EdTech for English Learners

U.S. Department of Education data show that English learners in grades K–12 in U.S. public schools in the 2015–16 school year numbered over five million students—about 10 percent of all enrolled students—and that roughly three-fourths of public school districts included students who are English learners. Many teachers, including those in small and rural districts, have one or more English learners in their classrooms—or soon will—and these teachers often use technology when instructing their English learners.

In other words, educators and technologists alike should be approaching EdTech with English learners’ unique needs in mind. To help them do that, the U.S. Department of Education has developed toolkits that clarify what you should know, what you should ask, and what you should consider doing when it comes to using or building EdTech to support English learners.

The toolkit for educators offers five guiding principles for educators to apply in exploring new ways of working with and supporting their English learners through technology, starting with recognizing their students’ unique needs and thinking through to the best technologies to help meet those needs.

The toolkit for EdTech developers provides guidance on the needs of English learners and their educators; supports to consider including with your product that may be especially useful for English learners; ways to communicate about products with districts and educators of English learners to facilitate adoption of your products; and the types of professional development and training activities that educators find most valuable.

Guiding Principles

  1. Understand what educational technology offers for instructing English learners

  2. Discover the types of educational technology available

  3. Maximize the supports that educational technology offers English learners

  4. Seek out hands-on, instruction-focused professional development

  5. Learn more about English learners and educational technology


Guiding Principles for Developers

  1. Understand what English learners and their educators need

  2. Design by leveraging research and best practices

  3. Include support features for English learners

  4. Communicate with educators to increase product adoption to support the instruction of English learners

  5. Offer instruction-focused professional development








  1. Thanks for sharing! This is great news that nowadays develop products such as EdTech. I think it will help many students who receive information in English. When I was a student, we did not have such programs that would help me to learn English properly.
    I like that the principles of this program “Look for practical, training-oriented professional development” – it is very important in our time. You need to constantly look for ways to develop, and all your training should be based on this principle. Every skill that you get should be meaningful and useful in the future:))
    Have a nice day!

Comments are closed.