource hubs like the CASLT CoLab, the FSLDisrupt library, and the Camerise Repository offer a wide range of teacher-reviewed materials, which can save you time and effort. Engaging with the larger L+ education community can also lead you to a wealth of existing resources and innovative classroom practices.

Tools, Materials, and Games for an Interactive Online Classroom

In Part 3 of the My Virtual Classroom series, Glenn Cake explores a selection of digital tools to educate through entertainment.

Targeting Multiliteracies in Building Digital Learning Tasks

In Part 6 of the My Virtual Classroom series, Jim Murphy explores multiliteracy in the language classroom. This course provides a framework, tools, and digital resources to help you create and implement multiliteracy activities, like collaborative writing tasks creating innovative texts.

Stronger Together: Building Online Language Teacher Communities of Practice

Jennifer Francis, Adam Kaszuba, and Mimi Masson explore current research on language teacher mentorship and communities of practice, strategies for combatting isolation, and best practices for starting and maintaining online communities of practice.

The Language Teacher’s Guide to Social Media: How to Build an Online Professional Learning Network

Teaching, especially language instruction, can be isolating. Building an online community of fellow language educators can combat this isolation. This article provides tips on how to start and engage with these online communities while avoiding potential pitfalls.

Communities of Practice: A Professional Learning Model for Retaining Early-Career Second Language Teachers

What are communities of practice? How do they work and what are their benefits for language teachers? Adam Kaszuba explores these questions in this article written for Réflexions Volume 43, Issue 1.

Reframing FSL Teacher Learning: Small Stories of (Re)Professionalization and Identity Formation

This article, written by Mimi Masson and published in the Journal of Belonging, Identity, Language, and Diversity (Volume 2, Issue 2), explores a professional learning model rooted in a sociocultural approach. It aims to empower teachers as active learners and help them regain their agency.

L+ Social Media Inventory

This resource offers an extensive list of social media groups and pages dedicated to language teachers. Whether you’re looking to connect with fellow educators, share insights, or find inspiration, this interactive inventory is your starting point. We welcome your contributions and suggestions to continually update enrich this resource. Please feel free to email us at to expand its reach and usefulness.

Communicating with Students and Caregivers

Frequent, technology-supported communication with students and caregivers enhances relationships and supports student learning. Sharing expectations and learning objectives helps clarify goals and pathways to success. Technology can also streamline communication with students and caregivers, lightening teachers’ workloads.

Managing a Distance Learning Classroom

In Part 2 of the My Virtual Classroom series, Jim Murphy addresses the challenges of remote learning for both teachers and students. He emphasizes the importance of finding a balance between synchronous and asynchronous content delivery, establishing routines for assignments and assessments, and maintaining collaboration.

Advice for Administrators

Recognizing and addressing challenges during the transition to online teaching can alleviate teacher stress. Administrators can better support their staff by understanding teachers’ challenges and seeking ways to streamline processes, reduce redundancy, and spend time wisely.

Leading the Way: How Administrators Can Foster Language Teacher Development

In this interview with CASLT, FSL educator and leader Rubina Sharma discusses the pivotal role administrators play in fostering language teacher development. Explore insights and strategies on how administrators can lead the way in nurturing thriving language educators and fostering excellence in language education.

Inspiring Action: Leadership Strategies for Empowering Language Teachers

Research consistently demonstrates that teachers thrive in environments where they feel supported and valued by their administrators. In this panel discussion, Kalen Thorne, Tamie Beattie, and Antonia Cetin discuss practical strategies for school leaders to inspire and empower language teachers.

Harnessing Learnings From Online

Embrace the potential of technology to enhance the classroom experience and help you thrive in the evolving language education landscape. Start small by mastering one tech tool at a time.

Beyond the Pages: A Vision for Innovative Language Classrooms

Stephanie Jackson, FSL Program Coordinator and lead author of The Innovative Language Classroom Handbook, delves into essential insights and key takeaways from this groundbreaking resource, offering valuable perspectives on transforming language education through technology.

Reflections From an Online French Immersion Teacher

This article in Réflexions (Volume 41, Issue 2) shares the author’s journey of transitioning to online teaching in August of 2020. Despite initial challenges with technology, the experience pushed him to grow and adapt. While teaching a diverse group of 30 students and handling eight subjects online, he discovered that the true challenge lay in shifting teaching practices and reevaluating expectations to meet students’ needs in the digital environment. This reflection highlights the transformative nature of online education and its impact on language educators.

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