This week, we explored resources that offered many forms of assistive technology that can be used in a classroom with students who have disabilities. Some of these technologies involved:
These are only a few websites of assistive technologies that completely open doors for students who have difficulties reading text compared to their typically-developing peers. Newsela and the Tar Heel Reader offer low-readability-level texts that students can access discretely through using technology. The Lexile Leveler page has a convenient chart of the approximate lexile level for each grade. In addition, you can search for a book to find out its lexile level to determine how appropriate is it for your student(s).
Project Core is an instructional method of using communication boards with core vocabulary to maximize interactions with students over a shared text. The video on the home page of this website gives a great introduction and explanation of the steps of this strategy. Finally, Snap and Read is a revolutionary tool that not only reads texts aloud, but also allows students to change the level of the text so that they can understand. The “harder” words are hidden but they can be put back into place with the click of a mouse! It is easy to use and simple with just three buttons on the toolbar that comes up with the tool!
These are just a few of the tools that allow student with disabilities to express their thoughts, opinions, feelings, and what they are learning through writing.
The LiveScribe pen combines audio and visual, with the traditional pen experience. When writing or drawing on the special paper while in the “on” mode, the pen records all audio and visual while marking on the page. This can be played back and uploaded to a computer or mobile device. This would be especially helpful for a writing workshop setting in which student draft, brainstorm, and plan before they start to write. The alternative pencil is designed for student who cannot hold a pencil to write; it incorporates eye gaze and switch use to help students express themselves.
Solo is a program that resembles a kind of “one-stop” assistive technology. The users of this program have access to a text reader, word processor, graphic organizer, and text prediction to help those who have difficulty planning, writing grammatically/spelling correctly, revising, and reading the text that they have put on the page.