Improving English Language Learner Instruction through the Use of Technology

This course explores technologies that support language development as well as academic achievement for K-12 English language learners. Emphasis is on technologies that support English language development and communication skills, such as dedicated software programs, websites, and other technology resources. In addition, participants will learn how technologies that were developed for other purposes, such as word processing, can be used in targeted ways to promote English language development. Participants will benefit from numerous resource links for improving English Language Instruction through the use of technology. 

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Improving English Language Learner Instruction through the Use of Technology

Reviews

Check out what other teachers from your area and across the country are saying about this course.

California | New York

California

I definitely learned a lot through this course. I think the most informative and useful information was about communicating through videoconferencing in the form of distance learning. I never really thought about using distance learning with my students. I always thought of distance learning as taking a lot more time and resources than we have available in our school. I will definitely be looking around the Internet for distance learning opportunities that are limited to one or two sessions but will include various themes we have in our curriculum. It will provide the students with more input from authentic native speaker sources. I would also like to provide them distance learning opportunities based in various countries in the world, not just the United States. It would be great to track down opportunities in places like Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, and English speaking African nations. This will benefit my students in having various sources of input. Along with the input, there will be of course interaction between the students and the other teachers from around the world. The output can also be set up as class assignments in combination with the themes learned about through the distance learning opportunities. CA, 2014

New York (ASPDP)

