Instructional Technology Weekly
Celebrating Student & Teacher Learning at LR Schools
October 30, 2016, Vol. 1, issue 2
Assistive Technologies and Chromebooks
Assistive Technology For All Students
Far too often the "technology of the week" hysteria takes precedent over trusted and sound teaching techniques. However, once in a while the hoopla over technology tools for the classroom is warranted. One need only look at current trends in assistive technologies (AT) for this positive example.
In a nutshell, AT is any device that makes one's life easier. Though designed for students with attention deficit, learning disabilities, and social, emotional, or physical considerations, AT, when introduced to the classroom, has shown benefits for all students.
Extensions and Apps
Several Chromebook extensions and apps I have tested have shown real benefits for all students. Speak It is a text to speech tool that can read entire webpages aloud, or just a selection. Read & Write For Google can highlight and define text, collect highlights, and read highlights as text to speech. For students with visual needs High Contrast lets students browse the web using their choice of color filters created to make reading text easier. Voice Recognition is an app that allows the user to dictate the text of a document, then copy and paste the text to another application as needed.
There are hundreds of extensions and apps available through the Chrome Store that offer assistive technologies for all students. Remember Chromebooks come with many accessibility features already built in. For students with visual impairments, to zoom in simply press Ctrl and +, to zoom out press Ctrl and -, and to return to the original viewing level press Ctrl and 0 (zero). Users can also change the size and font of the text they are reading in the chrome browser simply by clicking on the settings button, clicking on settings in the drop down menu, clicking on show advanced settings, and scrolling to web content and clicking on customize fonts. These simple tricks can be a game changer for many students.
English I Escape Classroom
Teacher and Student Spotlight
This past Monday's fall PD Day was a hit. Several LR teachers offered their expertise on technology, learning strategies, and current trends in the classroom. Many of the sessions offered attendees ideas and tools to use in the classroom immediately. A round of applause to all those who stood before their peers to present new strategies to engage our students!
Are you interested in presenting a favorite strategy to your colleagues? Our next full PD Day will be February 17, so now is the time to start thinking about what you have to offer everyone else. Remember, you know something no one else knows.
Photos courtesy of: @JasonONeal_LR
Upcoming Learning Opportunities
Wednesday, November 2: Monthly Tech Talk
- Come share ideas, problems, and solutions you have found integrating technology into your lessons. Stay for an hour, or come and go. Location: LRHS Library
Saturday, February 4: Springfield G Suite for Ed Summit
- Though still in its developmental phase, it appears that the GOCSD ( The Greater Ozarks Cooperating School Districts) will host a G Suite for Ed Summit in February. This will be a great opportunity to attend a G Suite Summit close to home. More details to come.