Discussion: How Can Technology Be Used in Adult ESL?

Click here to return to ESL page.


Participants who responded to this PD activity include:

  • Mike Rea, Lewistown

  • Katya Marandino Irish


Write a brief summary or overview of the reading:

-         This chapter covers using computer technology to acquire language.  It explains how students can learn language and technology through the use of email and other computer programs.  For example, students can use Word for creating portfolios and use the Internet to interact with others, which are activities that will require more language interaction and develop stronger language skills. 

-         It is an interesting chapter because per pass on the opportunities and challenges that more recently developed technologies can offer the multilevel teacher. It gives good examples of the use of technology in different applications and possibilities of expansion of those applications for multilevel classes.

What was the most interesting part of the reading for you?

-         One of the most interesting parts explained about evaluating websites for validity.  For example, students can learn the difference between .com, .org, .edu, .gov., etc.  so that they can verify whether the websites are valid.  Another interesting part was using the computer to introduce games students can use to increase their ability to communicate.  Even students who speak the English language, but are hesitant to write, can use games to develop their skills.

-         The most interesting part is the idea of using technology to expand the walls of the classroom so the students are introduced to people and places they could not otherwise meet. Using technology in projects to develop Communication, Cooperation and Integration.

How might what you read influence your instructional practice?

-         We learn how to use it, but we need to realize it isnít the only thing.  Instructors cannot rely solely on the computer as an educational tool.  Instructors will also need to use other forms of instruction at times.  One positive influence is that students can use programs like Publisher to create posters, etc. using the English language they are learning.   

-         It has been my experience that technology broadens the opportunity for teaching in context and for learning in an active way. I use technology in many forms: calculators, word processing programs, educational software, and Internet-based resources.

What benefits may result from this influence?

-         One of the main benefits is that students will learn to use technology while they are learning language.  Thus, students should become more comfortable with technology, while at the same time, they learn the language.  Another benefit is that it can allow students to learn independently.  Last, it provides an opportunity for the students to be creative with their technology and their new language acquisition.

-         As I said technology is an important tool in my classes, the book is again an inspiration for me to keep using technology to expand the walls in my classroom.

What challenges might arise?

-         Instructors and students could come to rely too much on computers to learn language.  Computers are good at allowing students to develop reading and writing skills; however, students still need to incorporate speaking and listening, in order to develop those skills as well.

-         When we use technology in our classes we are exposed to challenges every day. Machines are susceptive to problems all the time, and we have to be prepared to change the course of our classes to overcome them.

What would you like to study further?

-         I am interested in learning how to use other kinds of technology, like iPods and MP3 players, to assist ESL students.  There are sites that allow language instruction programs to be downloaded onto iPods or MP3 players so that students can listen to and study the language independently.  Some states such as Tennessee already do this and have found it to be very successful.