Education Solutions: integrating technology into the English language learner classroom
Technology is everywhere! We must think about how to support students in using technology wisely. It is important to integrate technology into the English Language Learner classroom, as a support to the curriculum the teacher is using. Students must have the computer skills to be successful in the workforce. These skills include a basic understanding of how to use a computer, navigate the internet, utilize web apps, and practice good netiquette skills.
Think about how to support the use of technology with adult education students to help utilize technology in their learning and in a future job. Think about the technology skills required of the students to get a job, sustain employment, and be eligible for promotions within the workforce. Speak with local companies, to survey the needs of the workforce in the area. Then, create lessons to support students in learning these skills, so that they can apply them directly to the workforce. Set the students up for success.
Tips for a seamless technology integration into the classroom:
- Build technology skills within lesson planning. Create a technology section within the lesson plan so that it becomes a regular part of planning.
- Identify the needs of students, and the skills needed to be successful within the workforce. Teach skills needed within the workforce, so students are more prepared, and can master the skills within the classroom environment, where the teacher can provide support. Provide instruction based on students’ responses.
- Check out The Learn to Earn Toolkit! It is a free online resource for English language learners at the intermediate and advanced levels. It provides free articles, videos, quizzes, and even badges for students to work their way through the course. Instructor accounts are available, so that the teachers can track student progress, and provide support.
- Practice parallel talk when utilizing technology in the classroom. When utilizing any technology, talk about the process, while completing the action. Have students walk through the process, and understand terminology for how to use computer vocabulary in context. For example, work with students to understand how to: start the computer, log into the computer, log into software programs, find resources on the internet, and how to make a copy of a document. It is natural to quickly get the classroom set-up before class. However, utilize this time as a learning opportunity for students to get comfortable with using a computer.
- Make it fun. Use games within the classroom. Incentivize activities to increase involvement and engagement. Integrate interactive resources that are at the student’s level, with content that is related to the students’ needs as well. Take advantage of review games, create a contest. Use games, fill-in-the-blank activities, and vocabulary quizzes to make learning fun.
- Give opportunities for students to utilize tools, and make mistakes, so that the teacher can provide the support needed to build their confidence within the classroom. Building confidence in the classroom will lead students to confidence in their applied skills in the workforce.
- Be optimistic. Technology is great when it works. When troubleshooting with devices, show resilience in working to solve a problem. Plan and practice before using it in the classroom. Have a backup plan. Use positive language when working with students to integrate technology. Show that you can work through troubleshooting the computers, so that the students will have the confidence to be successful when using technology as well. Set-up students for success.
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