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ELL Frontiers

ELL Frontiers
Using Technology to Enhance Instruction for English Learners

Foreword by Jon Bergmann

November 2016 | 144 pages | Corwin

Your GPS for improving ELLs’ academic outcomes

This is not yesterday’s ELL classroom. Thanks to the Common Core and other rigorous new standards, it’s more challenging than ever to meet the needs of our English learners. But yesterday’s classrooms didn’t have the so many powerful digital tools at your immediate disposal. Written by three tech-savvy ELL experts and grounded in the latest research on English language and literacy development and technology integration, this timely book will serve as your go-to road map for navigating this exciting new frontier.

Inside, you’ll find:

  • An overview of current digital age learning experiences and trends
  • Step-by-step guides to implementing technology-infused lessons that are specifically aligned with English learners’ needs, including a sample lesson seed in each chapter
  • Authentic vignettes of current uses of technology in the classroom
  • Professional Learning Network questions for group discussion

Take a look for yourself. ELL Frontiers will give you the tools not only to improve academic outcomes and enhance language development, but also to cultivate digital citizenship.  

“By incorporating the best of digital age learning, the authors inspire practitioners to bring ELL instruction to the next level. ELL Frontiers shows how technology-enhanced instruction can elevate learning from our prior emphasis on ‘covering’ material to ‘uncovering’ English learners’ rich experience and perspective.”
—Jane Holmberg, Educational Consultant

Publisher’s Acknowledgments
About the Authors
1. The 21st Century English Learner
2. Fostering a Digital Learning Environment
3. The Four Skills + 1 (Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing, and Viewing)
4. Responding and Creating
5. Flipping the Classroom for English Learners
6. Collaboration and Communication
7. Virtual Communities and Digital Citizenship
8. Critical Thinking and Assessment
9. Parting Thoughts
Appendix A- Technology Tools and Resources
Appendix B- ELD/ESL Methodology Resources


"The ideas introduced in this book can assist us in making the most of the available technology and digital resources of our 21st century classrooms as we plan instruction with our curriculum. The information is presented in an accessible and engaging way to regularly incorporate students’ lived experiences and the authentic phenomena of their world ~ through content using visual texts, videos and other digital resources. This book can guide us to make the most of our face to face time with students through rich tasks requiring higher level thinking and application of learning.  Additionally, the ‘seed’ lessons provide us with powerful entry points that support integration of the flipped classroom approach into our practice such that we may promote academic equity for ELLs and all learners."

Zaiba Beg, Instructional Coordinator: English Language Learners
Peel District School Board

"A much needed book to empower educators to empower their English language learners!  ELL Frontiers: contains tools and resources which narrow the digital divide and put students at the center, fostering active learning, as well as independent and engaged learners.  New and experienced educators alike will learn what technology can do for the English Language Learner as a citizen of the digital age."

Carolyn Frye, ELL Resource Teacher
English Language Learners Services, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

"High praise to Honigsfeld, Parris, and Estrada for providing this timely contribution to all of us involved in educating one of the nation’s fastest growing populations.  Teachers, administrators, specialists, as well as curriculum and professional development leaders will find a treasure trove of strategies and research-based solutions for teaching English learners during our rapidly evolving digital era."

Debbie Zacarian, Ed.D., Educational Consultant

"Teachers of all subject areas and grade levels are challenged to differentiate instruction appropriately for English Learners at various stages of English language development, in unfamiliar contexts. This text builds upon current practices by explicitly addressing how flipped lessons can benefit ELs by conveying concise expectations, more opportunities to grapple with new content individually and through interaction with peers, and ways to scaffold linguistic demands when assessing ELs’ academic achievement. Successfully flipped classrooms provide options for ELs to identify essential goals of upcoming lessons, allowing more cognitive energy to acquire the academic language necessary to engage in learning experiences."

Glenda Harrell, ESL Director
Wake County Public School System

"Digital teaching is an important resource for supporting and enhancing learning for all  students yet it has not been the focus of many professional resource books for working  with second language learners. ELL Frontiers: Using Technology for English  Learners changes that. Finally, here is a source for teachers who work with  English learners that provides innovative, thoughtful, and clearly articulated ideas for actively involving students in digital learning using the latest technology while keeping in mind best practices for collaborating, conversing, and providing feedback in the classroom. The authors share a range of approaches that help students bolster their background knowledge, think critically, and use class time to interact and engage, such as through flipping the classroom. This book contains a treasure trove of ideas for teachers who want to move their teaching with English learners into the digital age."

Lori Helman, Ph.D. Director, Associate Professor, Literacy Education
Minnesota Center for Reading Research, University of Minnesota

"ELL Frontiers is an important addition to our developing understanding of instruction for ELs. By incorporating the best of digital age learning, the authors inspire practitioners to bring EL instruction to the next level. ESL Frontiers shows how technology-enhanced instruction can elevate learning from our prior emphasis on “covering” material to “uncovering” EL’s rich experience and perspective."

Jane Holmberg, Ed.D., Educational Consultant
Uncommon Leadership

"Parris, Estrada and Honigsfeld offer a dynamic reinterpretation of the learning and teaching environment in their book.”ESL Frontiers” With attention to detail they describe learning possibilities and how technology can support English Learners’ mastery of academic vocabulary and concepts, their development of oral fluency, and their participation in creative teams with native English speaking students for mutual growth and

benefit. Teachers will flip (with joy) as they read the many ways they can support ELs with technology and how such a classroom can promote authentic learning and assessment."

Don Hones, Chair of Department of Teaching and Learning
University of Wisconsin,Osh Kosh

"The effective and purposeful use of technology tools can have a powerful impact on collaboration and the successful implementation of co-teaching models to best support English Learners. This book will help you to use technology tools that allow ELs to more fully participate with their peers. This will positively impact on learning and growth of the student.   Through the effective use of technology tools, the important learning happening in the classroom will also be positively impacted."

Paul Louis, Director of Curriculum and Assessment
Kildeer School District 96

"Using technology with ELLs builds confidence and background knowledge so they can participate more fully in class activities. Our ELLs achieve their academic goals and learn the English language. ..Harnessing technology such as in flipped learning is a great way to help students succeed linguistically and academically”

Teresa Lynch Bashant, Assistant in Research & Educational Services
Bilingual Education & ENL, NYSUT

"Many of our students are digital natives, no matter what their proficiency in English is! Since each author has worked directly with ELLs, their expertise is reflected in the tips they offer. This text will provide not only a hands-on guidebook for how to use technology specifically for our ELLs, but also provides the research to support each strategy provided. A must-read in our linguistically diverse digital age learning environments today!"

Susanne Marcus, Past President

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