Tools for Teaching English

    Language Magazine’s selection of products
    that incorporate technology into the ESL classroom

    Alloy Multimedia
    ESL ReadingSmart is a web-based English language learning environment
    founded on a unique instructional design. It is easily implemented
    as a student-centered, stand-alone application or a blended learning
    environment, integrating online student work and classroom instruction.
    The program offers individualized, content-based instruction to
    develop English language proficiency with emphasis on literacy and
    cross-curricular vocabulary development for newcomers, beginners,
    intermediate, early advanced, and advanced English learners.
    It monitors student progress, and tracks students’ readability and
    grade gains based on The Lexile Framework for Reading, providing
    daily, weekly, and on-demand student reports. Tracking is at individual,
    class, school and district level.
    Several independent studies have shown that ESL ReadingSmart is
    an effective intervention program that raises students’ reading and language
    scores. This year’s independent study was presented in the
    National Forum of Teacher Education Journal in April. The authors stated,
    “by working with culturally appropriate text at their functional reading
    level, students were able to demonstrate gains while experiencing
    literature that may not otherwise have been available to them.”
    The program’s user friendly interface is backed by a team of professionals
    always available to answer questions and provide support.
    New content is regularly added so students and teachers are never
    saddled with static software.

    Podcasts provide new ways for students to interact with the content
    matter as well as to demonstrate their learning. By creating podcasts,
    students can display and extend their creativity using audio as a
    means of self-expression. In addition, teachers can use podcasts to
    communicate regularly with parents by posting school updates on their
    web site. They can also publish lesson guides in a podcast format to
    help students who many have missed sections, or who simply need
    reinforcement when completing homework assignments.
    MP3 players are especially useful in language learning and ELL
    classrooms, where students may need additional reinforcement or
    teacher guidance outside the classroom. Recording a podcast in a
    language learning environment can illustrate to the teacher how well a
    student’s pronunciation, diction and understanding have progressed
    over time. Plus, it allows teachers to keep a digital file of each student’s
    progress, which is helpful for long-term assessment.
    The easy-to-use MP3 player includes a built-in microphone and
    dual headphone jacks — both industry firsts — making it ideal for
    learning centers, language labs and libraries. The playback volume is
    also capped at 85dB for hearing safety.

    English Computerized Learning
    Pronunciation Power

    Pronunciation Power products are user- friendly, interactive programs
    for beginner to advanced English learners of all ages. They are excellent
    tools for students to learn correct English pronunciation. The easy,
    effective design has numerous lessons and exercises for practice using
    visual and auditory feedback.
    Pronunciation Power 1 and 2 include lessons for individual sound
    work and speech recognition. The lessons include animated, graphic
    side views to teach how each sound is made. There are extensive
    practice exercises in: listening, comparative words, and in word and
    sentence pronunciation including intonation for syllable or word stress.
    The 8 in 1 Interactive English Dictionary teaches the meaning and
    pronunciation of words using pictures and sentences and has several
    unique searches, such as “search by word ending.”
    All instructions and lessons for both programs are available in 12
    different languages.
    Pronunciation Power also offers: Introductory English Grammar and
    Vocabulary with Color Key. This program uses a unique Color Key to
    help you learn and remember the English grammar and vocabulary
    that need for basic communication in English. After completing the
    Lesson, you can test yourself by trying the exercises for the lesson.
    Their score is automatically given when you complete the exercise.
    The Idiom program uses memorable and unique pictures and exercises
    to aid the student in remembering idioms.
    All products are available by CD, download or online membership.

