Learning Resources

ED Releases Ed Tech Toolkits for English Learners

The U.S. Department of Education has developed two toolkits for educators and developers on how to use educational technology to instruct English language learning students.

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A report from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology found approximately 10 percent of all public school students and roughly three-fourths of public school districts have students who are English language learners. To help educators and developers prepare content for these students, the department recently released two toolkits that provide suggestions and resources on utilizing technology-based resources to help learners gain proficiency in English.

The toolkits are based on the findings from the National Study of English Learners and Digital Learning Resources, conducted by ED's Policy and Program Studies Service. The study is a nationally representative survey of districts and teachers conducted in the 2016-2017 school year; it includes six case studies.

The toolkits focus on five guiding principles:

  1. Understand what educational technology offers for instructing English learners;
  2. Discover the types of educational technology available;
  3. Maximize the supports that educational technology offers English learners;
  4. Seek out hands-on, instruction-focused professional development; and
  5. Learn more about English learners and educational technology.

Included are details for each of the principles on what educators should know, actions to take, questions to ask teachers and administrators, and links to resources.

"This toolkit provides important resources for educators and educational technology developers alike who are eager to serve the unique needs of our nation's EL students," said Jose A. Viana, assistant deputy secretary and director of the Office of English Language Acquisition. "And since many districts now require that supports for English learner students be available in any educational technology they purchase, this study and the information it provides is very timely."

The full toolkits can be accessed here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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