“What I found most useful in this course was learning about the distance and blended approach to teaching English language learners. I thought it was so interesting because these are things that I have not incorporated in my class, but will definitely start using. By using these strategies I will be able to move some activities online and my students will be able to complete the tasks online at home at their own pace. They will be able to their time and re-read materials or listen to podcasts or video clips as many times as they want. My students will also able to look up words that they don’t understand or ask for help through our blog or group email. I also found interesting that without realizing it, I have been using many Computer assisted language learning programs to teach reading, writing, and listening skills to my students. I am also able to use these programs to differentiate instructions and reach all of my diverse learners. We have kidblog where discussion questions about contents studied in class allow my students to independently research online using the web links that I provide for them in order to help them complete the tasks. This is helpful because my students are able to use multiple means to learning. We also use group emails that help to better communicate with each other and where I am able to send them different teacher-made presentations, video clips, podcasts that will enhance their language learning and master the content being taught. This also helps family members to become involved in their children’s learning process. The best thing about this blended approach and the distance approach is that I can use class time to complete tasks that are not easily completed online. Finally, I am so glad that this course gave me so many useful resources to use with my ELLs. Some of those resources include, but are not limited to, IM, eslcafe, Classroom Gradebook, free graphic organizers, teachade, blogs and podcasts, etc. These are websites that I will definitely use when planning my lessons. To better assist my ELLs and make sure that all modalities are being touched.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“This course offered an abundance of information that has been beneficial in helping me adjust my lessons to ensure quality instruction for ELLs. With the increasing numbers of ELLs in classrooms across the country, it is imperative that educators receive instruction for working with this population. This course has provided me with knowledge of the terminology associated with Language Learning Technologies. As a subject area teacher who has not received any formal instruction in designing lessons for ELLs, this course guided me through the process in a way that I can implement what I have learned immediately. I have used the evaluation of CALL software in order to use the most effective resources for my students. I am better able to assess the levels of my ELLs and understand their learning needs. I have already used asynchronous communication with my ELLS and hope to introduce synchronous communication in the near future. Perhaps the most useful information that I attained were the varied resources available today to assist teachers in modifying lessons to ensure quality instruction for all students.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“Recently I was working on phonics and letter-sound correspondence with my 1st grade students. I pronounced certain words and they had to choose the correct word by identifying the beginning and ending sounds of words. So now when I learned about so many interactive sites, like again http://www.english-4 kids.com I will use it and thus will enhance my boring oral exercises teaching pronunciation.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“There was a lot of information in this course that could be used by many teachers. I believe that technology is not only an interesting way to keep students engaged in their work, but a necessary tool in their education. If my students do not know how to use this technology, then they are falling behind the rest of their peers. I believe that videoconferencing is an interesting tool that is just starting to become something huge. Yes, everyone has used Skype or FaceTime at one point or another. However, I have not seen it incorporated to everyday the classroom. This course made me realize the potential for videoconferencing between students, classes and schools. I also believe that instant messaging is a very interesting way for students to communicate. Instant messaging is something that I used almost every day when I was in middle school and high school. If it wasn’t for instant messaging, I would not be able to type as fast as I can. The amount of time I spent instant messaging dwarfs the amount of time I spent “learning” how to type in computer classes. I believe that this can have the same effect with ELLs. They will learn how to read, write and speak English at a much faster pace if they communicate naturally with other students their age.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“I found this class to be extremely beneficial and it opened my eyes to a variety of ways in which technology can be used inside and outside of the classroom. The websites and resources provided throughout the course were extremely helpful, and I have already utilized many of them. I plan to use more in the future. Also, this class made me realize that even if you don’t have a computer available in your classroom, you can still use technology. For example, you can create a class website in which students and parents can access videos, presentations, and assignments related to lessons you teach in class.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“Overall, I love using technology in the classroom and so do my students. I always strive to use technology as much as I can, insofar as it is an improvement on what the class can accomplish without it. It motivates students and helps them focus and also allows me to differentiate. So, overall this class supports this goal in reminding me of all the benefits (and some of the drawbacks) of using technology. It also gives a lot of great resources which I’d definitely like to use. In particular, I’d like to focus on using technology to improve accent and pronunciation. Sites suggested here include http://www.trainyouraccent.com/index.htm and http://international.ouc.bc.ca/pronunciation/. Students are eager to practice pronunciation. This course also reminds me that the same tools that I have used such as google docs or blogger, students can also use to create their own material. That would be a next step for my class.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“This class really reinforced my belief in how technology can be helpful in teaching mainstream students, but now also with ELL students as well. It makes sense that technology should be utilized while teaching ELL students as well because of the massive repertoire of information available on the web that is geared to their needs. ELL students often need more visuals, graphics, and videos in order to grasp new content or vocabulary (input). This is readily available on the internet. There are also other strategies that can be used in which ELL students can interact with other students and the teacher online. Blogs, for example, are an excellent way ELL students can engage in conversations about content matter and where they can practice their writing skills. I always encourage my students to use email to communicate with me. Now, I will stress it more with my ELL students since it is another way to practice their writing skills. Finally, I plan on using online sites such as Quiz Works and Hot Potato for online assessments and Skedula, an online interactive grading system where students can view their progress, communicate with teachers and access links or assignments that the teacher posts.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“I think it was really helpful to have found the website listing all of the teaching tools, sitesforteacher.com. There are so many useful resources like worksheets, lesson plans, and videos to help differentiate. There are so many great LLTs. I downloaded the Utalk app on my iPad to help some of my students translate into their own language and even practice words in English. There are times during the day when I will allow my students time on the iPad to practice learning English on the iPad instead of doing something else like partner work. I also began using the ESL lounge. There are so many resources and games to help with grammar for ELLs. I allow my students time during partner work in ELA to work on ESL lounge to play a game or a matching puzzle with a partner to practice grammar.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“Technology is currently a part of the classroom and it appears that it will continue to be for years to come. In conclusion to what I learned from this course, technology should be a part of the classroom. Technology can help students of different learning styles such as visual learning and can benefit creating personalized learning for struggling students and ELLs. The strategies laid out in this course provide opportunities for student-directed instruction, and support English language learners to learn alongside their peers. Some of the strategies that I have learned from this course involve the emphasis on the input, interaction, and output. Technology does provide for a variety of materials, internet resources that fit the needs of different learning styles and abilities. Another vital knowledge that I have acquired in this course is that confidence determines motivation. Therefore, it is very crucial to scaffold the instruction using asynchronous or synchronous methods to reach every student. It is very important to scaffold difficult input allowing students to feel successful before moving to challenging tasks. This course has given me the confidence to implement some of the strategies that are based on software programs. These programs include webquests, emails, PowerPoint presentations, word processing which can be integrated to meet a variety of learning objectives and appeals to too many learning styles. ELLs learn best when involved in meaningful, student-centered tasks in which they can manipulate their environment, use problem-solving skills, and gain opportunities for critical thinking, scaffolding of instruction, and cooperative learning. The strategies I acquired in this course will not only accelerate language learning for my students, but will also give my ELLs the confidence, motivation, and skills they need to achieve academic language literacy.