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Teaching English Language Learners via Technology

Marquetta Strait

Purdue University
Dr. Lewandowski
EDCI-513-Foundations of Learning Design and Technology
Final Draft of Literature Review
December 04, 2014

“Are all students being reached. and if not. . many researchers have conducted studies on teaching and learning through technology. how can these students be assisted?” The focus of this literature review is to discuss strategies to assist English Language Learners via technological opportunities and exploring ways that educators can become stronger in implementing these tools in the classroom. educators cannot help but question. and interdisciplinary. Strait|2 Abstract: Teaching English Language Learners via Technology As the field of education continues to become more student-centered. which could make it more challenging for them. Often. Some of the most challenging subjects for ESOLs are English and Social Studies. students are able to take on more roles such as an explorer or producer. beneficial. In addition to this. Through this pillar. many times these students’ parents do not read or speak English.Teaching ELLs Via Technology M. Some of the major pillars of the International Society of Technology Education Standards (ISTE) are the promotion of students’ creativity and designing student-centered projects. To intervene. English Language Learners are presented with many obstacles while learning in the United States. It is a given that English may be a stumbling block for ESOLs because they are perhaps from non-native English speaking countries. which allow educators to assess students in a variety of ways versus a test or a quiz.

Knowing this.Teaching ELLs Via Technology M.al (2014) refers to these students in this generation as “digital natives”. Sylven and Sundqvist’s (2012) study found the following: In order to be able to play these games. The whole premise of video games is finding more strategies to obtain achievement. and jumping across large bodies of water. speeding down roads all over the world.303-304). Horowitz discusses in his article that the English language has been taught in Puerto Rico’s public schools for more than a century. (pgs.” They have limitless technological tools at their fingertips. therefore. Video games are commonly viewed as a way to allow children to have fun while fighting. which are learners that have grown up in a society with learning preferences. Professor Kenneth Horowitz saw the need to incorporate video games as an alternative tool for ESL students in Puerto Rico’s public schools (2013). but they are experiencing challenges increasing the level of proficiency. it is not a far-fetched hypothesis that successful and frequent players of such games who do not have English as their mother tongue acquire some of their English L2 proficiency in the activity of gaming. especially for English Language Learners. “These students have been born into a technology-driven society. and I-pads. Sylven and Sundquvist (2012) believe that playing video games allows users to take on new roles and travel to unfamiliar territories while learning a new foreign language. Strait|3 English Language Learners Learning Through Video Games A common statement that is made about 21st Century students is. The . such as a high demand of technology. such as cell phones. computers. One of the most popular ways that technology finds itself in a child’s possession is through video games. and. Wang et. the L2 linguistic input must be understood. but it also has educational purposes.

but after the bell strikes for the end of the school day. “Combined with a disconnect at the governmental and educational levels. Through the use of video games. According to Horowitz (2013). they are not applying their new knowledge of English. and they lose. The same is true with students when it comes to learning and playing video games. Horowitz provides an effective way to incorporate technology in the classroom. The findings of Horowitz’s study (2013) shows that video games can allow students to sharpen their skills and provide information in more authentic contexts. Strait|4 students have been learning the English language. In other words.7) . when someone plays a game. ESL students can become more motivated to learning necessary skills. but this is still an ongoing study. video games also take on the form of student-centered instruction. they enter a community that speaks their native language. . It allows students to build comprehension and achieve competency at their own pace.Teaching ELLs Via Technology M. students are more likely to become more intrinsically motivated in learning because they would be encouraging themselves to learn versus a teacher making a required assignment. In addition. Some of the factors that may pose as drawbacks to incorporating video games as learning tools in his study are a lack of technology in the classroom. have resulted in an island population that not only does not speak English but sees the language as little more than a tool for employment” (p. and the students’ thoughts on combining learning and what is considered to be a form of pleasure. such as counting money and proper grammar. they do everything in their might to do better the next time around. the island’s lack of Internet access. For example. Therefore.

