Recently, an applicant to our grant-funded ESOL certification program asked about the role of technology in the program – specifically the purpose of providing an iPad to each participant.
While educators increasingly use mobile devices to boost student engagement and learning, the visionaries of our project saw a need to increase access to student performance data and assessment tools using technology and to support data-based decision making by putting those tools at teachers’ fingertips.
Participants in the program now use their iPads to manage and leverage data using Tyler and the WIDA Can Do Descriptors. They can customize Class Dojo, a popular classroom management app, to use in formative assessments and use voice recording apps for capturing individual voices during choral response and reading, allowing learners to assess their own and others’ fluency and pronunciation.
In addition, a number of online videos and tutorials provide step-by-step instructions on creating rubrics and quizzes with Google Forms or apps such as Socrative, and apps such as Three Ring provide a way to capture and store student work.
Teachers in the program find their iPads to be useful classroom management and learning tools as well.
Two grant participants who earned ESOL certification in the project’s first cohort recently shared with us their favorite apps for supporting English learners. Using a VGA adapter and the Giant Timer app, Anne Katzfey projects a timer or stopwatch onto the large screen at the front of her room during timed activities. (Using an adapter is one of a variety of ways to project iPad content.) She also takes attendance on her iPad using the district’s Tyler system. Some of Anne’s other favorite apps include:
- BrainPOP ESL
- Thinking Blocks Addition and other Math Playground Thinking Block apps
- Adding Apples
Peggy Everist, another teacher at Anne’s school and cohort one participant, shared the following favorites:
- Common Core Standards (quickly find standards by subject, grade, and subject category)
- You Can Handle Them All (strategies for handling inappropriate behavior)
- Literacy Leveler
- Virtual Manipulatves
- Everyday Mathematics Baseball Multiplication 1-12 Facts
- Pearson’s Success Maker
- Math Splat
- Base Ten Blocks Math
- Dictionary.com Dictionary & Thesaurus
- Scholastic Book Wizard (leveler)
- Build a Word Express
- Imagine Learning
- Nozoku Rush
- Skill Game
- Math Duel
- Success Maker Speed Games
Peggy also recommended checking out the apps gone free daily posts that highlight a number of apps available free for a limited time.
Other apps and “best of” lists
Recently, New Americans teacher Zoe Kinney shared with us another resource – the 1,407+ “best of” lists of Larry Ferlazzo, author and teacher of ELLs in Sacramento. Categorized by topic, Larry’s lists include subject matter (check out his exhaustive social studies and geography lists), teacher resources, classroom practice, and tools for creating online content easily and quickly.
Grant participants and newer iPad users will enjoy Larry’s best resources for beginning iPad users, and every teacher with an iPad who serves ELLs should check out his list of best mobile apps for ELLs.
As for other technology tools and resources for teachers, Larry has been posting about the best web apps for education for the past seven years. Recently, he produced lists of the all-time best web 2.0 apps for ELLs and the best of those apps in 2014. Other articles of interest include his best blog posts for teachers of ELLs, best resources on differentiating instruction, and the best sites for learning about different cultures.
Last but not least, our Coordinator of TESL at Webster Dr. DJ Kaiser began a blog this year with a series of posts about apps for learning English pronunciation.