Digital Tools to Support English Learners - Learners FIles/ATDN/Digital Tools...Digital Tools to Support English Learners ... idioms, phrases, spelling suggestions ... English, competitive exams

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  • Goals for the sessionConsider how to use digital tools to access three common frames for learning for English Learners

    Explore free or low-cost websites and apps that can support language acquisition and access to academic content for English Learners at all proficiency levelsTranslation and pronunciation

    Dictionaries and vocabulary

    General language learning

    Study aids and fluency

  • Diversity in the English Learner population Quality of previous education

    Prior English learning experiences

    Literacy of the family

    Socioeconomic status


    Family displacement

    Cultural isolation

    Exposure to social unrest or war

    Cultural differences between educational systems

  • Special challenges for teachersFilling in gaps in background knowledge

    Helping students to navigate the nuances of English grammar, slang, and multiple meanings of words

    Differentiating between difficulties in comprehension caused by language versus learning disabilities

    Providing students with strategies to tackle academic vocabulary necessary to master course content

    Recognizing and valuing the experiences and knowledge that students bring to the school setting

  • The English Proficiency StandardsHeavy emphasis on academic language in addition to survival/communication proficiency.

    More explicit connection to career readiness skills in addition to life skills

    Use of technology to expand resources and relevance

    Why Adult Learners Need Technology in Their Education, B. Marceta

  • Why digital resources?Many of the same outcomes can be reached without technology (textbooks, flashcards) but

    Digital skills are part of literacy in todays society. These include the ability to find, evaluate, organize, create and communicate information.

    Digital tools are more interactive and engaging (gaming theory)

    can provide more options and nuances (images, pronunciation)

    Are easily accessible from a variety of available devices (Smartphones, tablets, iPads)

    Are neutral and non-judgmental, help to lower the affective filter


  • Digital literacy skills for adult learnersWhat kinds of digital learning should students be exposed to in class?

    Basic computer literacy

    Information and communication

    Digital information literacy

    Internet literacy skills

    Need for instructors to be facilitators of learning and learn requisite technology skills alongside their students (LINCS Issue Brief: Integrating Digital Literacy into English Language Instruction)

    LINCS; Concepts in Action: Integrating Digital Literacy Activities Into Planning, Companion Learning Resource

  • Digital tools for EL learning frames

  • Frames for learningUniversal Design for Learning

    Language Experience Approach

    Realia/Total Physical Response

  • Universal Design for LearningBased on work by Anne Meyer and David Rose in 1990s

    Takes advantage of different parts of the brain Affective Networks: the WHY of learning (engagement, motivation)

    Recognition Networks: the WHAT of learning (representation, present in different ways)

    Strategic Networks: the HOW of learning (action & expression, different ways to demonstrate mastery)

    UDL Overview: (4:30 min)

  • UDL resourcesCAST UDL Studio :

    Text Free online public domain text sources:

    Audio Recording and editing software, sound effects, music, audio books:

    Video Online sources for free video, video search engines:

    Images Public domain images:

    Animations Online animation tools and free online public domain animations:

    For a complete listing of resources:;jsessionid=BB9FB2AB144F46AC6F2A1AA3EFC05F6E *;jsessionid=BB9FB2AB144F46AC6F2A1AA3EFC05F6E

  • More from CASTUDL Book Builder

    Develop your own digital books

    CAST Science Writer* Web-based tool that scaffolds the process of science class and lab reports;jsessionid=31CC8DBD1C89F99C424A2C2651F2FDCC

    CAST UDL Editions Classic texts in an online interface with built-in supports for differentiation

    Great built-in features for audio (read the screen), playback speed, embedded dictionaries, highlighting;jsessionid=31CC8DBD1C89F99C424A2C2651F2FDCC

  • Language Experience ApproachPromotes reading and writing through the use of personal experiences and oral language

    Steps: Choose, organize and conduct an experience

    Discuss the experience

    Develop a written account

    Read (and re-read) the account

    Extend the experience

    An explanation featuring adult learners:

    Cant conduct an experience? Go virtual!