edited on iMovies. but still needed to become more proficient in utilizing word processors. Through the use of iPods and iPads. diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They then demonstrated their prior knowledge by opening the word processor within 30 seconds. The goal of their study was to teach students how to utilize the spell check function using a video tutorial that was provided on their iPads. 2012). Dan. (2012). The focus of the videos was to show the students the process of spell checking words. They were provided a word bank and demonstrated their skills of typing the words .al (2012).al.. According to Kagohara et. whom was also diagnosed with AS and ADHD. enjoyed reading and had a good sense of vocabulary. The benefits of using the video tutorials were the students’ increased autonomy and the lessening of adult assistance (Kagohara et. “Students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) find themselves struggling with the high demands of the regular classroom and therefore require additional assistance or different arrangements to enable them to successfully complete school work” (p. One of the students. used a word processor to complete his homework assignment. students were provided video models to provide tutorials to students. but failed to use the spell check to ensure the correct spelling of the words (Kagohara et al. they can also assist students that are in Special Education courses. Jane.Teaching ELLs Via Technology M. To conduct the study. 2012). the second student. examined students that had been diagnosed with autism. Strait|5 Technological Opportunities for ELLs with Learning Disabilities Not only can technology aid students in mainstream classes. both students watched video tutorials that was recorded on an iPhone. and loaded on an iPad. 304). which is a disorder that can affect the brain’s normal development.al. Kagohara et.

The students were provided an introduction to the PDA and an introduction to the EMLS in the classroom.Teaching ELLs Via Technology M. Strait|6 and ensuring their correct spelling. they could always replay the video if they did not comprehend the concept initially. The e-book was to be read through the MeReader software. The students used the EMLS to study English using an e-book called Mebook of Studio Classroom. if a student is learning how to build a circuit. The research study involved 158 students from a technical college in Taiwan. There was a questionnaire provided . ELLs appreciate these types of resources because. videos. This is just another example of ELLs having more opportunities and control in their learning. and hands-on activities. This is a great example of teachers reaching students that are kinesthetic and spatial learners. it may be helpful for a teacher to provide a tutorial for the student and circuit materials for the student to follow the process. These types of learners appreciate images. The target of this study was to determine whether the students were intrinsically or extrinsically motivated to learn English. PDA was installed with Windows mobile 6 and included Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. both students improved greatly on their skill of conducting spell check while utilizing a word processor after continuous practice. For example. ELLs Learning Through EMLs Chang et. The students were engaged in using the EMLS for four weeks in any location. This is a great alternative to the traditional lecture because it is not as if the students can grab a remote control and rewind the teacher.al’s article (2013) discusses the impact of English mobile learning systems (EMLS) on college students whom were learning English. in this situation. The teacher could use resources such as SnagIt to provide audio and demonstrations to add emphasis to the concept that is being taught. In the end.

students are posing the question. perceived ease of use. Through this research. “Why do I have to learn this information?” Just as this study showed. Depending on its delivery. it can be noted that. especially those with visuals. Through this study. and perceived convenience. ELLs appreciate stories. perceived playfulness. ESLs are aware that they need to comprehend the English language to transition to the United States or working in an environment where English is predominately spoken. Based on their research (Chang et. even college students are able to learn and apply their English capabilities through technology. it can keep students engaged and allow them to relate to the context provided. the problem is solved at the end. and two information technology experts to confirm that questions were clear and clearly translated. The problem is that they need more opportunities to apply these skills. They also wanted to discover which point greatly affected continuance intention. and somehow.Teaching ELLs Via Technology M. perceived ease of use. Although.al. Strait|7 at the end of their four week period. perceived usefulness had the most impact on the students’ need to continue learning English with the accompaniment of EMLS. Researchers used these four points to determine how they were related or interrelated. . Teaching through Digital Storytelling Storytelling is a traditional approach to getting students to comprehend large content. perceived playfulness. while learning. because they are introduced to characters. Based on this study. 2013). provided a problem. five college students. and perceived usefulness. there were four main points: perceived convenience. The measurements were reviewed by two English teachers. The following is the order of the points based on research: perceived usefulness.

