How can teachers use technology resources to enhance and support learning for ELL students in a classroom?
In my current classroom, 11 out of my 22 students are English language learners and compared to the rest of the school, this ratio is considered low. Over 80% of the students at White Center Heights are ELL students. With this in mind, it is extremely important for teachers to incorporate ELL strategies into teaching so that the most learning can occur for students who did not learn English as their first language and may only speak English at school.
I have found that my students are exceptionally engaged in learning when technology is involved. Students seem to forget they are learning and it becomes more like a game or entertainment to them. The article, Supporting English Language Learners through Technology (2010) highlights ways to incorporate technology into lessons to specifically support ELL students. The technology resources that this article touches on are interactive whiteboards, document cameras, videos, and social networking. These resources are proven not only to be engaging, but also extremely effective. Linda expressed that, “The application of digital tools give students access to gathering, evaluating, and using what they learn to create strategies to inquire, analyze, organize, evaluate, create, process and report new knowledge.” Interactive whiteboards, document cameras, and videos not only give students access to the skills listed by Linda, but they also provide ways to include pictures so that contextual clues can support understanding of vocabulary and concepts. When teachers incorporate these technology resources in the classroom, they are modeling the use of media resources and technology (ISTE Standard 3). The article suggests that interactive whiteboards make it easy for teachers to print out lessons and notes so that ELL students can take them home or keep them to review later. Interactive whiteboards also allow teachers to save lessons or presentations and send them to parents/gardians or tutors via email or Google docs to encourage review or support at home. Manipulatives and objects can be placed on document cameras to be viewed and discussed. Incorporating visuals and manipulatives increases deeper understanding. Social networking provides a space where ELL students can type out their thoughts if they are not as fluent or comfortable with speaking. Many teachers have found that encouraging ELL students to type on computers or laptops builds vocal fluency, while also establishing fluency in technology.
I am excited to intentionally incorporate these resources into my lessons for my ELL students and watch how they react to their growth in understanding and their new found confidence in language and in academics.