Technology as a companion or as an aid within the classroom is an obvious jump. As mentioned in my other posts, programs that offer dictation or alternatives to a traditional classroom. But using technology and Ipads within Gym?
There are many programs designed both for students and for teachers to help regulate and develop skill and resilience within the students. Programs such as CoachesEye, can be used to film and demonstrate to the student their actions. Similar to professionals who re-watch their own games. This model can be done as well without the program and just using the camera within the device. Allowing students to visually see themselves and how they move can offer the skills of self correction as well as awareness of their body in the next set.
Programs such as Camtasia, Sworkit, and Coaches Note allow for either students, teachers or both to film or model lessons, skills, routines or other physical development goals, allowing them to be taken outside the classroom. Perfect for students who are absent quite often, who require additional aid for askill or for differentiating within the classroom. These apps foster community and independence within the students as they take charge of their own physical skill goals.
Otherwise, there are much more mainstream technology to encourage fitness, such as incorporating games like Dance Dance Revolution as a class, a quick few minutes of high intensity cardio can be done anywhere in the classroom with the patterns shown on the projector. Schools can also invest in a set of cardiograph monitors such as fitbits and oxygen monitors to help older students visibly see their heart and VO2 intake and how that is regulated within their body.
For students with disability, whether physical or mental, the classroom environment can be too limiting. They can’t focus all the time or they focus too much, noises are either too loud or too quiet, the subject matter can be to complex or lacking, output may be oral or written. Unfortunately all these caveats do not fit within the ‘typical,cookie-cutter classroom’ but reality is these classroom are the typical. So instead of dragging our feet as educators, and handing these students off to EAs, why not use technology to help bridge that gap.
Assistive Technology can be as simple as ‘magnification on an Ipad’ or as complex visual input Ipad for quadriplegic or non-mobile students. Below I have looked at the technology side of supporting these students. In regards to output there are the more well-known aids such as ‘Speech To Text’ within Google, or Spell check and using program tools. Allowing students to demonstrate their learning without hesitancy of language issues is key for helping bridge the gap between students. Co:Writer Universal is a program which can have audio input, as well as offer predictive texts. Predictive test is an auto-generated and guiding form of media that can help students who have difficulty focusing on long thoughts such as a sentence, or as staying on topic within the sentence. Mathtalk is a program that allows students to talk through their thinking and their reasoning for math. This allows students who either ;just see the answer’ to demonstrate their learning or those who have trouble writing clearly.
Input disabilities, especially from written sources is some of the most common disabilities, such as dyslexia, ways around written input is key. As students grow older we tend to step away from ‘Read Aloud Books’, but we should be leaning more into this frame. Sites such as Audible.com have a library of books that are appropriate for any age. In regards to textbooks, some have audio-assisted versions online, or you have A-B Partner students pairing strong readers with those who need the aid. Accessing texts online such as with the aid of Kurzweil Education, it has the ability to magnify or offer ‘Open Dyslexic Text’ to help offer students individuality within their task.
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Computers, phones, texting and social media surround ourselves and our students everyday. It could be argued that students are free writing -writing by own motivation- more than previous generations. However, with shortened text, emojis and gifs ‘proper’ language can be lost. But, nonetheless we, as teachers, shouldn’t shy away from using technology and computer based writing output. Our students are going to be growing into a technology based world, and computer literacy is a valued skill. Showing students how to use technology to support their language development is the aim of this post.
For older students, there is an increased focus on annotating websites, reading between the lines and extracting key information. These skills are developed first on paper, with highlighting in the classroom, but you can’t highlight a computer screen. This is where ‘scribble’ comes in. A site supported and co-developed by google edu, it is a youth inspired site that offers the ability to highlight. A chrome extension, it helps filters webpages for student to narrow the sites to more reputable sources, offers them a storage place for their site as well as annotating. This site itself, or the concept of ‘key wording’ is a beginning step in grade 6 and on words. Starting with deciphering keywords on paper and moving to webpages, this extension can help students visualize the key information.
accelerated reader, a program designed both for students and by students is a great and easy way for intermediate, or even primary teachers to keep track of o students comprehension and fluency in reading. A program that can be purchased by districts, it allows any book to be inputted into the system and have quizzes generated for it. Each novel is assigned points either by teacher or the administrators of the program and it helps give a visual benchmark or goal. Students begin by taking a placement test, which then helps give them a predicted ‘point’ value for where they should be in 3,6 and 10 months. It then can also suggest books for students to read. Once students have read that book they can take the comprehension tests and it logs their points to help show their development. It is an individualized program that helps students develop their own accountability for their reading.
As we as an education system move more toward independent, student centered learning, incorporation of technology is rationale. My research has been broken down into online resources that can aid in specific subjects. The subject in focus is Mathematics. A quick google search will reveal numerous ‘Math Fun Games’ or Tutoring sites, but how as do you implement these as a teacher within your curriculum?
First let’s look at a more academic use of math sites, such as Khan Academy. Khan Academy is a well known as an online resource, that has step by step tutorials for mathematics from Pre-Kindergarten all the way through to University courses. Khan Academies method varies from age but tends to follow a pattern similar to ‘watching a video or multiple, responding to an online quiz based on the videos you just watched’. The quizes can range from simple equation/ response, graphic representation, or word problems. Khan Academy has the ability to track a students progress. Using this tracking feature allows teachers, to remotely monitor a students progress. Having the ability to both, remotely monitor as well as have students work at their level of ability allows for a dramatic increase in student differentiation. Khan Academy is an individual math journey that helps relieve Peer Pressure and Comparison, as each student works at their own pace. Khan Academy, also offers an alternative way of explaining a concept that differs from the teachers, which offers students who are not understanding another entry point.
Math Games, and their use within the classroom have been a common backbone when using websites during math. A longer term, progress tracking game is a cite called ‘Prodigy’. It is a video game, interactive math game that follows a students ability, similar to a ‘Level Unlock’. Math Playground is a popular site that is integrated with Google Classroom. Having the integration of Google Classroom, helps the teacher monitor who is participating and at which level ability. Even if the main focus of Math Games, is not to develop and further their mathematical ability, it allows students to become familiar in a positive way with numbers and operations. Any opportunity for students to interact with numbers in a more subliminal way helps ease math anxiety, which is well documented in aging students.
Having the variety of online resources helps both the teacher and students learn at their own level. Using Khan Academy or similar structured websites, can also help support students at home who require more time spent with operations to reach the ability of the rest of the class. It is an intuitive site, that EAs, ELL students, as well as parents can help their student succeed.
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