Podcast with Dr. Bridget Dalton

Designing technology to support comprehension among monolingual and bilingual students

Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning at Vanderbilt's Peabody College of Education

Research focus is on the design and study of digital literacy tools and eBooks to improve diverse students' comprehension and engagement.


Is a web based universally designed supported reading environment, that she helped develop with CAST, Boston College, and Harvard.

Her interest are in helping struggling readers and the role technology has in supporting students so everyone is succeeding and learning with text.

Middle school student with a large percentage of struggling readers, they used Hatchet and found they had good results but they were still struggling with the vocabulary.

ESL's needed more support, so they expanded their support including translation of the text as well as all instructional support in spanish.

Kids that were using this method growth and performance for bilingual was comparable but they were noticing that it didn't excelearate the students learning.

They were happy though because it help level the playing field for the bilingual students.

For Teachers

When looking or purchasing programs or iPads ebooks digital text they need to be looking for embedded learning support.

  • Strategic Readings
  • Reading for understanding
  • Building support for language and vocabulary growth.

Look beyond the basic presentation of the book for more educational support.

Teachers should also be cautious about any extra bells and whistles as they can be distracting. Dr. Dalton has found that if the animations, sounds and learning support are consistent with intended learning goals in can improve comprehension and improve engagement.

They have found that Students are eager to learn this way.


They should take advantage of their children's mobile devices like cell phones, iPads and other gaming devices and encourage them to read with them.

One of their biggest misconceptions is that their children aren't developing as a reader with these devices.

Students actually benefit from listening to text from digital devices. Like improving their language, vocabulary and comprehension


Principles need to be conscious of the different learning needs of their students, as well as the different levels of technology integration that are available to them. They should look for a wide variety of applications that will help their students.

When principles also need to offer teachers adequate time with the technology and resources before expecting huge turn arounds with them.

Teachers realize that they need to differentiate their instruction for their students and know that they can succeed at this with technology integration. They just want proper training with them.