What’s your background, and how did you get started in education?
What are your favorite memories from your time as educators?
The lightbulb moments! The moment when you see a student’s face light up because s/he truly understands something is so special. We have also taken students on numerous trips to France. It is a gift to watch students interact with the language and culture; they often surprise themselves with what they can accomplish!
What inspired you to begin creating content for language learners?
We witnessed the success with students and believed we could share with others. Upon receiving positive feedback from other French teachers, we realized we should continue creating! We had so many ideas, we couldn’t create quickly enough.
Before you started using Boom Cards, did you use any other tools to teach language skills?
We began teaching with chalkboards and overhead projectors and have morphed into the digital world we know today. We have tried so many tips, tricks, and tools along the way (some successful, some not!), but we always come back to the basics: Which best practices, whether paper or digital, will best meet the needs of our students so they acquire the target language in the most effective way today?
We make sure students read, write, listen, and speak in comprehensible ways in French to best enhance acquisition. Therefore, the tools we choose to implement complement those language modalities. Tools we like to incorporate include games and competitions, reading passages, online videos, partner conversations, digital activities, whole class movie talks, songs, cultural discussions, podcasts, and sharing personal connections.
It is important to choose tools to ensure learning is authentic, varied, and effective.
How did Boom Learning change the way you were thinking about apps and games?
Boom Learning showed us the power of instant feedback, both for student and teacher. Knowing students were receiving feedback put our minds at ease and saved us a lot of grading time. Students were able to immediately learn from their mistakes and see growth by getting their wrong answers correct the next time.
When did you realize that you might be really good at designing curriculum with Boom Cards?
We are still learning how to design Boom Cards and have a long way to go! When we started receiving positive feedback from other French teachers, we realized we had a knack for Boom design. Creating Boom cards is FUN, and it’s a bonus to know we are helping students around the world learn French.
Who is your audience when you design new decks?
Our audience includes middle school and high school students, beginner to advanced (AP & IB), who are learning French. Andi has even implemented some decks with university students. We have learned that some elementary immersion teachers have used our decks, too.
What was the biggest surprise you’ve had while making and selling Boom Cards?
The biggest surprise has been the sheer number of teachers who have chosen to use our decks to better help their students learn French. It is hard to put into words what it means to know we have helped so many students make progress in acquiring this beautiful language.
How has the pandemic changed the way you look at education technology?
The pandemic opened our eyes to so many great technology tools that we never even knew existed. Technology can be such a gift, but it is still just one of the many tools for language learning.
What are some opportunities you see for new publishers who are just getting started?
For new publishers, opportunities rest right in their own classrooms with their own students. Create and implement. See what works, see what doesn’t work. Incorporating the decks with your own students is a great learning experience for all!
How do you balance selling and promoting your Boom Cards with your other work-related responsibilities?
We know our priorities, so we do our best to keep them in line. That means there are times when we do a lot of work with Boom Cards and there are times when we hardly work on them, and that is okay.
What type of curriculum are you thinking of building next?
We have been really motivated to make more resources focused on reading. We created some reading decks based on cultural events (Poisson d’avril, le Carnaval de Nice, Mardi gras, etc.), thanks to the input from a buyer, and we’d like to create more!
Have you always considered yourselves entrepreneurs?
Not at all! We’ve only ever been teachers, so this newfound Boom business has taken us by surprise, and we enjoy it!
What is the biggest misconception people have about learning a new language?
The biggest misconception? All the restraints to language learning (“too old,” “no time,” “my brain isn’t wired for another language.”). We all acquired a language as a child, so if the motivation exists, more language acquisition is achievable!
Is there any feedback you’ve gotten on your Boom Cards that made you feel proud or excited?
—Amazing deck! It’s exactly what I was looking for to help my IB kids! (Mots Connecteurs)
—Using the most common expressions and verbs in the subjunctive, the Hobbs have provided the perfect practice cards for the student who is learning this tense. The audio practice is key in teaching the learner to listen carefully to the conjugation of the verb. I highly recommend this set of Boom Cards for the beginning acquisition of the subjunctive tense. (Subjunctive Tense)
—This has a nice variety of questions to keep the students engaged. Thank you! C’est chouette! (French Greetings Free)
Learning that we help teachers meet the needs of their students in effective ways is humbling.
What makes Boom Cards a good learning supplement for homeschoolers, classroom teachers, or language specialists?
Boom Cards are great because they are digital, self-checking, and easy to use! They meet a wide range of grades, abilities, content, and skills. Teachers and students alike appreciate the learning that come from Boom Cards.
Check out some of Andi and Jason’s recent decks in the Boom Store.