February 15, 2016

Only One Week Until #ELLEdTech!

Educational technology and English Language Learners can be a match made in heaven or it might seem an unfathomable chasm for students and their teachers.  There are lots and lots of apps and software available for teaching ELLs but there are also lots of ELLs who don’t have access to computers or tablets -- not regularly in school and not at home. 
Info about new Twitter chat #ELLEdTech | The ESL Connection
Join us for the chat! Source: Tools for Teachers by Laurah J
To discuss issues surrounding the use of technology by students learning English as an additional language and how their teachers can support them as they do so, Laurah from Tools for Teachers by Laurah J has invited me to co-host a new Twitter chat, Bridging the Tech Gap for ELLs, with the hashtag #ELLEdTech.  An important topic in the 21st century, I'm thrilled to co-host and we hope you will join us!  The first chat begins Sunday, February 21, 2016, at 7:00pm Eastern time and future chats will be on the third Sunday of the month at the same time.

Questions and Schedule for the Chat
7:00: Tell us your name, location, level and subject taught #EllEdTech
7:05 = Q1: What technology do you have available at school or in your classroom? #EllEdTech
7:13 = Q2: How many of your ELLs have technology at home? What kind? #EllEdTech
7:21 = Q3: Do you feel ELL students have enough exposure to technology? Why? #EllEdTech
7:29 = Q4: How often do your ELLs get to use technology? #EllEdTech
7:37 = Q5: What advice do you have for teachers of ELLs when it comes to technology and ELLs? #EllEdTech

Directions for Joining the Chat
1. Log into Twitter on Sunday; the chat runs from 7:00 - 7:45pm Eastern.

2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #ELLEdTech in the search bar.  Make sure to click “All tweets.”

3. The first five minutes will be spent introducing ourselves.

4. Starting at 7:05 @ESOL_Odyssey or @The_ESL_Nexus will post questions every 8 minutes using Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. to identify the questions and the hashtag #ELLEdTech.

5.  Answer the questions by prefacing them with A1, A2, A3, etc. and use the hashtag #ELLEdTech.

6.  Follow any teachers who respond and are also using #ELLEdTech.

7.  Like (click the heart icon) and post responses to other teachers' tweets.

You can schedule your answers to the questions in advance by using an online scheduler such as TweetDeck or HootSuite (and remember to use A1, A2, etc. and #ELLEdTech).  Links are encouraged, but use tinyurl, bitly, goo.gl or ow.ly to shorten your link so it can be included in your tweet.  Just click one of those links, paste the longer link in the app's box to shorten it for Twitter, then paste the shortened link into your tweet . If you have relevant images, we encourage you to post them, too.

New to Twitter chats?  So was I a while ago!  They go quickly and that can be intimidating at first.  Don’t worry – it’s okay to feel like the chat passed you by.  That’s why it’s helpful to write responses to the questions and schedule them ahead of time. Doing that ensures your ideas get posted at the relevant time during the chat.  We also have some general rules to ensure the chat goes smoothly:

Is this your first Twitter chat?  Here are our rules:

1. Please stay on topic.

2. Please do not post about paid products unless explicitly asked. 

3. If you arrive after the chat has started, please try to read the previous tweets before joining in.

4. Feel free to just read, like, and/or retweet if you prefer -- we know the first time can be a little overwhelming!

5. Always use the hashtag #ELLEdTech when tweeting.

6. Make sure your twitter feed is set to "public." (And do remember that Twitter is completely public; that means anyone--students, parents, administrators--may see what you tweet.)
Info about new Twitter chat #ELLEdTech | The ESL Connection
Feel free to share this announcement with interested colleagues; source: Tools for Teachers by Laurah J
Lurking is fine for the first chat; that’s what I did until I felt comfortable enough to jump in and tweet.  I realized that I was feeling like my beginning-proficiency level ELLs probably felt: A newcomer who didn’t speak the language so I just sat back in my silent period until I’d learned enough vocab and my affective filter was lowered.  But I encourage you, as I encouraged my students, to go out of your comfort zone and participate at least once in this first Twitter chat.  Think how confident it’ll make you feel if you do.  And for those of you who are advanced Twitter users, fluent in the use of hashtags and retweets, my expectations are that you will have lots to say about bridging the tech gap with ELLs!

You are welcome to let any of your teacher friends who might be interested in joining us as well know about it. We can't wait to chat with you on Sunday evening!

P.S.  If you would like to read more about working with English Language Learners beforehand, my Pinterest board Articles about Teaching ELLs may be of interest.