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Supporting and Empowering English Learners with the ISTE Standards for Students

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Lecture

Tuesday, June 25, 1:15–2:15 pm
Location: 113BC

Margaret Essig  
It is imperative that teachers of English language learners understand how to leverage technology standards to complement and enhance content and language instruction. Explore how the ISTE Standards for Students can empower ELLs by supporting higher-order thinking, facilitating expression and collaboration, and offering choice and voice in learning.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Instructional design and delivery
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: ESL
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

It is more important than ever for teachers of English Learners to understand how to leverage technology standards to complement and enhance content and language instruction. This session will focus on how the ISTE Standards for Students embody much of what research has demonstrated is best practice for teaching English Learners (ELs). Because of this, the ISTE Standards for Students can offer educators of ELs a detailed framework that can complement and enhance English language development standards. By the end of this session, participants will be able to identify similarities between best practices for teaching ELs and best practices for teaching with technology. Using these similarities as a foundation, participants will learn how the ISTE Standards for Students complement English language development standards, often considered ambiguous, by providing more concrete language based in instructional technology best practice. This session will equip participants with the knowledge to advocate for the right of ELs to have equitable access to instructional technology that supports higher-order thinking, facilitates expression and collaboration, and gives choice and voice in learning. Participants will leave this energizing session with concrete recommendations to bring back and implement in their districts and schools to use technology as a catalyst for language development, content achievement, and engaged learning.


1. Welcome and objectives (5 minutes)
2. Current context & importance of Instructional technology with English Learners (5 minutes)
3. Pros and Cons of English language development standards (5 minutes)
4. Turn and talk: What are your thoughts on ELD standards? (2.5 minutes)
5. Turn and talk: What skills do we want our ELs to acquire? (2.5 minutes)
6. Information on ISTE Standards for Students (5 minutes)
7. Explore and Share: What do you notice when you read the ISTE Standards with a language development lens? (5 minutes)
8. Theoretical and practical bridges between EL instruction and instructional technology (10 minutes)
9. Share resources with participants (Example: Infographic on how Flipgrid empowers ELs) (10 minutes)
10. Concrete recommendations to bring back to districts and schools (5 minutes)
11. Closing and questions (5 minutes)

Supporting research

Brown, H. D. (2007). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy. (3rd Ed.). White Plains, NY: Pearson Education.

Burke, A. (2013). Creating identity: The online worlds of two English language learners. Language and Literacy, 15(3), 31.

Collier, V. P. (1995). Acquiring a second language for school. Directions in Language and Education, 1(4), 1-12.

Collier, V. P., & Thomas, W. P. (2009). Educating English learners for a transformed world. Albuquerque, NM: Fuente Press.

Daniel, M. C., & Cowan, J. E. (2012). Exploring teachers’ use of technology in classrooms of bilingual students. GIST Education and Learning Research Journal, (6), 97–110.

Daniel, M. C., & Shin, D.-S. (2014). Exploring New Paths to Academic Literacy for English Language Learners. The Tapestry Journal: An International Multidisciplinary Journal on English Language Learner Education, 6(1), 1–10.

Fairbairn, S., & Jones-Vo, S. (2010). Differentiating instruction and assessment for English language learners: A guide for K-12 teachers. Philadelphia, PA: Caslon.

Featro, S. M., & DiGregorio, D. (2016). Blogging as an instructional tool in the ESL classroom. TESL-EJ, 20(1), 1-9.

Freeman, B. (2012). Using digital technologies to redress inequities for English language learners in the English speaking mathematics classroom. Computers & Education, 59(1), 50-62.

Harrison, R., & Thomas, M. (2009). Identity in online communities: Social networking sites and language learning. International Journal of Emerging Technologies & Society, 7(2), 109–124.

Hew, K. F., & Brush, T. (2007). Integrating technology into K-12 teaching and learning: current knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research. Educational Technology Research and Development, 55(3), 223–252.

Lee, L. (2011). Blogging: Promoting learner autonomy and intercultural competence through study abroad. Language Learning & Technology, 15(3), 87-109.

Lee, N. (2012). District readiness to implement standards-based reform for English language learners a decade after the No Child Left Behind Act (2001). (WCER Working Paper No. 2012-4). Retrieved from University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Center for Education Research website: publications/workingpapers/papers.php#W12

Liu, M., Navarrete, C. C., & Wivagg, J. (2014). Potentials of mobile technology for K-12 education: An investigation of iPod touch use for English language learners in the United States. Educational Technology & Society, 17(2), 115-126.

López, O. (2010). The digital learning classroom: Improving English language learners’ academic success in mathematics and reading using interactive whiteboard technology. Computers & Education, 54(4), 901-915.

Llosa, L. (2011). Standards-based classroom assessments of English proficiency: A review of issues, current developments, and future directions for research. Language Testing, 28(3), 367-382. doi:10.1177/0265532211404188

Shin, D.-s. (2014). Web 2.0 tools and academic literacy development in a US urban school: A case study of a second-grade English language learner. Language and Education, 28(1), 68-85.
Warschauer, M., Knobel, M., & Stone, M. (2004). Technology and equity in schooling: Deconstructing the digital divide. Educational Policy 18(4), p. 562-588.

Warschauer, M. (2007). A teacher’s place in the digital divide. Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education Annual Yearbook 106(2), 147-166.

Westerlund, R.A. (2014). Lost in translation: A descriptive case study of a K-5 urban charter school implementing WIDA English Language Development Standards. (Doctoral dissertation). Bethel University, St. Paul, MN.

WIDA. (2012). Amplification of the English language development standards: Kindergarten – Grade 12. Retrieved from WIDA website: http://www.wida. us/get.aspx?id=540

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Margaret Essig, Illinois Resource Center

Maggie Essig is an ESL/Bilingual Education Consultant who enjoys working with educators to integrate technology and ESL methods into instruction as a catalyst for language development, content learning, and student engagement. She has previously worked as an ESL and bilingual teacher and EL program coordinator. She enjoys bringing her experience with instructional technology and meaningful digital learning into her work by supporting teachers in their technology explorations and creating digital resources for both English Learners and their teachers. Maggie is a PhD student in Curriculum Studies at DePaul University studying the intersection of English Learners and instructional technology.

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