Top EdTech Tools and Extensions for the ELL and Special Education Classroom
Teaching in my classroom was not easy. I was made for the profession, but there were plenty of challenges. However, I was still able to manage behavior, produce an effective lesson (most days), maintain strong relationships, and look for new technology to increase engagement and productivity in the classroom. Although I was confident in my abilities, I had to do an extensive amount of research to learn how to help my English Language Learners (ELLs or ESL) as well as my students with disabilities.
I felt like any training I received was focused on the general classroom with lack of respect to those that are identified as Gifted & Talented (GT), ELL, or students with disabilities. I had to be creative enough to think of effective ways to reach all my students. This research ended up taking me hours to do; time that not many teachers have outside of the classroom. Yet, as teachers committed to helping our students succeed, going the extra mile is commonplace.
To make your lives easier, we at #iTeachDigital have created a list of tools and Chrome extensions that are loved in the classroom and help accommodate students with differing abilities. The tools vary in style and accommodation, but can be utilized in your classroom frequently to help your instruction reach all students. As always, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more resources or would like to receive information about our trainings!
Padlet Padlet does a great job for increasing access to technology for exceptional learners. If students are challenged by typing, they can use a voice recording to post. Padlet also allows users to draw, take pictures, and post videos to give students a choice in how they demonstrate learning. This is a great tool to get all students participating!
Quizizz If you’re looking for a tool to allow all students to study for exams or take a quiz, this is a go-to tool. Quizizz allows extended time for questions, the ability to take quizzes later, quiet settings (yes, you can turn the music off!), read aloud questions/answers on the iPad, and is easily viewed on a tablet or Chromebook. No need for your learners to fret about not answering a question fast enough or becoming distracted by the background music!
Flipgrid Need to engage students in speaking and listening practice? Need to practice using new vocabulary or sentence structures? Flipgrid is the tool for you! Create a topic for your students to record their personal video and practice their speaking skills. Use these for running records, vocabulary practice, and presenting in a more personable setting. Sometimes doing these activities in class in the front of the room can be scary; let them practice and become proficient first!
Nearpod This online presentation tool takes presentations to the next level. Adding in polls, drawings, and other media allows all learners to participate and engage at much higher levels. Use the drawing feature for your presentation to allow those with limited dexterity or limited English proficiency to answer in an illustration instead of having to type an answer.
EdPuzzle EdPuzzle is a video platform that allows teachers to edit videos and tailor them to what they need. Make voice notes, shorten videos, and add questions to your videos for all students to be able to access the video and engage at their level.
Epic! Get Epic is an online library filled with media materials and online texts. This library database has books in Spanish, read-aloud books, and supportive videos to help all students access literature.
Speakit! If you have difficulty reading, you may want to use Speakit to read the text to you. You will have to select the text you want read to you, but you can pause it at any time.
Readability Having trouble focusing on the article you’re reading because it has so many ads and buttons around it? Use Permanent Readability to limit what you see on your site to the only display what is necessary! This allows for limited distractions and an easier time reading online.
VoiceIn Voice Typing Use your voice to type your emails or documents! Sometimes it can be challenging to use a keyboard, so this allows any and all learners to use technology like their peers.
MoveIt This extension allows for a brain break to show on the screen. This is great for students with short attention spans and frequently need breaks in between tasks.