Educational Technology Transforms Learning for ELLs
Meeting the diverse instructional needs of ELL students can be a challenge for many teachers. Not only do these students come from different geographic, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, but they also bring a variety of educational and cultural experiences into the classroom.
To accommodate those factors, researchers have found that differentiated instruction, which focuses on creating learning opportunities for students where they can approach the same content in different ways, is the most effective way to teach ELLs.
Digital tools enable teachers to do just that, even if they have to teach remotely. For example, incorporating multimedia content creation in a lesson using collaborative suites or mobile apps allows teachers to present new material in visual and auditory ways. Rather than having students go through vocabulary drills, teachers can introduce storytelling activities with tools such as Google’s G Suite for Education and apps like Book Creator and Flipgrid.
Makerspaces also support ELL students in their STEM learning. Even if they lack fluency in English or academic language, working on projects with 3D printers or coding kits allows them to build problem-solving, communication and critical-thinking skills.
Supporting ELL Success with Data Analytics
Today, many schools are seeing the impact of making educational decisions based on student data, such as improved retention and graduation rates.
“It really helps teachers personalize learning and pathways,” shares Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger, the president of the Data Quality Campaign, in an interview with EdTech.
That approach is also beneficial to tailoring instruction and assessment for ELLs. “Now, ELLs come with various levels of English proficiency, so data analysis provides a snapshot of what they should know, and what can be done to meet their academic needs,” writes Camelia Perez, a middle school assistant principal at United Nations International School, for EdSurge.
But educators need to have the right tools and training in place to make that a reality. Districts with high ELL populations can review how others have used cloud-based platforms such as Microsoft Azure to compile student profiles that enable administrators to easily track and identify at-risk students.
“By reflecting on the data collected and your students’ learning needs, you can ensure their successful transition to a tech world and 21st century job market,” Perez adds