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Texas ISD School Guide
Texas ISD School Guide

Technology for ESL

Effective Uses of Information Communications Technology in Teaching
By:Shelley Gray

Today's teachers are generally expected to utilize some form of Information Communication Technology in regular teaching practice. The use of ICT in the classroom can create innovative teaching opportunities for student-centered learning. However, it is easy to get caught up in the "hype" of technology and use it non-effectively simply for the sake of using it. There are ways to effectively use ICT that you should consider when teaching today's computer-literate generation.

Assessment Tracking
Assessment is one of the most important aspects of teaching. Through assessment, a teacher can gain insight into what the student already knows, what needs to be taught and whether information retention is optimal. ICT can make assessment more efficient, as you can track information on a spreadsheet or other assessment program. It is helpful to have one electronic file for each student where you can track skills and make notes of any communication with parents. Using ICT for assessment eliminates the need to have a large binder stuffed with student samples and records of assessment. Instead, you can scan and save items in the students' electronic file for future reference.

Morning Meetings
Morning Meetings are common in elementary and middle years classrooms. A morning meeting serves as a sharing time at the beginning of the day where you can practice new skills. An interactive whiteboard is an ideal technological tool for a morning meeting, as students can gather around in a circle and the teacher can use it as a teaching tool during the morning activities.

Virtual Field Trips
Even if a classroom lacks an interactive whiteboard, a teacher can still use a projector or classroom computer to take students on a virtual field trip. When studying about foreign countries, find colorful pictures and video of the location to show students. Consider setting up the classroom like an airplane or bus, and taking the students on a "tour" of the country.

In an environment where technology is being increasingly used by students, teacher modeling is crucial. A projector hooked up to the teacher's computer is a useful piece of technology to have in the classroom to make modeling more effective. As students sit in their desk, the teacher can use the projector to model how to use a search engine to find information, how to format a written document or how to create a slide show.

Differentiated Programming
Teachers know how important it is to differentiate their teaching so that every student can reach his full potential. However, in a classroom where abilities may span several grade levels, this can be difficult. Online programs, such as those used for reading, can be beneficial for differentiation. Students can read books at their own levels, answer comprehension questions and complete higher-order-thinking activities. Although a teacher should not rely solely on an online program to teach reading, it can be a useful tool to support an existing guided reading program.

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