On the first day of class, some teachers go through their syllabus with their students. Others may do some activities to get to know who they will be teaching for the semester. In addition, others may actually get their students started on the course textbook. And some teachers, like me, get their students working on computers in the classroom. I like getting my students into computers from the beginning of the semester because I want them to know that this is an expectation in my class. I want them to know that I expect them to use the computer as a way to learn in my class. It is my way of utilizing classroom technology with my ESL students that I think is important. ESL students should be encouraged to earn how to use classroom technology. Classroom technology can help students in having more opportunities to demonstrate their learning to their teachers, and it can provide a strong foundation to build on for the academic and career paths.
When ESL students are taught to use computers in their classes, they have more ways to learn material. They are not limited by their teachers, classmates, or themselves when they get to use computers for their coursework. For example, teachers may place information on Blackboard to help students prepare for classes. There could be PowerPoint presentations, videos, or even links to websites that the teacher has posted to help students understand what will be discussed next class. Students can access this information at any time and any place. They could even review it after they have learned about the subject in class. Teachers may use discussion boards or journals to get students to elaborate on what they have been working on in class. Sometimes when I have students write on discussion boards, I find that I am able to get more participation from all of my students there than in my classroom, especially when it is regarding a topic that the students feel strongly about.
Giving ESL students the tools to use classroom technology not only prepares them for other classes in undergraduate and even graduate work, but it also helps them in their future careers. Having students do presentations that require electronic visual aids can help students become more comfortable with speaking to the public. Students have a variety of choices to select from many modes to deliver their presentations today. They can create a Prezi presentation, post a video to YouTube, or even give a slide show of their own photos on Flickr. Sometimes students even aid fellow classmates with putting together their presentations, especially when they have had the experience of doing them before. All of this provides multiple opportunities for ESL students to practice skills gained with classroom technology, and it will only help students gain the confidence they need for future courses and careers.
ESL students have much to learn in our classrooms, and some of these things include the English language, U.S. culture, and U.S. teaching styles. Learning through classroom technology can only be a great benefit for these students. If ESL students get the chance to study with the use of classroom technology, not only will it help them become more balanced learners, it will also prepare them for their future studies and work. Classroom technology help ESL students to grow and demonstrate hidden skills that are waiting to be discovered. Teachers may be surprised at what comes from their ESL students when they bring classroom technology into their courses. The future only looks bright from here when it comes to equipping our students with tools for technology that they can use in their studies at FCC.