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“I learned a lot in this course. There is so much more technology out there to help ELLs then I was aware of. I will be spending time reviewing a lot of the websites that were provided to us and find more things I can use with my ELLs. I plan to incorporate more skyping and video-chatting into my classroom, even if it is with people in our own school. It gives students more of a chance to interact through a different medium. I also am going to begin to record my students reading books. As they become more proficient, I will add those recordings into our listening center to allow all students to have access to them. This course made me more aware of how often I am using visuals or video in my lessons. I need to make more of a effort to include those in my lessons more often. Technology has come a long way to help ELLs and all learners. I can now work to make sure that I am meeting the needs to all my students.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“This course really taught me a lot about my students and myself as an educator. My special education ELL students require additional supports and strategies in order to ensure their academic success. Lecturing does not work! Incorporating visuals and auditory materials helps to engage and motivate my students. The two main pieces of technology I utilize are the interactive whiteboard which also goes hand in hand with a laptop, overhead projector, and document camera as well as two classroom iPads. This course helped me to fine tune my abilities with these materials as well as introduce me to many elements that can better my classroom. After learning about ESL-Lounge (www.esl-lounge.com), I began to slowly implement this in my classroom of special education ELL students with Autism. I liked how ESL-Lounge offered four levels of instruction: elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate and advanced. This is great for my classroom because I have six unique learners who require some sort of differentiation. Therefore, if I have some advanced students, I was able to utilize some of the pre-intermediate materials as well. The website offered assistance in reading, writing, and grammar for ELL students. Being that I find grammar especially difficult to address, I was relieved to find grammar guides and exercises. I also found reading exercises, listening exercises, vocabulary exercises and games. The games were motivating and engaging which is especially important for my students who lose focus easily or are easily distracted. Personally, I utilized the games as a fun reward or culminating activity at the end of lessons. Since I teach six students and have two teacher aides, I grouped the students in pairs and assigned a staff member to each group. I grouped the students in pairs of same levels and then I tried groups of differing abilities because I was confident that the stronger partner would encourage and model for the lower level student. ESl-Lounge can also be used at home, where students and older sibling and/or parents can participate and learn together. I believe that parental involvement is essential to the success of my students. Therefore, this was one of my favorite parts of ESL-Lounge. Parents and other siblings were elated to be a part of the learning process being that it also helped them as well. Speaking of parental involvement, I enjoyed learning more about Skype. I have implemented a peer tutoring system with a non-ELL class with the support of a colleague of mine. The students Skype with one another to practice conversation skills and look forward to their daily “calls.” I have also enlisted the help of parents and other relatives also. Students can chat with their parents and family members at home as well as overseas! This was a great way to incorporate families into the learning.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“I found this course to be very informative as to how I can use technology to further enhance my teaching and the learning outcome of my students. The ways in which I can use technology in my classroom to assist students in research and improve reading and writing via the Internet is specifically what I found to be most useful. The idea of using Webquests as a means to tailor research and create a scaffolded system for students to work more independently with their peers to learn and create meaning is an exciting new tool that I plan to use in my upcoming unit that focuses on informative texts. I also like the different tools such as ways the students can highlight words to find out meaning and take ownership of monitoring their own understandings and learning as they work a valuable tool. I plan to demonstrate these tools to my students as a whole in the upcoming months. This course also provided good strategic uses for how to implement activities that use technology both for students for individual gain and in groups where students can interact and learn together. I plan to implement more mini-lessons that focus on student language development in small groups and use some of the web based resources as a way to extend and allow practice of new skills based on student needs. Overall, I think that this course has helped me to learn about resources that I can apply right way into my teaching to improve learning for many of my language learners in a way that is beneficial and engaging for my students.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“This course was very intensive and eye opening in different aspects. While I am somewhat comfortable with technology, this course taught me a lot about the wide range of resources that are available to me in the web. Using a class website was something that I knew that I had to create in order to be relevant in our every technologically based education system. The website allowed content to be dedicated to one area for student consumption. Everything that I would do in class would be placed on my website (links, video, audio, blogs, etc.). Fakebook and wix.com gave students an opportunity to write about and reflect on their learning in my class. It was fun and it allowed them to showcase their creativity. The website also allows parents to constantly be involved in my class. They were able to see what was going on and what assignment was due on what particular day. Wix also gave me ELL’s an opportunity to delve in web design and how to structure a website. They were code switching from programmers to essay writers in my class. The blogs that they created was open for peer review and the feedback from their peers was very thoughtful and supportive. It made the students more determined to produce quality work , since it was going to be posted on the web with their names on it . This made the work authentic. I gained some much useful tools from this class. This is one of the best classes that I have taken. I am excited to go back and look thoroughly at the resources and continue to advance as an educator. Thank you.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“What I found most informative and useful about this course was the variety of ways one can utilize technology in the classroom. Technology can be used whole class, in small groups, and individually. This course provided a range of examples and resources to use technology in a way that is realistic and pragmatic for every classroom teacher, regardless of school circumstances. I really like the idea of creating a class blog. I think it could provide so many opportunities for students in both of my classes to present what they learned in a variety of ways. They can upload videos, pictures, or Word documents easily. This course has shown me that I don’t need a laptop for every student to accomplish this. I could have students work in groups and upload their presentation that way. I think this would also be a great way to log student work over the years to show to future classes.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“One part of this course I found very helpful was all the different websites and downloads that I learned about from this class. As a teacher I feel that it important to make sure that we are always using the most up to date technology in our classes. One website I particularly liked is eslkidsstuff.com. The website has interactive games for kids to play as well as downloads for the teachers to use in the classroom. I like that it is easy to use for students as well as the teacher, and it gives the students feedback that they can understand. It also gives the teacher data on how they are doing which is very important in my school. I also like that the work is authentic and appropriate for students of different educational levels. I also liked how in the last chapter of this class I learned about ways to improve communication with parents and how to use online grading websites. I feel that many classes that I have been taking only teach things that we can use during lessons. I feel that this is very helpful, but there is a lot more to teaching. I have been using a website to better communicate with my parents for the first time this year which has made my teaching much better I feel. I have learned in this last chapter about different online grade books that I feel can be very useful for my teaching. I also feel that by using these I will have more time to work on lessons for my class.” (ASPDP, 2014)

