To the Editor:
Regarding the article about low educational-technology usage levels in schools (“Ed-Tech Usage Levels Are Low: What Should Schools Do?,” Oct. 1, 2019), I had similar challenges when incorporating ed tech in my college classrooms. However, after conducting a study on integrating technology into an oral ESL curriculum, I found results that could prove useful for teachers and districts when deciding whether or not to use ed tech in ESL classes.
What made my research study successful was finding a familiar messaging application students could use to build communication, collaboration, and peer-tutoring skills. By using this application as a learning tool, I helped them envision the possibility of using 21st-century technology to collaborate in building their knowledge of a second language.
I now welcome and immediately introduce college freshman to techniques that help maximize their use of smartphones’ social-media applications to improve their oral ESL learning. High school ESL instructors in the United States may find it useful, if legally practicable, to employ a similar teaching technique through a teacher-directed, student-peer collaboration and tutoring program, using a social-media or messaging application familiar to students to help them envision how their smartphone technology can also be a valuable teaching tool to improve their language-learning skills.
Jose Luis Sanchez
Educational Leadership Specialist
Oral English Instructor
College of International Business
Shenyang Normal University
A version of this article appeared in the October 30, 2019 edition of Education Week as A Better Use of Ed Tech