English Language Learners (ELLs) make up approximately 10% of the American student population, and the number of ELL students is increasing in America’s public schools.
We must prepare all students, including ELLs, for college, career and civic participation. Technology can play a useful role in assisting English language learning and acquisition. We recently wrote about this in our publication, Supporting English Language Learners with Next-Gen Tools.
This year’s iNACOL conference in San Antonio featured an interactive session led by Tom Vander Ark and Bonnie Lathram of Getting Smart and Tricia Lopez of IDEA Public Schools, a large network of 50+ schools based in Texas.
In the iNACOL conference session, teachers and education leaders matched tech tools to specific students for best use cases, explored what’s next in next-gen technology for ELLs and crafted a plan for implementing next-gen tools and strategies.
Technology Trends to Support ELLs
The session was an “ELL Hackathon” and began with an interactive conversation led by Tom about emerging technology trends. Participants identified a long litany of current trends including the increase in mobile devices, the increased use of wearables and the rise in cloud-based technology.
The participants also discussed trends in education technology overall and identified major trends, including Learning management systems, connectivity, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), mobile apps and digital assessments.
The conversation then transitioned to discuss trends in language development, which included a conversation about how language learning and tools need to move beyond translation. Participants also identified that learning management systems specific for ELLs (including Ellevation Education, present in the session) as well as a move towards blended ELL classrooms.
Participants designed essential questions to share with participants and session leaders, creating opportunities for dialogue and communication about strengths and deficits of ELL approaches. They then interacted with specific ELL language and math tools and apps in various stations and with various devices in order to simulate “what works” and “what’s next” in language learning.
The team from Getting Smart and IDEA Schools were joined by the following edtech companies:
Thanks to all the participants and edtech companies who joined Tom, Tricia and Bonnie in this session.
For more, see: