technology tools for special learners tammi gearhart edtech 541, spring ‘11

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  • Technology Tools for Special Learners Tammi Gearhart EdTech 541, Spring 11
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  • Tools for Students with Cognitive Disabilities
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  • Boardmaker family-1 family-1 Boardmaker and Boardmaker Plus! are software programs that are intended to be used for non-verbal students and students who are learning English as another language. It allows the user to create communication boards, sequencing charts, reading and writing activities, worksheets, and schedules. Boardmaker Plus! allows you to create onscreen activities with sound and animation. Because Boardmaker Plus! Can be accessed through a variety of input devices, it allows the program to be used by students with a wide-range of disabilities.
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  • Benefits Images can be helpful for children who respond better to visual prompts during transition times. Images can be used for ELL students to work on literacy skills. Images can be used to help students express how they are feeling or choose appropriate behavior.
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  • Whizkids or Whizkids is a collection of social stories that were developed for mild to severely autistic children. The interactive stories are narrated by a gentle and positive voice, demonstrating examples of how to greet people, how to wait patiently in line, how to cope with change, and many other daily activities.
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  • Benefits Children can practice daily situations virtually without it being frightening or intimidating, and they can see behavior in routine situations modeled appropriately.
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  • Tools for Students with Physical Disabilities
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  • Intellikeys =itc =itc Intellikeys is an alternative keyboard that has overlays that can be used for various purposes (word processing, math, etc.) Overlays can also be created and customized for students or for specific pieces of software. In addition to having key guards that can be used to prevent accidental key strokes, it has larger keys, and the ability to put letters in alphabetical order and with fewer options on the keyboard than on a standard keyboard.
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  • Benefits According to the web site, Intellikeys is useful for students with motion issues, problems with fine motor skills, low vision, or learning disabilities.
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  • etype etype is a word completion software package. As students begin words, a list of potential matches appears. Rather than having the student finish typing the word, the student is able to click on the correct words.
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  • Benefits This program would be helpful for students with motor control (such as muscular sclerosis), fine motor problems, and literacy disabilities by reducing the amount of keyboarding necessary, allowing document production to be easier and with a higher level of accuracy.
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  • Tools for Students with Sensory Disabilities
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  • Bookshare Bookshare is a web site that has over 90,000 books, magazines, and periodicals that are available for downloading to a computer, reader, or iPad. Membership for students with IEPs is free. Once downloaded, the book can be read aloud through various tools: software that can be downloaded from the Bookshare site or by using the text reader found on a Mac. Books can also be printed in Braille if an embosser is available.
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  • Benefits This site would be helpful to a wide range of students, but by offering downloads that can be printed in Braille, it is especially useful for producing materials for students who are visually impaired.
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  • Accessibar An issue that faces many people who are visually impaired is using the Internet. The Accessibar is a toolbar extension for Firefox that provides a number of accessibility of options. When installed, Firefox has a new toolbar that allows full-page zoom, the ability to change fonts, the ability to hide graphics, change line spacing, define shortcut keys, and use text-to-speech options.
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  • Benefits Accessibar provides ease in navigating the Internet for visually impaired students. There is a wide range of modifications to the screen so that it can be customized to the students needs.
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  • Tools for At-Risk Student
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  • Boysread is a web site that promotes reading for boys grades 7 12, but who have low reading levels (as low as 2 nd grade). All books have been evaluated and chosen by reluctant male readers. In addition to having recommendations for books for males who are reluctant to read, they have tips for parents, links to other web sites that promote reading, and the ability to listen to podcasts of first chapters of many books.
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  • Benefits Boysread helps by introducing students to books that may be potentially interesting by providing first chapters in podcast form, and reviews of different books in podcast format. The podcast format can help reduce the cognitive load for students who struggle with reading.
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  • Gamedesk GameDesk is an organization that matches core curriculum with software that allows students to create and use games. Their target population is low-income and minority students in some of the low-performing schools in Los Angeles.
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  • Gamedesk continued According to the web site, it embeds STEM content into game-centered projects with a strong focus on creating purpose, ownership, and personal/professional value to STEM related fields of study. The success of the program has led to the Los Angeles School District receiving a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to open a game and media-based charter school.
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  • Benefits Gamedesk approaches learning from a different perspective, using todays technology tools to engage and motivate at- risk students while they are learning core subject matter.
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  • Tools for Gifted and Talented Students
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  • The Why Files The Why Files is a web site that covers the science, math, and technology that can help students understand current events. Students can experiment with science through virtual exercises.
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  • Benefits This web site engages students through questions for debate, offering opportunities for hypothesizing, and providing information that will challenge students higher-level thinking skills.
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  • Kids Tate Tate Kids is sponsored by the Tate Art Collection in Great Britain. This web site has videos of interactive videos, students creating art, games, and opportunities to create, all using higher-level thinking skills.
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  • Benefits This site challenges artistically talented children to analyze, interpret, compare, and use information that may not be encountered in the every day classroom. This also provides an opportunity to experience art that otherwise wouldnt be able to be experienced by many children that are not geographically close to the Tate Collections.