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Technology inside the classroom

Technology can be a useful tool that opens doors to opportunities that may never have been imagined inside the physical limitations of a classroom. It is important to recognize technology's role in our lives and how we can mediate that experience as educators. How do we implement the use of technology constructively in an ESL classroom? The answer is by using the tool to motivate them to expand their own interests and knowledge in relevant issues.

In creating motivation for students, educators of CLD (culturally and linguistically diverse) students must provide information that is relevant; “the explanation pertains to the experiences and behaviors of the individuals engaging in the activity” (Jackson, 2014, p. 35). This has been one of the changes in CLD instruction that can be attributed to common sense, when the information is relatable, for native speakers as well, students can formulate opinions, solutions, and strategies independently. The use of “real-life situations relevant to the research problem” allows the students to place themselves in the context of the problem (Jackson, 2014, p. 35). Instructional methods and strategies which include role-playing activities or situational dialogue can help students to feel as though they are living the example; this creates a type of environment which can “allow opportunities for discovery” (Jackson, 2014, p. 37). By creating these opportunities we can create a classroom environment where the students are applying what they are learning in an i+1 setting building their knowledge as the information is scaffolded throughout a course. Using relevant information goes hand-in-hand with implementing technology into the classrooms of CLD students. As technology plays an ever-increasing role in students’ lives, we must learn how to tap into this resource and use it as a means to build language skills; this can also be a useful tool to bridge the cultural gap between students. Students are spending nearly ten hours a day on technology and by using that to our advantage, teachers can increase the time CLD students practice their language skills outside of the classroom.

The use of virtual reality can be a great way to introduce technology into a classroom of CLD students. Imagine if the new student in class from Cambodia could take you on a virtual tour of what life was like in

Infographic created by Johna Hungler

their home country? The students could build a bond by 'traveling' together and exploring a new culture. Where do they buy their groceries? How can we connect this information to our own culture? The market is like our grocery store, we both eat chicken and rice, but the American students have never had fish amok! These are discussion points, a means to allowing students to become intrigued in another person's culture. Even in traditional classrooms, technology like virtual reality could help students explore ancient ruins, walk through the streets of Pompeii or visit the Egyptian pyramids. Close your eyes and put yourself in a story like the Lost Boys where you could look around a deserted island and wonder what would you do in their situation. Virtual reality is one of many tools that can be used inside the classroom, but the opportunities are endless and it can extend outside of the classroom when the day is done.

E-learning can be used as a means to access time when students have left school and returned home; it is “a medium of computer technology that could be used to develop the application of learning and teaching” (Soliman, 2014, p. 753). The E-learning definition has been expanded recently to include the use of various technologies and access to resources for students. One recent article discussed the various ways technology could be used to allow students to practice their language skills through online chats, discussion boards, access to information (in cases where textbooks are not allocated/afforded by the parents). One of the benefits of E-learning includes the fact that “it motivates students and increases their global knowledge” (Soliman, 2014, p. 755). Some teachers employ the use of blogs to help students write creatively and freely in a way they might not experience from classroom assignment; the rapport and interactions that take place in the means of comments and likes also creates motivation and constructive criticisms by their peers motivating the students to work harder independently. Another important aspect of E-learning is that “it appeals to students’ different learning styles as they can choose from a variety of activities and resources” (Soliman, 2014, p. 755). As educators we must adapt to the changing world around our students, technology is a part of that world, it is our role to place this tool for learning responsibly in the hands of our students.


Jackson, Turanza Whipple. 31 August 2014. “Strategies for Improving Instruction for English

Language Learners and Culturally Diverse Student Populations.” NSU Works. Retrieved from:

Soliman, Nagwa A. 2 June 2014. “Using E-Learning to Develop EFL Students’ Language Skills

and Activate Their Independent Learning.” Creative Education V. 5 (752-757). Retrieved


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