Friday, February 2, 2024

Empower English Learners and Teachers with Translation Chrome Extensions

In today's digital age, supporting English language learners (ELLs) has become increasingly innovative, thanks to simple yet effective tech tools. One of the game-changers in this field is the array of Google Chrome extensions designed to aid ELLs in navigating and comprehending the vast world of English content online. These tools are not just helpful; they can transform the way ELLs engage with language learning.

Imagine a student encountering a challenging text online. With these Chrome extensions (click here to access my favorite), they can simply highlight the text, and instantly, a small popup appears, offering the text translated into their home language. But it doesn't stop there. The popup also includes a button to have the text read aloud in their native language. This feature is incredibly empowering for English learners, allowing them to take control of their learning experience. They no longer have to rely solely on teachers or classmates to understand content, instructions, and more, fostering a sense of independence and confidence in their language acquisition journey.
Here is an example of how a student can use this tool in Google Classroom. Note the speaker button that, when clicked, will read the text aloud to them.

Here is a real photograph captured in a classroom situated in rural Tulare County, California. The student depicted speaks and reads limited English; however, they are utilizing a translation Chrome extension. This tool, approved by the school and deployed to student accounts, enables them to access instructions in Google Classroom. Similar to the example mentioned earlier, it features a speaker button that allows the text to be read aloud.

But the benefits of these Chrome extensions are not limited to students alone. Teachers, too, can leverage these tools to create a more inclusive and efficient learning environment. In California, where Spanish is the predominant second language, these extensions are invaluable. When preparing instructions, resources, or activities on platforms like Google Classroom, Quizizz, Blooket, Kahoot, Quizlet, and Gimkit, teachers can use these extensions for quick and convenient side-by-side translations of instructions, questions and answer choices.

The wisdom behind incorporating these tech tools provide side by side translation is that it allows teachers to provide all students with one version of a quiz, game, assignment, etc., keeping all responses, regardless of language, in one place. This approach not only simplifies the teacher's task, but also helps ELLs feel more included. They don't feel singled out or different because they are given the same version of activities as their peers. With just a few more clicks, coupled with some copying and pasting, teachers can make a significant difference in the inclusivity and effectiveness of their instruction.

These simple tech tools showcase the potential of technology to help bridge gaps in language learning and curriculum access. They are by no means a magic bullet or cure all for the support of English learners. By embracing such innovations, educators can enhance their support for English learners, making the learning experience more accessible, engaging, and empowering for all students while they engage in other, more in-depth and research-based instruction. 

The video below demonstrates a translation extension in real time with Quizizz and Google Classroom.

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