No boundaries: Using iPads to reach English Language Learners

Tis afternoon I attended a session by Lisa Estrada, Program Coordinator, and Heather Parris-Fitzpatrick, Program Specialist with Nassau, BOCES. The discussion focused on the use of iPads for ESL students.

Essential questions:

–How can educational apps strengthen and support critical thinking?
–How can digital media remove boundaries and promote achievement for ELLs?
–How can distance learning expand horizons for All students?

To answer these questions, the presenters stress their love of the iPad because it provides multimedia support, accessibility, portability, multiple modalities for learning, and that the device addresses all language skills.

iBooks was a key component of their program as they feel that it promotes critical thinking through its features:

Google and Wikipedia access

For designing curriculum for ELL and ESL students, presenters suggested resources which can be found in iTunes U. This iPad/iPod/iPhone resource provides a wealth of ESL/ELL material in the form of podcasts and vodcasts which can be downloaded as full courseware for free.

The focus of the session focused heavily on iBooks, but I must point out what some of the attendees brought up. The accessibility features of the keyboard allow users to type in their native language. As well, the standard keyboard will allow you to add special characters to your documents by pressing and holding any letter

The presenters also pointed out that critical thinking can be enhanced through use of apps such as:

ebook readers
Graphic organizers
Test prep
Subject specific apps

A list of suggestions is found on their site:

They also are big fans of one of my favorite apps, Explain Everything!.

Tis app can be used to record audio, screenshots, and screencasts along with notes, edits, and graphics. Once your video explanation is complete, it can be uploaded to the web for student viewing. This app is one of my favorites (said that already) and one I’ll be covering in our Flipping the Classroom class in July!

Other apps they recommend include:

Notability – allows students to take finger written notes, or audio notes.

Photo card – allows students to write on a photo. Great for creating postcards, or even flash cards.

iTranslate – free app.

Polycom- app that allows you to connect from iPad to anyone with polycom video conferencing system.

Popplet– good For creating concept maps and charts.

For more information and tips on teaching ESL/ELL students using technology, visit

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:ISTE 2012, San Diego

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