This article from Education Week's Digital Directions series looks at technologies available to help English language learners.
Whether designed for ELL or general education classes, experts agree that ELL students are best served by technology that encourages interactive learning and opportunities to practice communicating with real audiences. Some educators are adapting general-education technologies, finding that technologies made for ELL students are too much like busywork, and provide isolated exercises that don't allow students to practice communication. Others find that some programs created for ELLs, even those that involve memorization and drill, are valuable as long as they are part of a larger approach that emphasizes a communicative approach. One educator says that the key to a good program is teacher training and supporting teachers in becoming really knowledgeable about using the technology — especially in providing feedback to students about their progress.