I just got back from a trip to Texas where several instructors mentioned that their students have been asking about ESL software they can use at home. This isn’t the first time that ESL teachers have told me their students want online langauge learning software–I’ve been hearing this off and on for about a year now. This trip, though, really solidified this trend in my mind, because so many different instructors brought it up.
These reports usually follow the same structure. The ESL program has some ESL software in the computer lab. The students like the software, but they don’t like being required to go to the lab to use it. They really want something they can log in to from any computer any time.
Sometimes the instructors are a little nervous about venturing into online software. Sometimes they only just recently invested in expensive network licenses for the computer lab. Usually, though, the students want the freedom and flexibility of online software. Since most good online options for ESL programs are relatively inexpensive (and are paid for by the students–just like textbooks), administrators and teachers are starting to examine adding an online component to their curriculum.
Check back later for more updates!