    SunSprouts Interactive

    Delightful characters, funny stories, and fascinating leveled nonfiction
    give K-3 students compelling reasons to read, write and explore text
    with SunSprouts Interactive, the literacy software system from
    ETA/Cuisenaire. Whether the child is new to English or fluent in the language,
    this interactive CD-ROM offers targeted activities that require little
    preparation by the teacher, and make it easy to tailor instruction to
    proficiency levels. The flexible and engaging program creates a complete
    interactive literacy learning station with activities for building comprehension,
    fluency, vocabulary skills, and writing. SunSprouts
    Interactive focuses on aspects of the English language that are often
    difficult for children reading in a second language, including development
    of vocabulary awareness, grammatical forms, and idiomatic
    expressions. The lessons are filled with alliteration, rhymes, and other
    repetitive structures that familiarize ESL students with English.
    The program immerses students in developing sight-word recognition
    and vocabulary as they follow along while text is read aloud, then
    record their own oral reading and play it back to hear their voices.
    SunSprouts Interactive also allows students to create and illustrate
    original texts that can be “published” and shared. The software
    records students’ scores for teacher review, and assessments track
    development of literal, inferential, and visual comprehension skills.
    Reports can be generated by student or for the entire class. The flexibility
    of this program allows teachers to assign specific individual lessons,
    or group students with similar skills and needs. SunSprouts
    Interactive can be used as a supplemental resource with any reading
    program to reinforce skills and track progress.

    Franklin Electronic Publishers
    12 Language Speaking Global Translator

    The Speaking Global Translator contains over 450,000 words (including
    335,000 inflections) and 12,000 phrases, and speaks 115,000
    words in recorded human voice. Students can translate to and from
    English into Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, French, German, Italian,
    Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
    Students just enter a word in their native language and the device will
    speak and show the translation in their language and English. A voice
    recording feature allows users to record custom words and phrases.
    The spell correction feature finds even misspelled words, and the
    seven line screen aids visibility.
    Features Include:
    ■ An MP3 Player to download and play MP3 files to enjoy music and
    more while looking up words and phrases
    ■ Chinese, Japanese and Korean are displayed phonetically using the
    Roman alphabet and in Asian characters
    ■ Organizer, local/world clock, calculator, currency and metric converter
    ■ Five games
    ■ USB connection

    Global Language Education Services
    Online Mini-Courses for Language Teachers

    Global Language Education Services (GLES) offers a suite of online
    mini-courses that introduce language teachers to innovative instructional
    techniques. Each technique is designed to employ authentic materials
    in ways that are both engaging and effective. Currently available
    mini-courses cover “Movie Talk,” a technique for employing featurelength
    movies in beginning and low-intermediate language classrooms;
    “Co-Author,” a cyclic pattern of interaction in which a language teacher
    guides intermediate students toward more proficient writing in their second
    language; and “Reading Club,” a multi-faceted technique for using
    authentic materials to boost the reading proficiency of intermediate language
    students. All of the techniques covered in GLES mini-courses
    are research-based and have been extensively field-tested.
    The GLES online mini-courses include discussion boards and optional
    hands-on activities that develop mastery of the techniques. Participants
    can choose to take these courses in audit mode, which provides access
    to materials and discussion boards but no instructor feedback, or graded
    mode, which (for an additional fee) offers feedback, evaluation, and certificates
    for Continuing Education Units. The mini-courses are offered every
    month, and there are special group rates for cohorts.
    The GLES online mini-courses were created by Dr. Ashley Hastings,
    Professor Emeritus of TESOL (Shenandoah University). Dr. Hastings is
    known internationally as the originator of the FOCAL SKILLS approach
    to language teaching, and has been a pioneer in the development of
    online language teacher training.

