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Technology for ESL Teaching

by Kelly Cunningham
workshop at

ESL Ministry Conference 2011 -
Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL
April 16, 2011

Abstract- Learn to effectively apply technology in your preparation and classroom teaching. We will showcase how to use a variety of technology (primarily computers/Internet) in ESL teaching including techniques for those with limited access in the classroom, those with only one computer, as well as those with full computer lab access. A variety of possibilities will be shared as well as how to adapt the activities for a range of levels.

Technology for ESL Teaching

Level 1- No Access in the Classroom

Computer & technology access is limited to at home & creative use (bringing your laptop to class) or limited to faculty workspace only.



Teaching Theory/Research ETC- Rong-Chang
Gather teaching ideas-Teacher Resources on ITBE

Gather Input

Images - Find and print images, comics etc. for class- writing prompts & discussion/dialogues
Print to transparency or use on doc camera
Convert online video to dvd (see attached file at bottom- Technical Suggestions)

Create Materials

Worksheets/Exercises- use Excel, Word, etc
Flash Cards- Excel
Surveys- online ( Google forms, Zoomerang, Survey Monkey) or printable - Word etc.
Games- Excel
Guides for computer class times using screen shots (print screen)
Screen casts and post them online for students to show them how to do things Jing


Make attendance sheets - print, or online
Type lesson plans- print, email to sub, email to self for on phone access

Connecting Outside of Class

Chat/video chat- study sessions, questions, tutoring, study sessions/groups -
Email if no class, or students email if not coming to class

One on one- gmail chat/video chat, skype, elluminate live!
Multiple people-
gmail chat,
Elluminate V-Room - conferencing software, free 3 person room, or pay for more space- great for distance learning- consider field missionary tutoring, can pull windows/documents, chat/voice/video

Distance learning- Online & Hybrid Classes

Field Trips & Finding Access

Community Resources- PRC

Being Creative in Class

Cell phones on document cameras
Web videos on tv's etc (see attachment for converting video)
Printables to doc cam's
Print to transparency
Bringing your laptop &/or asking students to do the same
Hooking up devices to TV

Level 2: Teacher Computer in the Classroom

There is at least a single teacher computer in the classroom with a projector or a projector available with laptop hook ups or cart with a projector you can sign out.


Google Docs
Lesson plans- online digital storage of documents- can't lose them; shareable (w/subs)
Attendance- can share with admin, subs etc; always accessible
Phone/Email lists- can share w/ students to keep it up to date

Class Sites
Make a class site to organize materials, links w/students
Use in class, send to students for home reference or computer lab time
Easy Free Builders- Google Sites, WikiSpaces (links below)


Use for writing prompts/discussion/vocabulary
Find & print for individuals
Use 1 or a few for whole class
Example Sources: Google Image Search, Comics- Google Art Project

Movies- show DVD's
Online videos
Online or CD song clips- ex. Singing in the Rain for present progressive
Music Videos-
OkGo w/ passive voice (example lesson linked below)

Create Comics- see links below under 'create'
Show useful sites, student teams can demo tasks- weather,
Group projects
Rotate stations of various tasks on a theme/topic
Demo things students can use at home
Testing class understanding- clickers/ mobile clickers/ twitter feed for class discussions/question (large classes)

Index Site Variety of Activities for Teacher Computer or Computer Lab- Rong Chang Li

Level 3:Full Class Access- Computer labs etc.

Task Based-

Useful sites
Show everyday tasks & Life Skills
(for details & sample lesson plans, sites & downloads see Fall Workshop 2009)

Problem Solving/ Life Skills/ Task Based- weather, car buying, job search,
Life Skills, Conversation- maps/directions, street view
Writing/ Discussion/ Directions- google art project
Writing: imdb - movie reviews, summaries

Input- Multimedia

Ted- a vast variety of talks appropriate mostly for higher level students
Elllo - intermediate level ESL/English interview etc videos some w/ transcripts & questions - collect sets of themed interviews for a lesson, or see my lesson sample for indirect speech/questions grammar
My Example Lesson- OkGo music video for passive voice
Videos/music videos/commercials
Google art project
Comics - use as discussion or writing prompts or for grammar- My Sample Reported Speech Lesson


Blogs- class blog, new student guide, active newsletter, portfolios
Wikis- Wiki Spaces- higher ed free , K-12 Free
Comics- ReadThinkWrite Comic Creator , Strip Creator, - MakeBeliefs
Goanimate - create, save & share animations
Crossword & other puzzles (see links above)- vocab, grammar & test review
Google Earth
Google Educator Tools
Microsoft Photo Story- build interactive stories w/ pictures & sound
Great list of innovative language sites from @NikPeachey

Basic computer skills-

Typing- keyboarding lesson, keyboard printable
Accessing content
Safe Use


Use screen shot and or screen casts guides when possible
Test instructions carefully
Find the ways students will get hung up
Run through sample exercises w/ whole class
Let students work in pairs
Give at least one task to individuals that all get a  chance to try
For more tips see Life-skills Online: Authentic Tasks for Adult Learners

Other Technology Use

Flip cameras/video camera/cell of digital camera with video function-

Use- record in class
plays, skits, commercials, pronunciation, dialogues, student projects

1: at home only- create dvd at home to play in class, show on tiny screen in class
2: single computer- play and show on class computer, review skills taught and progress
3: computer lab- students edit and share on their own and play for the class

Voice Recorders-

Use - record in class
Pronunciation, TOEFL test practice, speaking, conversations- especially phone practice
Students grade each others work,  practice listening, practice hearing own voice

1: at home only- convert to cd /mp3 play on CD/MP3 player, play directly from the voice recorder in class for students, record listening sections of tests, post recordings of new vocab to class site for at home practice
2: single computer- play back for class, groups take turns recording?
3: computer lab- if multiple recorders or computer mics available, group of individual or pair work recording, possibly listening, editing or sharing, try voice overs for video or slide show or movie clips

Cameras/Cell Phones-

Use- anything involving pictures or video
student write and take pictures of the community or campus
self or partner portraits
pictures of things they like
take pictures for writing or speaking inspiration
combine with other techniques

at home only- put on dvd for in class showing
single computer- post to website or show in class on computer
computer lab- students utilize, create and share content actively in class, writing about, speaking about and sharing pictures- possibly group blog, wiki, website or privately within course etc.

CellPhone/Mobile Aps-

Flash cards