Back in 2001, when I started as a teacher, the technology boom was in its nascent stage. I remember toting a large bag filled with papers home most nights and going to sleep drowning under a vast sea of student homework that needed grading. My classroom was even worse, cluttered with books, manipulatives, globes, maps, and learning stations that left little room for anything else. However, as I write this in 2018, things have changed dramatically. Today’s teachers have edtech in their corners. Digital teaching and learning tools have streamlined education processes and provide learning experiences that stretch far beyond the materials that were available for me back in 2001.
For instance, teachers can use assistive technology to help special needs students succeed in the classroom. Assistive technology allows Down Syndrome students to complete assignments quicker than if they had tried the tasks on their own. Assistive technology can help students with apraxia communicate with pictures, formulate sounds, practice sound production, and improve their communication skills. It can even to help students compensate for their developmental delays. Assistive technology is nothing short of magic. If I were still in the classroom today, I’d use these assistive technology apps, tools, and resources:
Proloquo2Go: Proloquo2Go is an augmentative and alternative communication app that uses symbols to help those who cannot speak for themselves. It uses pictures to help users choose the right words for their unique situation. Adults can easily customize the app for more convenient use.
Articulation Games Assistive Technologies– This app includes four entertaining games with a dynamic way of teaching sound production. The games were assembled by professional speech pathologists, and they contain over 40 phenomes arranged in order of sound placement. The app comes with flashcards and professional sound recordings. Children get rewarded for making progress on the game.
Voice4U: This is an easy-to-use app intended for ELL student, people with communication impairments such as Autism, stroke survivors, and traumatic brain injury victims. The app allows its users to express their ideas, thoughts, and feelings through alternative methods.
Memory Trainer: Because memory is so essential to everything else in the classroom, many teachers choose apps like Memory Trainer to help boost spatial and working memory. This program provides graphical progress so you can see the gains made in spatial and working memory. As an added perk, it also helps to work on focus and concentration.
Citelighter– Citelighter is an assistive research tool that lets you gather facts and materials and arrange them in an orderly fashion. It only takes three easy steps to use Citelighter in your research. Create an account and download the plug-in, begin a project with the toolbar or website, and you are good to go. Citelighter is also handy while you scour the Internet for suitable or appropriate information.
Natural Reader: This is considered to be one of the most powerful text-to-speech apps on today’s market. It can work with several different types of documents including PDFs, Docs, and TXT files. Perhaps the best part is that it reads with your choice from more than fifty natural voices, just as the name implies.
Did we miss any?