The students in bilingual class B2-218 were identified as English Language Learners (Ells). Many of these native Spanish speakers struggled with learning how speak, read and write in English. To alleviate the stressors of mastering a second language and provide a more engaging experience students were introduced to the website ePals.com. On this site they were able to practice newly taught language skills with digital penpals across the country and world. Through emailing and blogging Ells were able to share thoughts about their schoolwork, communicate their feelings on certain issues related to immigration and persuade their digital peers with new ideas and perspectives while mastering 21st century skills.
ePals effects on oral and writing abilities
Mario Palma Class B2-218/2010-2011 Inquiry Project
Vision: Students will be able to be critical thinkers and express themselves effectively orally and written through the use of technology
Smart Goal: 90% of students will improve their oral and written communication abilities in English through the use of technology (epals) by the end of April 2011.
Smart goal (attitudes)
Students will develop an appreciation, respect and understanding of computer technology and how it can enhance their ability to communicate effectively.
Smart goal (personal)
Teacher will demonstrate increased comfort navigating and infusing technology modalities into lessons and assessments.
Students will be able to:
Have increased access to laptops that are internet ready via computer lab and in classroom (2 times a week/50 minutes)
Handle hardware/turn on and off/pull up an internet server
Navigate a website independently
Communicate their thoughts through writing
Acquire sufficient typing skills to effectively and efficiently communicate their thoughts (time for project should start after a sufficient level of mastery has been demonstrated by 90% of class)
Respond critically to their epals writing through an ongoing/developing conversation
Oral presentations about their epal partners
Use accountable talk during their epals sessions based on preselected content areas as per teacher agreement
Transfer these same skills into their writer’s unit projects
(Improved performance on story writing on subsequent units?)
Teacher observation notes and protocol for analysis
Students’ epal correspondence
Comparison of number of questions that came up during initial and final epals sessions
Students’ end of unit written pieces
Checklist with technology skills
Student surveys about comfort levels and attitudes towards projects etc.
Technology skills checklist
Turn comp on/off
Access epals page and log in/off
Use keyboard effectively
Type legible sentences
Access punctuation keys