Bright ideas for tech-savvy educators, right to your inbox

[English Language Learners] 10 Considerations When Selecting Technology

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 -- Shari Rios

American classrooms are seeing more and more students who are English language learners (ELLs). Providing these students with a solid foundation in English is absolutely essential to their success in other subjects, and is a huge component in leveling the playing field with native English speakers. Programs for these students can take on many forms, but no matter what yours may look like, the right technology can be an invaluable asset.

Use these 10 considerations to determine if the technology solution you’re looking at will be a good fit for your program:

1. Who needs to be involved in the decision-making process?

Is your program run at the district or school level? How many instructors will be using the program, and will they all be utilizing it in the same manner?

2.       What is the basic structure of your ELL program?

Are your ELL students in mainstream classes, separate classes, or a combination of both? Is this structure consistent across different grade levels?

3.       Are most of your ELL students working at a comparable level?

Do a majority of your ELL students have a similar English proficiency level (e.g., Newcomer, Beginner, Advanced, etc.), or is there a wide range of skill levels?

4.       What kinds of technology devices do students in your program have?

Are you currently using any devices in the classroom with your ELL students? What kinds of devices do your ELL students have regular access to outside of school?

5.       What teaching methods do you utilize in your ELL program utilize?

Is ELL instruction primarily teacher-led or do your students work on skills in a more self-paced environment?

6.       What materials and programs are you using to support ELL instruction?

Are you already using any online tools with your ELL students? If so, what about those tools do instructors and students like or dislike?

7.       How will you measure outcomes and growth for your ELL students?

What kind of data do you want to have access to regarding your students’ proficiency growth? How will you leverage this data to drive student instruction and improve your program?

8.       Do you want to offer before or after school programming options for your ELL students?

What will these programs entail, and how will they differ from school-day programming? What kinds of staffing, space, and technology device resources will be available for these programs?

9.       What funding sources will you use to pay for this technology?

How much funding are you currently devoting to ELL education? Are there additional federal or local sources of funding that your students could qualify for? Will these be on-going sources?

10.   What are the primary languages of your ELL students?

Does the solution you are considering support translation to and from the languages your students speak?

Want to learn about how Edmentum can partner with your school or district to provide high-quality programming for your ELL students? Check out our English Language Development Solutions!