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Mrs. Proano Chosen as Presenter at PSMLA Conference

Through a competitive selection process, Highlands High School Spanish teacher Mrs. Laura Proaño was chosen to present to world language educators at the annual Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association Conference on Oct. 11-13 at the Sheraton Hotel in Station Square, Pittsburgh.  


Keeping in line with the conference’s theme of technology, Mrs. Proaño’s session was entitled Virtual Reality: Build Global Competence and STEAM Skills. She presented the unit that she co-developed with Plum School District math/science teacher Stephanie Reilly through the ABC Create Consortium, of which Highlands is a member district. Mrs. Proaño implemented the unit last year with her Spanish III students, who developed a virtual world in Cospaces for Education. The students used block-based coding in Spanish to tell a story of empathy by comparing and contrasting their lives and those of their Ecuadorian penpals. Block-based coding is a way to teach students introductory programming. Instead of traditional, text-based programming, block-based coding involves dragging “blocks” of instructions. “I was so impressed by my students, most of whom had no experience in coding. Not only did they code, but they did it in Spanish,” said Mrs. Proaño.


As part of the conference, she also participated in a visit to the global company Duolingo, founded by Carnegie Mellon University professor Dr. Luis von Ahn. Duolingo’s free mobile app enables students to enhance their language learning.


Congratulations and thank you for representing Highlands, Mrs. Proaño!