I realized that the talk to text features on most phones can be used to help students monitor and correct their own pronunciation. If the phone can understand what they are saying, then a Spanish speaker could understand them. So their phone is really like this little native speaker that ready and willing to tell them whether or not they are understandable. If you look at the ACTFL rubrics, you will see that this is an important component of developing speaking skills in the target language.
So how you can you use this in class?
1. Have students say words and phrases to their phone. Then, have them compare what the phone thought they said to what they actually said. Have them repeat again the words that the phone could not understand.
2. Have them do this (#1) for homework and text you the results (I use Google Voice instead of my actual phone number).
3. Have this feature enabled on your phone when students come up for speaking tests or presentations. You will be able to concentrate on the content of what they are saying and your phone will leave you a record of their pronunciation that you can quickly look back at.
4. Do you have IEP students or other students that need to see and hear the language at the same time? When you are speaking the target language to the class, let them activate talk to text in Spanish on their phone. They will be able to hear and see the words at the same time.
5. Found a great video to show in the target language but it doesn't have subtitles? Have students make their own with talk to text so that they can read the Spanish as they watch.
What are some other ways you can think of that cell phones can be used to help students learn Spanish (instead of just translate it)?