productive. 2012). he discusses the importance of motivating ELLs through digital storytelling. The main focus of this study was to assess the students’ improvement in their reading abilities and assess the students’ attitudes to engaging in digital storytelling activities opposed to the traditional reading by their teacher. appealing. digital storytelling can be an alternative for students. In Tecnam Yoon’s article (2012). students gather around the teacher as he or she reads from a big book. if a teacher has been discussing the life cycle of a butterfly. the students could create a creative piece to demonstrate their knowledge of a butterfly’s life cycle.Teaching ELLs Via Technology M. meaningful. music. authentic. Although educators can utilize digital stories in their classrooms to teach. To actually test this theory. and lastly. organized. motivating. Yoon’s (2012) acronym ‘I AM TOP CAMP’ highlights the top ten principles that encourage teachers to consider using digital storytelling in their classrooms. Strait|8 traditionally. technological. they can also become more curious of technological capabilities. Yoon (2012) contends that digital storytelling can be a great vehicle for increasing language performance because it appeals to students. For example. 2012). Digital storytelling usually includes narration. The research . which are: interactive. students can also create digital stories to assess their comprehension of taught concepts. text. In addition to this. Yoon conducted a study in Korea for 12 weeks with 32 elementary students in the fifth grade (Yoon. What is interesting about digital storytelling being shown in a classroom is that students can gain a better perspective of a story and. 2012). in return. personalized (Yoon. and audio to provide a fundamental experience for its readers. which keeps them engaged (Yoon. collaborative.

In the end. 2012). To assess the students’ abilities. 2012). he was also increasing his oral proficiency by describing and explaining the purpose of his digital story. decided to create a photostory of her transition from China to Charleston. the students greatly appreciated the format of the digital stories. and that it provided a more pleasant and entertaining experience (Yoon. they had more confidence in learning English. seven year old Diego (Mexican-American) and sixteen year old Allie (Chinese) create digital stories based on their interests. (Skinner & Hagood.al saw the impact of digital storytelling on learners and contends that digital stories allow students to connect their cultural identities and foundational literacies (Skinner & Hagood. on the other hand. unbeknownst to him.” Allie. In addition. 2008). In regards to the students’ attitudes.Teaching ELLs Via Technology M. text. Similarly. Skinner and Hagood mentions in their article. Through Hagood and Skinner’s study. Strait|9 also investigated the impact of their improvements. They strongly agreed that this format made them feel more engaged in the story’s context. 2008). such as Korean students being taught the English language and the basics of a computer as a requirement in the third grade (Yoon. 2008). She compiled a variety of music. . Therefore. the students were provided a questionnaire and self-evaluation with a 1-5 Likert scale to assess their attitudes to this new technique (Yoon. they had two students. there were significant changes in the comprehension of digital stories versus stories that are presented in a traditional fashion. Although Diego was so engaged in creating his digital story. the students were provided a pre and post assessment to determine the changes due to digital storytelling. South Carolina. “Allowing--even encouraging--students to draw upon their knowledge of popular culture as they construct texts in school can be an empowering method for validating their socio-cultural identities (Skinner & Hagood. Diego was fascinated with Spiderman and used his form of entertainment to create a visual for others that were unfamiliar with Spiderman’s noble acts. 2012). Skinner et.

digital natives are learners that have grown up in a society with learning preferences that heavily incorporates . Seemingly as the students are referred to as “digital natives”. Allie’s photostory can be an example of students pondering on their interactions and emotions from the past. The visuals can help simplify those more challenging texts and content. teachers and students can use video software.al (2010). This can showcase the students’ progression from the time they entered American schools until the time they complete their high school education. the teachers must be willing to incorporate this form of technology as meaningful and as much as possible. “After students become more confident and committed in their storytelling process. Reasons Why Many Educators Avoid Incorporating Technology Although teachers and students are provided technological opportunities tools in their classrooms. she was still able to complete her photostory in excellence. Also. such as Windows Movie Maker. Although Allie had to transition from being raised in China to living in the United States. Strait|10 a narrative. and images that would appropriately convey her relocation process. According to Ramist et. students will be able to generate new insights related to media production as a vehicle of engagement with cultural identity work through producing short videos to create new stories.” (Wang et. iMovie. and Camtasia.” (282) To achieve these objectives.Teaching ELLs Via Technology M. Digital stories can notably provide students an outlet for being creative and relating the content to their self-interests.al 2014) As stated earlier. English Language Learners could use this as an artifact for their portfolio. depending on how digital stories are assigned. educators are referred to as “digital immigrants.