    FLRT — a Fluent Reading Trainer

    MindPlay offers educators working with English Language Learners a
    solution that will help students enjoy reading by dramatically improving
    their reading fluency rate as they become confident in speaking
    and reading English. FLRT — a fluent reading trainer works to
    increase reading speed while ensuring comprehension in any student
    who can decode. Students conduct a number of technology-driven
    activities to train their eyes to read more efficiently. One FLRT activity
    trains the eyes to move from left to right and to sweep in one movement
    enhancing visual memory, silent reading skills, speed and reading
    As students move into reading passages, the stories in the program
    are either delivered randomly or they can be selected by teachers. Each
    passage is designed to be read in six minutes or less, allowing most
    students to complete three stories or more in a class period.
    Accompanying questions test 18 different reading comprehension skills.
    The program aims to keep students challenged while reading at
    their own pace by providing assignments that are individualized to
    match each student’s unique abilities. It can be used for classroom
    instruction or as remedial help.
    FLRT also provides teachers and administrators with easy management
    and tracking. Reports can gauge a student or an entire class
    performance. Success can be broken down by question type,
    improvement statistics from initial testing date to current date, effective
    words-per-minute rate, and sight/high-frequency words for students
    who are struggling. Reports are available in PDF format so they can be
    emailed to parents or they can be printed out in color or grayscale for
    improved data visualization.

    PhonicsTutor is a research proven, multi-sensory reading method for
    all ages and reading settings. Its independent instruction in orthography
    enables ESL students to learn to read reflexively and spell accurately
    at a rate that keeps pace with the vocabulary and comprehension
    they are gaining in English. This performance of a reading program
    is amazing considering the ambiguous and extensive orthography
    of English. Students who complete the program can pronounce,
    read, and spell 93 percent of all words in print, e.g., machinery, prodigious,
    picturesque, azure. It covers all patterns of English orthography
    that occur at least once in a million words in print.
    At TESL ’97 in Toronto, PhonicsTutor was one of only four products
    (out of 189 products) that received the designation of “Excellent.” This
    computerized Orton-Gillingham program is a synthetic-analytic reading
    method that is recognized around the world for its efficacy in the remediation
    of dyslexia and for its ability to assist both native and nonnative
    speakers of English in learning how to read and spell. The
    expanded curriculum includes software, coordinated books, and flashcards,
    and provides self-teaching instruction so that ESL/EFL learners
    are prepared for the vocabulary and reading expectations of college
    and professional careers.

    Protea Textware
    Issues in English 2

    Issues in English 2 is an effective, innovative, and comprehensive software
    program for English language and literacy learners. With four levels
    from beginning to advanced, students learn a wide range of
    English language skills within meaningful contexts. The issues —
    Sport, Media, Technology, Fame, Education, Immigration, Wilderness,
    and Languages — are relevant and engaging.
    The program is content-rich, with over 700 interactive exercises
    based on the stimulus videos. These include reading and listening
    comprehension, grammar and vocabulary, pronunciation, and writing.

    Scientific Learning
    Scientific Learning develops software products that increase brain
    power—exercising areas of the brain to help it process more efficiently,
    the way physical workouts train the body to be more fit and strong.
    The products are used in thousands of schools nationwide, helping
    ELL, struggling readers and at-risk learners in grades PreK-12. The
    Fast ForWord program has proven results in schools throughout the
    country, where students have made dramatic and enduring gains in
    eight to twelve weeks. The products build on cumulative breakthroughs
    in neuroscience research revealing that the human brain can
    continue to develop and improve the efficiency of its processing
    throughout life. Processing efficiency is how the brain functions to support
    learning and intellectual activity, including memory, attention, processing
    rate, and sequencing. Scientific Learning Reading Assistant
    provides guided oral reading using advanced speech recognition technology
    with scientifically-based courseware to help students strengthen
    fluency, vocabulary and comprehension to become proficient, lifelong
    readers. It provides each student with an active one-on-one reading
    tutor that acts as a patient, non-judgmental listener and provides
    the much needed reading practice that benefits them. Progress
    Tracker is an online accountability tool that allows educators to monitor
    student progress and results, and Reading Progress Indicator is an
    easy-to-use computerized assessment for quick evaluations of student
    performance. When students can process more effectively, all other
    learning activities get accomplished more efficiently. It is then the dedication
    of teachers and the investment in other learning programs yield
    better results. Importantly, students are more motivated to learn and
    have better self-esteem.