When I first heard that Vámonos Tours was offering a Virtual tour of Old San Juan I felt that it would be a wonderful way to introduce a new unit to my Spanish II class where the cultural focus was on Puerto Rico.
On May 21st Bernardo Benetti provided the experience of making the students feel that they were walking through Old San Juan. The students had some prior knowledge of the island and prepared questions for Bernardo. What I found most interesting was how Bernardo was able to connect with the students and created a dialogue understanding their level of Spanish language skills. Bernardo was able to personalize the tour by having his sister say hello to the students and show the class where I studied when I lived in Puerto Rico in my sophomore year of high school. He was clear, inviting and interesting. The students were able to ask questions as and prompted by Bernardo’s guidance.
As a result of this positive experience with Spanish II, I asked Bernardo to return to offer the Virtual tour to my Advanced Class. Although it was the same tour it felt totally different because of how Bernardo was able to adapt it to a class of seniors who are fluent in Spanish.
During this very difficult time of adjusting to a pandemic and being thrust into online learning, as a teacher I was looking for ways to further engage and enhance the classroom experience. I have to say that the idea of a Virtual Tour certainly rose to the challenge. It is proof of how technology can be used as a tool to enhance cultural lessons. I would also like to give a personal thanks to Bernardo Benetti and Vámonos Tours for this wonderful adventure.
Nélida Muñoz Lepore
Medford High School