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Technology Tools for English Language Learners
Transcript of Technology Tools for English Language Learners
Presented by: Michelle Freligh
Different Levels of Experience
Technology Trends (Robertson, 2008).
Sheltered instruction is a research-based approach to teaching English language learners, in which the goal is to develop content knowledge, language proficiency, and academic skills simultaneously (Hansen-Thomas, 2008). Because technology is an integral part of the 21st century classroom and workforce, it is imperative that English language learners be taught digital literacy to effectively support their learning and prepare them for future career opportunities.
Three classroom scenarios for grade levels 3-5 will be provided. Each scenario will demonstrate how technology integration would benefit the ELL population. In addition, information on challenges, examples, and research regarding technology and ELLs will also be offered.
The following examples of technology tools are used to...
Demonstrate or Present a Concept, Skill, or Strategy:
Cooperative Learning Groups:
Examples of Technology Tools
Dalton, B. & Grisham, D. L. (2011). 10 ways to use technology to teach vocabulary.
Retrieved from http://www.readingrockets.org/article/10-ways-use-
Hansen-Thomas, H. (2008). Sheltered instruction: Best practices for ELLs in the
mainstream. ERIC Digest. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ797289
Heinze, J. (2015). Supporting English language learners with technology. Retrieved
Maklibek. (2011). The Dark World Zelda Dubstep Remix [Audio file]. Retrieved from
Robertson, K. (2008). Preparing ELLs to be 21st century learners. Retrieved from
A recent study identifies instructional techniques and strategies found most effective for teaching computer skills to ELL students:
Simple, step-by-step instructions
Lots of large graphics
Information presented in small chunks
Real-world exercises (Robertson, 2008, para 8).
A third-grade classroom teacher has planned an instructional unit with clearly defined content and language objectives for students. The lessons include concepts that are explicitly linked to students' background experiences and meaningful activities that integrate the concepts with language practice opportunities. However, the outcome of the initial lesson indicates that the English language learner students did not comprehend the content. How can technology be used to support ELLs in this scenario?
Image galleries may be used to support the comprehension of content in the third grade classroom and beyond. Prior to the lesson, locate suitable images from the Internet to present during lesson delivery. The teacher may present these images using various tools, including Prezi, Popplet, Piktochart, or Microsoft PowerPoint. English language learners will be able to determine the meaning of content more easily as the images offer important contextual clues (Heinze, 2015).
Group Multimedia Projects
A fifth-grade classroom teacher is concerned about effectively addressing the needs of diverse students as they learn and apply key concepts and topics. One focus of concern is the integration of meaningful activities into lessons. How can technology be used to support ELLs and other diverse student populations in this scenario?
Group multimedia projects combine the benefits of technology with those of cooperative learning groups. All students develop essential social skills as they practice demonstrating relevant concepts, skills, and strategies, using tools such as LiveSift to engage in group activities, WordPress to create group blogs, or Diigo as a collaborative research tool. ELLs and other diverse student populations will benefit from hands-on activities and peer-assisted work.
A fourth-grade classroom teacher reflects on the day's lesson activities to discover the need for additional vocabulary instruction. How can technology be used to support English language learners and other student populations in this scenario?
The Reading Rockets website offers a comprehensive list of strategies for teaching and learning vocabulary:
Learn from visual displays of word relationships within text
Take a digital vocabulary field trip
Connect fun and learning with online vocabulary games
Have students use media to express vocabulary knowledge
Take advantage of online word references tools that are also teaching tools
Support reading and word learning with just-in-time vocabulary reference support
Use language translators to provide just-in-time help for ELLs
Increase reading volume by reading digital text
Increase reading volume by listening to digital text with a text-to-speech tool and audio books
Combine vocabulary learning and social service (Dalton & Grisham, 2011, "Teaching and Learing Vocabulary").
Links for some specific technology tools that support vocabulary development, including games, translators, and creative word generators are provided in the