Role of Educational Technology in the Education of Limited English Proficient Students.
Cohen, Linda M.
National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, Silver Spring, MD.
No of pages:
Two major studies are described which focus on technology and its relationship to the education of limited-English-proficient (LEP) students: (1) Review of the State-of-the-Art of Educational Technologies Implemented in Programs Serving LEP Students Funded by the Department of Education (the "COMSIS" study); and (2) Trends and Status of Computers in Schools: Use in Chapter 1 Programs and Use with Limited English Proficient Students (Office of Technology Assessment, 1987; the "OTA study"). The COMSIS study evaluated the funding request documents for 604 projects and identified 114 projects that used a new technology in their instructional methodology. The OTA study provided a comprehensive review of the literature on technology in the schools and analyzed trends in the distribution of computers, computer access, sources of variation in access, equity issues, racial and ethnic differences, instructional applications of computers, teacher training and experience, and the effects of computers in education. A variety of computer hardware is being used in the schools which can be classified as either stand-alone computers or networks. Emerging technologies useful for LEP students include videocassette recorders, Compact Disc Read-Only Memory (CD-ROM), videodiscs, talking computers, drill and practice software, tutorials, simulation software, games, and other applications such as databases and spreadsheets. Word processing is a particularly effective and relatively inexpensive means of helping LEP students improve reading and writing skills. Problem areas in using new technology with LEP students include lack of appropriate software, software that is not integrated into the curriculum, incompatibility between hardware and software or between hardware components, lack of funding to support repairs and maintenance of computer systems, and lack of teacher training. Recommendations for the future include providing additional teacher training and support, development of appropriate software, funding of further research, ensuring that students have equal access to computers, and establishing a central location for reviewing software. Twenty-five references are cited. (JWK)