Assistive Technology (AT) is any device, piece of equipment or system that helps a person with a disability work around his challenges so he/she can learn, communicate or simply function better. This can include high tech & low tech.
- Hearing Aids
- FM Systems
- Pencil Grips
- Alternative Seating in the Classroom
I can remember when I was in elementary school one of my classmates using a talking dictionary and spell corrector. It looked like a game to me but it was a device that helped him with vocabulary and spelling. This student was dyslexic and needed extra support with both spelling and vocabulary. This device improves student’s reading and writing skills as it 44,000 elementary word definitions. This device also has an automatic phonetic spell corrector. The devices includes a handwriting guide (cursive) and five different word-building games. I was so intrigued with this device that I had my parents get me one. I used it a lot! There were games on it that helped me learn new vocabulary and spelling games. I can remember using it in the car during long car trips. I never thought of it as assistive technology but sure enough the device was helping me learn!!
I think distance learning can be beneficial but ultimately I think the traditional way of teaching produces the most learning. My high school offered online courses for certain classes that were not offered in the school. I found this to be beneficial because students had more options of classes they could take. Students were able to stay in the library and work from their iPad/laptops. I think working on a laptop for one or two classes is fine but I don’t think that spending a full day learning on the computer is good. Students learn best from a teacher that is standing in front of them. Teachers are able to modify lessons and alter instruction to meet the needs of their students. Students are also able to interact with one another in a classroom which is vital to a child’s social skills.
This website is a great resource for the different ways to use podcasts in the classroom. The website addresses several of these different ways to incorporate podcasts in the classroom.
Listening to Podcasts- this is a great way for students to gain information about a topic. This is a unique approach to learning. In most cases listening to a podcast would be more engaging for students that just reading an article (could be used as a reward for good behavior)
Making a Class Podcast- this is an awesome way for students to collaborate and share ideas. Students could all do independent research and share the information they learned with the class. Together, the class could put the information together to create a podcast. A teacher could assign a science concept that the students need to research and then make a podcast using what they learned. Students could also use a podcast for interviews.
Podcasts can really enhance how information is presented. Students can add music to their podcasts as well as different sound effects. Students can upload their podcasts to a class website for all their peers to view!
In my 5th grade science class my teacher had using cameras a lot to take pictures of nature. We would analyze and observe the pictures. We were also able to bring in pictures we took at home of nature and add it to our class nature gallery. I absolutely loved it!! I was always very excited to see the picture you brought in on display. Our teacher allowed us to write in our journals about observations we made from the pictures at free time or if we finished assignments early. She would also sometimes incorporate the nature gallery as part of science stations. My teacher would also use the pictures in writing. She would make up a sentence starter with one of the pictures and have us write a story.
I have attached websites that have different resources for ways to use photography in a classroom.
Below is a link that explains several different features of interactive whiteboards. This is a great resource that shows how to incorporate different activities while using a SmartBoard. The website has interactive games/lessons that can be used on a SmartBoard.
Some disadvantages of SmartBoards is that only one person can write at one time and the only markers that can be used on it are the SmartBoard markers.
SmartBoards do make learning interactive. The SmartBoard acts as a board and computer. A teacher could pull up a passage and highlight and circle right onto the board. The SmartBoard provides great visuals.
The article that I have attached included 5 different formative assessment tools. In high school each student had an Ipad. We would use Socrative in several of my classes. Socrative is an online quiz/test. The questions vary from multiple choice, short answer, true/false, etc. I really enjoyed using Socrative because it was something different which made it exciting. I have also used Kahoot. Kahoot is more of a game than a quiz/test. Kahoot is a fun way to review. The feedback is immediate. There are several different features on Kahoot. Teachers are able to manage how long students have to answer questions as well as what possible answers are correct.
The only issue I have with both of these tools is that it can cause anxiety for some students. The tools measure how quickly students answer a question and if it is correct or not. The time pressure the tools put on the children can cause anxiety. I know personally I enjoy the competitive aspect of these two tools, however I feel that it will cause some students stress.
Television is very motivating for kids. In school I can remember watching the Magic School Bus as a reward for being good. My classmates and I would work hard to be on our best behavior so that we could watch our favorite show. We did not realize this was educational television. Magic School Bus was entertaining but my classmates and I were learning while watching. This show taught science concepts in easy, relatable terms.
Reflecting on Magic School Bus, I can defiantly see how this show is beneficial for students. I have attached a website that provides other educational shows for elementary school students!