Education Opinion

EdTech Products Supporting ELL

By Tom Vander Ark — March 21, 2016 2 min read

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.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read