Tips for Teaching with Technology, ESL
“Language is not a genetic gift, it is a social gift.”- Frank Smith
For over two decades I've taught English language learners from the ages of 2 to 90 in over 20 countries. I've seen how technology motivates learners of all ages to find their voice, connect with language learners around the world, and have access to knowledge and resources in multiple languages. I've taught in really poor areas where sometimes the electricity didn't work. I've also taught refugees who came to class in the same clothes everyday. In all cases technology helped them improve their language skills, because it offered them ways to practice English outside the classroom in ways that engaged them. Not all students have access to the best technology, but the majority can and will find ways to use technology and connect with others on the Internet. Poor students often carry around cheap cell phones or access the Internet through a library or Internet cafe. As technology becomes more accessible we need to continue to find meaningful ways for our language learners to use it. Below are tons of resources, posts, ideas and recommended free web tools and apps to get you started. I also invite you to join my Free Friday Webinars with American TESOL at 4pmET/9pmUTC. In case you can't make that time, you can always access over 100 of the past webinar recordings here. I am also the Social Media Manager for American TESOL and I regularly share resources on our Twitter accounts, @TESOL, @AmericanTESOL, and @ESLWebinars.
Ask me about training your ESL teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com! I've trained teachers in over 20 countries and consulted with ministries of education on their ESL programs. You can also request my services as an ESL Specialist for the US Embassy.
- Familiarize yourself with the pedagogy and skills needed.
- You’ll find resources on Connectivism, SAMR, Digital Blooms, and Peeragogy in these bookmarks.
- Choose the right tool for the job! Edshelf and Graphite are tool and app search engines for teachers.
- Be a connected educator. Check out my Survival Tips for Building a PLN!
- Hashtags help students and you find the most relevant and updated resources in any field and build a Professional/Passionate Learning Network. Check out my Ultimate Hashtag Guide for English Language Teachers and my clickable Edhashtags page!
- Rewordify helps students transform difficult to read texts into simpler words and also helps them define the words they don’t know.
- Show students how to write better essays with the Hemingwayapp.
- Find several emoji activities here.
- Get students to create digital several comics. Find comic activities and web tools here.
- Correct the grammar in Tweets. Find celebrity tweets pdf here. Find other Twitter ESL activities here.
- Find tons of ESL reading activities here.
- Ge students to write reviews for sites like Trip Advisor or Yelp. Find a lesson plan here, here, and here.
- Find tons of resources for CLIL here and teaching English language learners with mobile devices here.
- Get students to use digital tools to create interactive mindmaps, multimedia presentations, digital stories, comics, games, blogs, scavenger hunts, videos, podcasts, digital fliers, posters, infographics, and more!
- Let a VLE/LMS do the work for you.
- Create a community with digital icebreakers. Find a list of digital icebreakers I’ve created and a presentation!
- Check the technology again right before the lesson. Try to check it at least 30 minutes prior to the lesson.
- When the technology doesn’t work try the following: shut it down, unplug it, reboot it, Google the problem, or ask students for help.
- Get parents on board with these parent resources.
Recent ESL & Technology Posts
- Inspire Meaningful Writing Practice through Digital Scrapbooking
- How to Spark Dynamic Discussions Outside the Classroom! 10 Web Tools & Apps
- Critical Reading with Digital Devices! 18 Resources & Web Tools
- 9 Ways to Use Snapchat to Teach Language Learners
- Let’s Learn Each Other’s Names
- Let’s Learn the Alphabet Digitally! 15 Fun Websites & Apps
- Top Tips for Presenting at ELT Conferences
- Get Students to Visualize Research in a Digital Poster
- Extra! Extra! 16 Web Tools & Apps for Kids to Learn with the News
- Play and Learn! Game-Based Language Learning for Kids
- Film It! Tips for Getting Children to Be Directors
- Ways Learners Can Improve Their English with Technology