. They are merely using these devices as a way to project their information and not as an interactive and engaging tool for students. he mentions that many teachers have not received a computer-related technologies in their own educational environment and lack digital skills or do not see the pertinence of instructional technology (Asan. more school officials are encouraging educators to increase their comprehensibility in instructional technology. 2012).al 2014) One of the many known variables in whether or not technology is implemented in the classroom is the teachers’ resistance to change. They see the purpose and the essentialness of the devices. Gilakjani notes Judson’s study on the correlation between teachers and their views on instruction by stating that. Strait|11 technology. In Asan’s article that focuses on teachers’ computer technology awareness. this does not mean that they are using this device to its best potential. E. Becoming More Confident in Classroom Technology As the increase of technological opportunities increase in the school systems in an effort to close the achievement gap. 2003). (Wang et. Similarly. but since the teachers are the ones in the classrooms educating the students on how to be lifetime learners. they need the educators to be equipped.Teaching ELLs Via Technology M. “Teachers with more traditional beliefs will implement more traditional or “low-level” technology uses. whereas teachers with more constructivist beliefs will implement more student-centered or “high-level” technology uses (Judson. whereas digital immigrants is the generation born before the new technology. Even if they did use the interactive white boards. It is evident that educators whom did not receive or feel the impact of technology in their education feel withdrawn from the thought of incorporating in their classrooms. 2006. Gilakjani.

but they should do so on a trial basis whereas. In addition. In other words. 2012). too easy. Learning . Gilakjani notes Lam’s study on increasing teacher’s confidence on technology by stating. but they are also being taught how versatile the technology can be and ways that they can be implemented in the classroom to assist all learners. too complex. look for advantages and disadvantages of the application. and take into consideration their learners’ styles of learning. iPods. computers. teachers should develop some type of learning community with other teachers that are using these new devices so that they may discuss more innovative ways to motivate and teach their concepts to their learners. or if the students were not focused because of an exciting school event. educators should be given time to explore the features of this application. even if the first time seems like it does not go well. They must consider whether the students had the most challenges because this was a new program. 1998). teachers should try to introduce new technological opportunities more than once. This could be an interactive white board. more confident teachers use technology as an instructional tool to enhance students’ learning (Lam. educators are not only being taught how the items work and how they would impact students’ learning. they test the program on their students on different days. “Howard Mehlinger estimates that it takes forty-five or more hours of training and three months of experience before a teacher moves from entry-level use to the adaptation stage and the discovery of the potential in a variety of applications” (Stone. etc. For example. Strait|12 One way that teachers are becoming better equipped for the 21st Century learners is by attending required trainings that introduces or reviews instructional technology that is in the classroom. microphones. Not only should they implement this program in their classroom. if educators are being introduced to a new application on iPads that will assist students. Through ample trainings. “Instead of using computers for drill and practice. Gilakjani. 2000. iPads.Teaching ELLs Via Technology M.

or make accommodations for students that have disabilities. whereas the students are able to learn at their own pace. They are able to create or find tutorials. Strait|13 communities provide teachers the opportunity to gather and discuss what is working and not working in their classrooms. teachers are also able to become more creative in their delivery for teaching concepts that many students find challenging. As research continues to increase in instructional technology. by teaching English Language Learners via technology. The students are also able to take on the role as producers by creating their own work to showcase their knowledge to others. . digital stories. so that educators can prepare their students for the real-world. It is essential for educators to increase students’ motivation to want to learn more intrinsically.Teaching ELLs Via Technology M. technology allows instruction to shift from direct instruction to a more student-centered instruction. In addition to this. Conclusion In conclusion. Through the previously stated articles. implementation. By educators becoming more competent in instructional technology and the many opportunities technology can provide in and outside of the classroom. Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich (2010) article states. students will become more motivated to learn.260). “Teaching with technology requires teachers to expand their knowledge of pedagogical practices across multiple aspects of the planning. and evaluation processes” (p. it is important for school systems to become more knowledgeable of new and effective strategies in order to prepare educators for their students. students will be provided more engaging activities that allow students to relate to newly taught concepts. Overall.

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Teaching ELLs Via Technology M. doi: 10. . Are you digitized? Ways to provide motivation for ELLs using digital storytelling. 2(1). Association for Educational Communications and Technology. 62(6). 25-34. 637-662.1007/s11423-014-9355-4 Yoon. International Journal of Research Studies in Educational Technology. Strait|15 teachers. T. (2012).