There are as many options within learning technologies as there are forms of adaptations or modifications. Beginning with the goal in mind (eg. what do I want my student to accomplish/learn/know…) will help to narrow down the range of tools. Here are some that you may consider (list is not exhaustive). For more information, please contact me. We can help you through the logistics of selecting the right program and required setups before you decide to invest your budget and time. Checking with your district learning support teacher is also a great place to start.
Boardmaker – Most of you have this in your buildings to create picture symbols for communication. The site – Adapted Learning has many templates for your download. Wow – someone has done the work for you!
Reading (text-to-speech) / Writing Supports:
Kurzweil 3000 – Supports reading (text-to-speech) and writing. This program will read almost any digital text (text and web). The study skills option provides added support in reading comprehension. Note-taking can be done directly on the text or online to be later converted to outline for writing. As well, all the content can be converted to .mp3 for use on mp3 players and ipods. Implementation of this program can be difficult as it is so complex. Learning Technologies and Learning Support can be of great assistance. This detailed checklist was developed to walk you through the steps. Please contact me if you plan on getting this program for your school.
WordTalk: This tiny application has been included into the base image. WordTalk is the versatile free add-on for MS Word that provides text-to-speech, a talking spell checker, and conversion of text to MP3 audio format. You need to launch the application and add the toolbar to MSWord.
Organizational Supports / Writing Supports:
Inspiration 8; Kidspiration 3: The ‘Spirations’ series are phenomenal tools that start with brainstorm webs where categories and details can be grouped. This produces a visual way to organize thinking prior to writing. Both have an audio/speech feature to support reading and written output. Inspiration can also handle inserting of video. Teachers can use the video option as a way to start brainstorming a topic. A great option to use with those students who have difficulties with working/short-term memory. Students can find little video clips or create their own to insert into their web to explain their thinking. What a powerful way to integrate multiple ways of knowing into one. The end product can also be exported as a graphic and/or in a written format of MSWord. Well organized essays – here we come!
Next time, we’ll talk about ebooks and other stories that can be brought into the classroom. If you have other sites/programs that you like using, please drop a comment by using the comment box.
Simple Audio Recorders:
Photostory3: This isn’t just for making movies. You can use our handy podcasting image to create audio recordings and export them as .mp3. This is a great tool as it’s stable, simple and the mp3 file can be played on mp3 players, ipods and on the web.
Audacity: This tool allows simple recording but also multi-track recordings. You can jazz up recordings with background music and special effects. The export feature allows flexibility in playing too.