“This school year, I have had the opportunity to formally assess students, in regards to their reading levels, writing abilities, and mathematical skills. I have also assessed them informally in terms of their level of language acquisition, and I gave them an interest inventory to determine their likes and dislikes. I have used the data gathered to form ability based groups in reading and math. Aside from forming ability based groups in the class, I also form interest based groups a lot more often. My students are at different ranges in terms of their language acquisition and those differences can’t be overlooked. For example, when I was forming my reading groups, which consisted of 5 students per group with heterogeneous reading levels, I had to make a choice between including two students whom read at the same level. Previously I would have randomly sent one to the higher group and kept the other in the original group. This year I looked at both students and allowed their language proficiency to determine their group. I allowed the beginning ELL to stay in the lower group as it is more visually rich, uses more digital assistance (get iPad access more often) and is scaffolded more intensely than the higher group. I did this feeling comfortable enough to know that I was still keeping him within his zone of proximal development and knowing that the other group may have been at his frustration level which would not have benefited him as much. Aside from grouping students properly into ability based groups, I have also enhanced my scaffolding to include more forms of aids. I now spend more time front loading vocabulary with visuals and videos. I make it a goal to activate schema. I have modified my questioning tactics to provide more inputs and outputs for processing of information, I use interactive games, polls, surveys… Most importantly I don’t assume that a child is understanding the instructions, I make sure that they are by not only modeling for them but recording step by step instructions which they can refer back to throughout the active engagement portion of the lesson. For example, I have a student who just arrived from the Dominican Republic and was placed in my class as the bilingual class was filled to capacity. Before, I would have just taught my lesson as is and pulled him aside to explain. Now, I incorporate scaffolds into the lesson that take him into account such as using words with Spanish cognates and accompanying visuals on the smart board, adding visuals and audio to the directions. I feel that this keeps him engaged the whole time and doesn’t have him just sitting there waiting till the lesson is over to receive some brief version of it. I am very happy that this course has helped me to become more aware of the different strengths and needs of the children in my classroom and has enhanced my ability to accommodate my second language and other struggling learners in a form that is: engaging, non-threatening and challenging at the same time.” (ASPDP, 2015)

