Technology for ESL

Assistive Technology Tools for ESL Students
By:Michael Adkins

English as a Second Language (ESL) students in English-language classrooms and enrolling in English-language-based programs have increased by 109 percent since 1985. Only 31 percent of educators have ESL certification; therefore there is a growing need for assistive technology for teaching and communicating effectively with ESL students.

Web Assistance
A free website is usingenglish.com, offering resources for educators and students. The site provides ESL practice tests, grammar exercises, articles, a grammar usage dictionary and forums for ESL students to share experiences with one another. For instructors, the site offers scholarly articles on instructing ESL students, rubrics and assignment suggestions, lesson plans and worksheets, and information on Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) and programs for certification.

Starfall
Starfall is a free online public service that offers programs for all levels and ages of ESL students. Starfall uses phonetic systems in connection with phonemic awareness practice for language mastery. Starfall offers links and downloads for students, parents and teachers.

Software
Software programs such as Rosetta Stone help students and teachers acquire basic language communication skills quickly. Screen reading software is available that will read the material aloud to the student which helps him to understand and comprehend the material more effectively and at his own pace. This type of software allows the student to reread and hear instructions or commands as many times as he wishes. Some screen reading programs used in educational facilities are WYNN 3.0 and Kurzweil 3000.






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