Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Reaching all learners

Not all students are created equal.  I was reminded this last week at my TLC cohort training.   (Technology Leadership Certification).  Part of the training involved a group from Indiana that focuses on students with disabilities both physically and mentally.  Some of the kids they deal with are blind, deaf, learning disabled.   It helped me realize the need for modified and differentiated instruction to reach all kids.  The presenters shared with us several tools that we can use to help us reach the learners. Some things are way cool and I never expected how easy they are to do.

For starters, if you are using your phone and have a document open in google, you can talk right into the document and it will sync.   iPhones definitely work and android phones that have Google Keyboard or voice to text installed on them let it work.  It might use data plans, but, if you have a student who is learning disabled, you can have them create a doc for notes and you can record your lesson right onto the doc for them for later reference. Isn't that an easy way to help kids be more successful?   One thing to note, you will have to be in a BYOD school or have a policy in place that permits kids to access a wireless network at school.  (Maybe even a guest network that students can access that gives them limited permissions.)

Another thing to remember is captioning videos.  If you are going to flip your class, caption your lesson.  If you upload your lesson to YouTube, it will auto caption for you, but you will have to edit it to assure it is the right information.   You can also use the free software on your computer, iMovie or Movie Maker, depending if you are on PC or Mac. Either way, that simple step, which through YouTube takes only a little extra time will help that student in need of text be more successful.  It's hard to watch a video if only audio is present.  Some learners need just a little more help, and that could be a caption.

The next few posts I do will provide a few tools that can be added very simply to your computer or to Chrome to help make a learner's life a lot easier.  Check back for more.

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