Voices Vol 41 No 2


SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS: Special Ed

Technology, ELLs, and the Curriculum

By Claudia Plata

In today’s classrooms, technology plays an important part of education.  Its use and implementation is especially important in the language development and learning development of our students.  A well developed lesson which includes the utilization of technology will always catch the students’ attention as well and enhance instruction leading to success in subject areas.

The application of technology and educational software enriches a learner’s oral language skills, builds phonological awareness and word recognition, improves fluency and comprehension, and develops written expression.

Software for oral language skills, like Laureate Learning Systems (www.laureatelearning.com),is designed for learners with developmental disabilities and those who suffer disabilities caused by brain damage.  This system offers other software which encourages oral language expression and assists in important language skills such as following directions, categorizing objects, and language syntax

Another type of software available is one that facilitates the building and development of phonological awareness and word recognition: where the learner can practice sound blending, rhyming, creating word families, and building words, some through the use of interactive games.  A well-know software to use for this area is Word Muncher and Word Muncher Deluxe The latter focuses on the use of vocabulary, correct sentence structure, vowel sounds, and grammar.

Story book software accelerates the learner’s reading fluency and improves comprehension by highlighting the text as it is read and guides the reader to follow along.  Written expression can be assisted with many types of software that we use on a daily basis such as word processing programs with built-in spelling and grammar checkers and word recognition; these allow poor spellers and typists to succeed.  Talking word processors such as IntelliTalk 3 from IntelliTools, Inc., is another resource for learners with poor writing skills.  It has features that can read back letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs as they are typed.   Other programs on the market may provide the learner with the opportunity to practice sentence or paragraph structure, mechanics, revision and editing.

I encourage you to circulate amongst our vendors at our annual NJTESOL/NJBE Spring Conference on May 30-31 and take a closer look at some of the new software programs that will enhance and accelerate language acquisition in fun and innovative ways.

Claudia Plata is the Special Education SIG representative.  She is a teacher in Perth Amboy Public Schools.