ISTE Coaching Standard 3: Digital age learning environments proposes that technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students. This module focused on performance indicators:
B – Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments
D – Select, evaluate, and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning
F – Collaborate with teachers and administrators to select and evaluate digital tools and resources that enhance teaching and learning and are compatible with the school technology infrastructure (ISTE, n.d.)
I researched the question:
What digital resources will help me support our school’s growing ELL population and how can I support our ELL teacher interested in using the tools to support her students’ learning in the mainstream classroom?
Marsha Scott, a district colleague, ELL teacher, and DEL graduate, is familiar with the district resources and her ELL students learn with tools that support their needs. In her blog post and further investigations, I learned more about the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Framework which is designed to meet needs of all learners. It’s important for teachers to be mindful and design curricula using UDL which allows teachers to remove potential barriers that could prevent learners from meeting this important goal (2011). In readings here, here, and here common themes arose to support mastery of learning for ELL students within the Materials component of the UDL curriculum:
For conveying conceptual knowledge, UDL materials offer multiple media and embedded, just-in-time supports such as hyperlinked glossaries, background information, and on-screen coaching. For strategic learning and expression of knowledge, UDL materials offer tools and supports needed to access, analyze, organize, synthesize, and demonstrate understanding in varied ways. For engaging with learning, UDL materials offer alternative pathways to success including choice of content where appropriate, varied levels of support and challenge, and options for recruiting and sustaining interest and motivation.
Apps & Tools for our ELL Students
Digital technology lets students learn languages the way they were meant to be learned through engagement, interactions, and scaffolding. (Brozek, 2016)
Interactive smartboards: Pictures & videos: the scaffold that can help English language learners.
Readability: App extension that cleans up cluttered pages and allows change in font size.
Speakit: App extension for text to speech.
Online graphic organizers: helps students organize ideas.
Imagine Learning: District purchased program for ELL students.
District resources that offer assistance (text to speech, bilingual editions, adaptable reading levels, other text features) for all students.
Most importantly, technology cannot replace good instruction. It’s important teachers have the tools available to them to create student learning opportunities where students are engaged and they can draw on their own language, culture, and learning experiences.
Brozek, E., & Duckworth, D. (2008). Teaching English language learners through technology. doi:10.4324/9780203894422
CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author.
ISTE Standards for Coaches. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-coaches
Johnson, K. (2016, March 15). Resources to help you choose the digital tools your classroom needs (EdSurge News). Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-03-15-resources-to-help-you-choose-the-digital-tools-your-classroom-needs
Rodriguez, L. (2016, July 25). 7 digital resources for students learning English or any other language. Retrieved from http://www.eschoolnews.com/2016/07/25/7-digital-resources-for-students-learning-english-or-any-other-language/2/
Zielezinski, M. (2016, June 25). What 7 factors should educators consider when choosing digital tools for underserved students? (EdSurge News). Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-06-25-what-7-factors-should-educators-consider-when-choosing-digital-tools-for-underserved-students