    The 10 Best Virtual Field Trips:

  • Realia and Total Physical ResponseBoth of these frames utilize objects and experiences to provide a context for language development

    Teachers can access online picture dictionaries to help students associate images with words

    Some sites even have pronunciation features and translation features to help students identify initial sounds and words spoken by different people. words and pictures-interactive flash cards

    Vidtionary: pictures, sounds, multiple pronunciations by male and female speakers with different accents, short clips *

  • Categories of AppsTranslation and pronunciation

    Dictionaries and vocabulary

    General language learning

    Study aids and fluency

  • Benefits of iPads Built in features

    Spoken Text Speak Selection and Speak Screen will read highlighted text aloud with proper pronunciation

    Dictation Talking helps practice enunciating and saying words correctly or dictate in native language and translate;

    doesnt need Internet connection

    Safari Reader View a webpage in one page, without ads, adjustable font and background color

    Communication tools Facetime, text chats, video

    Handouts from Apple

  • Content creationKeynote

    Visual vocabulary cards with images, animations and video

    Pages Built-in templates for reports with video and text

    Numbers Use individual sheets for pre-writing, writing, revision

    GarageBand Record reading for improved fluency or sing songs to learn language and patterns

    iMovie Create video versions using titles, images, voiceovers and sound effects

  • Process for selecting appsRecommendations from users

    Recommendations from best of site reviews

    Visit the app site

    Look at independent reviews All of the suggested apps have strong reviews (4/5 stars or better) with generally positive comments


    Not all apps have equal functionality on all devices. Some are geared for iPhones, Android, iPads, Kindles, Apple watches, etc.

    Most are free downloads from the iTunes store, but check!

  • Translation and pronunciationPronunciation Power: exercises to practice Stress, Timing, Articulation, Intonation & Rhythm S.T.A.I.R.) in 12 languages

    Speak English Like an American: idioms and expressions

    iTranslate: translates text, websites or voice-to-voice, includes a dictionary *

  • Dictionaries and with English Learners Dictionary: idioms, phrases, spelling suggestions

    Vocopedia Lite: flashcard based vocabulary builder. Over 3900 words, geared toward academic English, competitive exams

    WordWeb Dictionary: dictionary and thesaurus with one-click look up

  • General language learningSpeaking Pal: Short dialogues with a video character, advanced speech recognition to get feedback on pronunciation. Video lessons and quizzes. Tracks student progress.

    English-Learn English: interactive and conversational practice app

    Duolingo: opportunities to read, listen and speak. Uses gamification to make more interactive. Create a profile through Google or Facebook

  • Study aids and fluencyConsider these strategies for increasing the opportunities to speak and communicate

    Research shows that English Learners are engaged in actual conversation using academic language only about 4% of class time!

    Using social media

    Using pictures and photos as prompts

    Using digital media for storytelling

  • Using Social MediaBenefits:

    Provides an opportunity for reflection by students and their teacher, Opens up student writing to a wider audience, Provides an opportunity to practice writing and communication skills, Builds a learning support community, Empowers student voice, Provides a platform for peer feedback, Motivates and engages students in higher-level communicative learning

    Platforms: Kidblog, Edublogs, Blogger, Write About

    Purposes/Uses: Discussions, Responses, Reflections, Sharing images, links, and resources, Vocabulary and grammar

    activities, Paragraph writing, Commentary, Storytelling

  • Photos and picture promptsA picture is worth a thousand words.-unknown

    The Rosetta Stone: Search by Creative Commons

    Images: Flickr

    Google Images

    Open ClipArt Library

    Pixabay: high quality photos, vectors, video

    Pics 4 Learning: Photos, search or collections *

    EduPics: Categories, B&W or color cartoons and photos *

    Free Foto: Searchable photographs

    Free Digital Photo: Search or categories

  • Digital Media and Story-tellingA strategy to practice speaking English without the stress of being on-stage

    Tell About This: somewhat elementary. Provides photos or prompts for students to talk about and record stories to narrate pictures

    Shadow Puppet Edu: organized by projects/presentations. Students can pull images from various embedded libraries and students add the narration

    Explain Everything: a bit more sophisticated but has a small cost ($5.99-$7.99). Students can manipulate images on a whiteboard and add text and narration

  • The Power of Digital ToolsStudents will need to utilize digital tools to develop college and career ready digital literacies

    Support students by introducing skills and tools into classroom instruction

    Learn with your students as necessary to model problem-solving and risk-taking

    Use whatever tools are accessible to students: Hardware including Smartphones, tablets, iPads, laptops

    Software including apps

    Internet/cloud-based resources including blogs for getting content

  • For more informationSue Domanico, Ed.D.

    EdAdvance/ EdAdvance Adult Training and Development Network (ATDN)

    355 Goshen Rd., Litchfield, CT 06756

    860-567-0863 (phone);


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