Education Opinion

EdTech Products Supporting ELL

By Tom Vander Ark — March 21, 2016 2 min read
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Globalization means more interaction between native speakers of different languages. Continued immigration to the U.S. means more people that need to learn English. Both are served by the expansion of mobile access, the explosion of EdApps, and the rise of machine learning. EdTech investments of $3 billion last year resulted in improvements to hundreds of reading and wiring apps well we as products specifically for English Language Learners (ELL).

We spent the last month reviewing about a hundred programs and apps in 17 categories. The first eight categories reflect the general trend toward personalized learning, an extremely important benefit to ELL and all students with learning differences (i.e., most of them).

ELA Products, ELL Supports

Common Use


Innovation Opportunity

Adaptive readingElementary supplement with ELL supportsi-Ready, Istation, Imagine Learning, Achieve3000
More content and subjects
Leveled readersIntermediate/middle grade supplementAccelerated Reader, Lexia, Curriculet, Newsela, MyOn
More titles including open content, better recommendations
ELA & math courses with ELL supportsCore secondary curriculum with supportsApex Learning, Fuel Education, Connections, HMH, Edgenuity, GreatMinds, PreK12Plaza
Personalized supports
ELA lessons with ELL supportsOpen curriculum resources with ELL adaptationsAchieve the Core, EL Education, EngageNY, BetterLesson, LDC, ThinkCerca, LearnZillion,
, Quill
Platform integration with learner profiles, teacher coaching
Literacy tools with ELL supportsDigital reading and writing toolsOneNote Learning Tools

Vocabulary & content videosK-12 ELA & subject supplementBrainPOP, Flocabulary, Study Island, Khan AcademyPersonalized adaptive playlists
Writing feedbackCore secondary curriculum supportPEG, WriteToLearn, Lightside, WriteLabText-to-Speech, feedback translation, better UX
Reading InterventionSecondary double blockRead 180, Achieve3000Personalized supports

The next six categories are tools specifically focused on ELL teachers and students. Example and remaining innovation opportunities are summarized below.

ELL Products

Common Use


Innovation Opportunity

ELL management

Program management, communication, reporting

eStar ELL

Include/link to all other categories; mobile progress monitoring

ELL courseware

Secondary double block

Learning Upgrade,
Lingual Learning,
Rosetta Stone,

Adaptive assessment and supports

ELL listening

Informal, supplemental

Listen & Speak,
Learn English Elementary
(Android apps)

Full text and support

ELL assessments

Track progress

Pearson TELL,

Instruction embedded

ELL conversations

Speak with native speakers


K-12 use with vetted mentors


Technical assistance, coaching, PD, PLC

Lingual Learning,

Links to resources, micro-credentials

This blog is part of the Supporting English Language Learners Series with support from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more, stay tuned for the culminating podcast, infographic and publication.

The opinions expressed in Vander Ark on Innovation are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.