Living as we do in the Information Age, it comes as no surprise to see children, as young as three, quite at home in using an ipad or even a computer. Children now function in a time where technology drives almost every aspect of their lives. With this in mind, integrating technology into the classroom has now begun to play an important role in schools.
Technological integration has numerous advantages when it plays an active role throughout the process of teaching and learning. In the case of ESL learners, technological integration increases student engagement and motivation, as it helps New to English learners overcome their shyness and motivates them in their language acquisition. It ensures that ESL students become well versed in the skills and language that requires them to function in a global environment.
The use of technology offers mobility. Teachers and students are not confined to a classroom. Lessons can be planned in such a way that it allows materials to be accessed through smart phones, laptops and tablets. All the online communication and alerts keep students thinking about the material long after the lesson is done. The benefits of the use of technology in learning, is that it promotes independent learning. Text-to-speech features, interactive text books etc. enable an ESL student to enjoy and read books above their level as unknown words can be defined.
Through technology, an ESL student gets to learn the language in a meaningful way and in context. Whether they are visiting social media sites, reading or listening to the news or participating in online discussions, this experience becomes rich and meaningful.
Given below are some content specific tools for our ESL learners:
Comic Maker – a great application, which gives students the independence to create their own characters and write their own comics. This gives them good reading and writing practice.
News in levels – designed specifically for ESL students, it includes relevant videos with each article. Readers can comment via Facebook on the article.
Re-Wordify – type, copy or paste difficult texts and it translates it into simpler language for the child to understand.
Books that grow – ability to change the reading level on the same topic.
CommonLit – free collection of poems, stories, articles, documents.
Windows Movie Maker – for creating video presentations.
Prezi – showcasing their learning through PowerPoint or Prezi presentations.