Update – February 2012
I hope everyone is out there doing their best to service their ELL students.
Here are a few more technology solutions to help you out and that I’ve made great use of for the past few years:
1. Prezi – an excellent alternative to PowerPoint. The great thing about this is that is universally available. No need to worry about PowerPoint version compatibility with school computers or whether it is installed in the first place. Prezi can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection. Plus, students can work on the Prezi as a group from their own homes at the same time. Prezi also automatically enhances the presentation with effects. Plus, YouTube videos can be easily embedded within the Prezi — not all work. It depends on the protection mechanism used.
A great way to use Prezi is to limit text or actually don’t allow it. That way the students don’t just read off of the screen, they truly have to know their topic.
2. Edmodo – Sort of like a Facebook for school, except you can fully monitor what gets posted and who gets to see it. This can be used as a class site for student interaction, post homework and assignments, allow students to submit work there, award special badges, create online quizzes, etc.
3. Inspiration Software – a great way to create class notes together or pre-make them in a graphic organizer format. You can pick your style if graphic organizer, discuss points as a class and create, and you can convert that organizer into regular paragraph or point form notes with a click of a few buttons.
4. WordQ and SpeakQ – the programs will definitely be helpful for your beginner ELL students. SpeakQ has a number of exercises so that students can speak into a microphone and attempt to properly read and pronounce the posted text. WordQ can be run in the background to assist students with word use, spelling, as they surf the web or type documents.
5. iPhone Apps – there are various language translation apps to help students translate any words they have difficulty with. Quick and on the spot. Just make sure they are not using to phone to text each other, etc.