Integrating Technology for ELLs
Suggestions Considering Sheltered Instruction Methods
Provide excellent, individualized education that specifically strengthens ELLs, without compromising the educational value of the lesson.
Finding efficient and effective technology tools that support ELL learning.
How can we integrate technology to better serve our ELL students?
Interactive White Board
ELLs take a longer time to process information. With the usage of an interactive white board, the teacher can instruct students, save files, and quickly reference connection. On a traditional board, a teacher could make a visual representation or reference for an ELL within the lesson, but then has to erase information over and over. With the interactive white board, there is no need for making a connection for an ELL and then it being wiped away before the student can process it. All students can reference notes and illustrations created on the white board if the teacher saves them and posts them to their teacher website. This is especially helpful for ELLs who may need a little more time with the explanation of a concept and can easily visually reference what was being taught in the classroom. By giving the extra support to have specific references to learning concepts, this can provide the tools needed for ELLs to be successful in cooperative learning groups. The extra support gives more practice and functionality for ELLs, thus making the ELLs more confident with student-to-student interaction. Interactive white boards also bring forth the audio component that can be used during instruction. Video clips, word pronunciations, and interactive definitions all can be utilized easily. Hearing words and video clips will strengthen the ELLs language skills, while learning new information and making connections.
Microsoft Photo Story
This is a concept that I have recently learned about and would love to implement in all of our classrooms. Often ELLs struggle with self expression in writing. English is not their dominant language, so writing and thoughts are often connected with their primary language. Because of the necessary transition from expression in a language to English, Microsoft Photo Story can remedy the writing weaknesses that are often found in ELLs. With the use of this free program that can be downloaded, students can express themselves through a creative story board process. Microsoft Photo story helps students step by step create an outline, add images, and then voice recordings to make their story come to life. This gives ELL students the confidence they need to piece together a story and provides an excellent resource for teachers to document progress. When using the program, writing skills, speaking skills and vocabulary skills are strengthened. Through writing and all creative processes, finding words to represent what the ELL is trying to express gives practice using known words, and the desire to explore new words. With the ability to record voice as many times as they need to, to make it to their standards, ELLs can practice their speaking skills on their own terms, in their own expressive states. Being able to give the opportunity to aid ELLs with writing and self expression is very possible with this program and provides immediate feedback for the teacher to assess, and students to reflect on.
Now, you may think document cameras have a minimal purpose since the interactive white board has proved to elicit educational success, but there is a huge benefit here. Yes, most ways a document camera is used can similarly be used on the interactive white board. However, a document camera can project objects, words, and images quickly. Referencing work in a textbook and finding a specific example can be hard for ELLs to struggle through the words and find the page. With the document camera, this can be projected giving ELLs the support they need to stay with what the teacher is discussing. Also, the projection of an image or object allows ELLs to make an instant connection to visual representations and the corresponding words that represent them. If an ELL gets lost on a specific part of the lecture, having an image reference can clue back in what the teacher was instructing and give confidence to the ELL learner in the classroom. Also, success can be found in cooperative learning groups if there is something being projected for the whole class. The ELLs can have a reference for discussion or contributing to an assignment. Document cameras give quick and easy access for teachers to emphasize or reference something specific and tangible that is being used in the classroom.