Every once in awhile, I've seen requests for good tablet apps and websites.
Could someone please resend the responses to this request? I'm looking for good
apps and websites for phonics, vocab skills, etc. Can anyone recommend some of
these for elementary school ELLs?
Here is a rubric I developed to help teachers evaluate the quality of apps for
young English learners http://www.ecetech.net/blog/dll/designing-a-rubric-for-preschool-bilingual-apps-by-karen-nemeth/
I just attended a national summit on young ELLs this week in Washington, DC. One
of the research review presentations by Dr. Carol Hammer reminded us that
research evidence is continuing to emphasize the importance of oral language and
conversational interactions for the development of phonological awareness and
vocabulary in young ELLs (DLLs). She shared additional studies showing that
prewriting and writing practice also contribute to phonological awareness. Time
spent with apps is usually time when oral language is suppressed, not supported…
unless you plan to interact WITH the student around the app, or have students
Apps and websites present a lot of information, but most of them show no
evidence of helping children LEARN the information. This is especially true of
free and low cost apps and sites. Just because they show cute activities about
words and letter sounds doesn't mean the children will gain lasting benefit
from playing with them. If you have allowed your students to use some
vocabulary or phonics apps - try observing the activity they are doing today and
making a note of it, then talking to them about it a week or two later and see
if they remember anything they learned while playing with that app. For example,
the Starfall site has one activity about the short e sound called Peg the Hen.
It seems to provide practice on hearing and using the short e sound. OK. But if
you observe your student playing with it this week and then watch to see how
well he recognizes and uses the short e sound in conversations, other kinds of
reading, or in his own writing… will you see an improvement a week or two later?
or was that just a fleeting activity that only lasted as long as the child was
on that computer doing that specific activity? Answers to those questions will
help you decide which digital resources are right for your students.
Any app or website that looks like flashcards or that presents letter sounds or
words with no meaningful context - like the Little Pim app - should be avoided.
If you can afford a sophisticated system that is designed with young ELLs/DLLs
in mind, then I would suggest looking into Imagine Learning.