“This course was a wonderful experience for me. There are many useful tools that this course provided me with. It enhanced my teaching and knowledge of technology and multimedia. My goal was to help ELL students master English through technology. In collaboration with Danielson’s Framework, it provided me with valuable resources to create a more authentic way of teaching. It challenged me to take more of a constructivist approach of learning and reflecting. Most of the time I teach a Sheltered In approach using small group instruction. Although this course was designed for ELL students , all students will be able to benefit from these resources from grammar, webcams, emails, dictionaries, to blackboards, smart boards, Moodle, Skype, podcasts, websites, and digital cameras which will assist students to master English and advance their multimedia skills. I also learned there are many things you can teach with only one computer in the classroom, as I do. I found the most useful way is to use it is during whole class instruction with projector. One computer can be utilized by using a spell checker or thesaurus, class research& PowerPoint presentations, cooperative learning groups, writing, typing and practice for English skill building. Individual students can also take quizzes and test for assessments. I learned there are very useful websites for one computer in a classroom: • http://eduscapes.com/tap/topic84.htmhttp://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech092.shtmlhttp://facweb.furman.edu/~pecoy/mfl195/onecomputer.htmlhttp://www.lburkhart.com/elem/strat.htmhttp://www.lburkhart.com/http://www2.gsu.edu/~eslmlm/onecomputer2.html Tailoring my profession to elementary school, there were many useful websites to help students Master English, such as: http://www.camsoftpartners.co.uk/websites.htm#english http://spellcheckplus.com/ http://pics.tech4learning.com/ http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/ http://www.pdictionary.com/ http://spellcheckplus.com/ http://www.english-4u.com/ http://a4esl.org/ http://www.englishgrammarexpress.com/ http://www.mes-english.com/ http://ww2.college-em.qc.ca/prof/epritchard/ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/ http://www.jayzeebear.com/bird_house.html http://www.storyplace.org/preschool/other.asp http://www.everythingesl.net http://www.storyplace.org/preschool/other.asp http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/ http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/methodology/content.shtml http://www.bluemountain.com/printable-cards/christmas/happy-wishes/card-3399632 http://podcastanswerman.com http://spellcheckplus.com http://www.english-4kids.com/videos.html http://www.aplusgamer.com/index.jhtml?partner=^AF4^xdm003&gclid=CLWU_Ymx-MICFQ4S7AodLxkAuA http://www.blackboard.com http://moodle.org http://www.elluminate.com/ http://www.tutorvista.com Technology is one of the most valuable resources of the 21 century.
These websites will benefit students, as well as my career. Thank you for helping me become a better teacher. Excellent Course – 2015 (ASPDP, 2015)

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