There are several challenges teachers run into when trying to teach ESL students such as a challenging home environment and poor literacy in their native language. Students who don’t have an English speaker in their household and live below the poverty line deal with more challenges than other students. In fact, three million children aged 5-17 do not live with an adult who speaks English very well. Some of these students also have poor literacy in their native language making it more difficult to understand English literature. Only 14 percent of schools provide ELL programs where instruction is provided both in English and the native language with a goal of English proficiency. Teachers sometimes don’t feel prepared to help ESL students, but online programs and computer software can help them supplement their curriculum. Technology in ELL classrooms can lead to higher student engagement and motivate students to learn more than worksheets and textbooks. It also makes several subjects like science easier to learn. Students will learn digital skills and have social interaction with other ELL programs. For example, teachers can use social media tools like Dave’s ESL Cafe and Edmodo. This interaction with other students helps build interpersonal skills while allowing the teacher to monitor behavior and progress. Teachers can have students present multimedia projects using PowerPoint, Microsoft Movie Maker or Apple iMovie. Presentations allow students to better express themselves and helps teachers better assess the students comprehension. Instruction software can also be useful to supplement lesson plans by creating quizzes and word and strategy games. Programs like Reading Assistant, MinecraftEDU and ESL Basics help students practice English in a fun and engaging way. To learn more about how incorporating technology into your ELL programs can help students succeed look at this infographic below from the University of Cincinnati's Online Master of Education program.
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