I often get asked by teacher candidates and teachers how I got interested in ELL and Technology especially in terms of research and practice. When answering my mind always goes back to a “little red sweater.” There is a “little red sweater” that sits on my bookshelf as a reminder of a class I taught early in my teaching career. It was gift from a young grade 6 boy who I taught in probably the most influential year of my teaching career. At the time I was teaching in an inner city school that was made up of mostly immigrant students. It was during this time of teaching I learned the most about teaching, about meeting the needs of my various ELL students and about using technology to aid in this process. I had language abilities all over the map and often I commented on the “school-house” nature of this teaching context. Basically it was an interesting yet difficult teaching context. During this year, I used technology including learning management systems (Desire 2 Learn), SMART boards, and a variety of other educational technologies to teach my kids. It was not just about technology however. I used a variety of methods in hopes of helping my students to be successful. This work was the beginning of my fascination of ELL students, technologies and best practices.
This “little red sweater” has become symbolic of this experience and a reminder that there is still lots more work to be done in terms of research and practice.