Middlebury Interactive Languages has launched with partner Fuel Education a new digital program that will benefit about five million English Language Learning (ELL) students in the US. The program integrates research-based methodology, cultural awareness and project-centered activities within a blended learning environment.
Middlebury Interactive Languages’ new program focuses on three key frameworks of ELL education, digital curriculum for students, teacher professional development, and summer ELL academies for student college preparation, Middlebury announced in a press release.
The programs for elementary and middle school students as well as the teacher development training material were both developed by in-house ELL experts and education technologists. Jane Swift, CEO of Middlebury Interactive Languages, said about the program’s number one priority that:
“All students deserve the opportunity to succeed in school and careers but the explosion in the ELL population has created significant challenges for school districts across the country. Our programs provide a new, more flexible approach to helping non-native English speakers learn and will empower schools and districts to customize cost-effective ELL programs.”
According to Middlebury Interactive Language the ELL curricula are aligned with the Common Core and WIDA standards and the program will officially launch in the 2015-16 school year for students in grades four to eight.
The partnership with Fuel Education ensures the program will be made available to school districts through Fuel Ed’s PEAK™ technology, a Personalized Learning Platform. Fuel Ed is is an organization that supports first-generation-to-college families in getting their children into higher education. Fuel Education’s manager Gregg Levin explained how this collaboration with Middlebury Interactive makes the program widely available to underserved students across the country:
“we can provide our more than 2,000 school and district partners an integrated, high-quality solution to address the growing need for effective ELL instruction. Educators can take advantage of seamless access to the ELL programs—as well as tracking and reporting capabilities—through PEAK, which provides a single platform for administration and course customization for all of their online and blended learning programs.”
With the new ELL program, Middlebury is attempting to make available nationwide the successful pilot in the Hartford Public Schools. ELL students’ engagement increased and educators felt pleased with its implementation and performance outcomes.
The pilot program suggested that applying world language learning pedagogy to the teaching of English to non-English native speakers is effective. The over 300 students that participated in the program found digital and project-based learning a compelling approach to gaining new knowledge.
The program co-launched by Middlebury Interactive and Fuel Ed is tailored to each learner’s grade and learning needs and can be implemented irrespective of the student’s language background. Spanish, French, Creole and Chinese are among the student language backgrounds the program can be modified to fit.
With regard to teacher development, the program enables educators to customize their professional development training. Educators can choose ongoing training across an array of eduacation themes and materials ranging from webinars, online chatrooms and other digital-based resources.