MS Special Education Teacher
Throughout my eight years in education working with some amazing professionals, I've often wondered this about my fellow colleagues who feared the use of technology. I think most of the time it was fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of teaching in a different way instead of just doing it this way because "that's how we were taught." Think of modern medicine, what if doctors continue to practice the same way because "that's how it's always been done." I know some think that's an over exaggeration, but is it? If we're suppose to be on the cutting edge when it comes to medicine, why isn't education treated the same way? These are questions I ask in hopes to push your thinking outside the box in order to foster and create critical thinkers and problem solvers within our students we educate.
Adam Bellows was the Keynote speaker and I also attended his session that provided many different tools and websites. He made a very good point, we don't always have to know all the tools available just be willing to try 1 new thing each week. Pushing ourselves to utilize all technology has to offer our students. He provided so many tools that I have found very useful!
These are some he gave that I've found as a Special Education Teacher helpful in adapting and accommodating learning for students with academic or behavioral needs so they can access the same education as their peers. For students who have difficulty spelling, on the iPad they can use Siri for speech to text. For students struggling with editing or revising work they can have their writing read back to them. My students who have high listening comprehension benefit from the use of apps that can have books read to them (Read to Go, Raz Kids, Story Builder), practice building fluency with (Read Live), or create their own story and bring it to life on the story builder website (www.clpgh.org/kids/storymaker/).
Motivation or incentives for students to take an active part in their learning can be very challenging. Some of the apps he discussed that I think could be used as incentive or a way to engage students in learning are: a website where you can create your own music- www.ujam.com/ujamstudio. Then Remind.com where you can set reminders for certain dates, send attachments, assignment reminders. I've used this with my students and its been a great tool for learning responsibility.
I plan to use futureme.org with students to write letters to their future self. I have many students, along with myself, who love inspirational quotes, and recitethis.com allows them to turn a quote into a masterpiece by using a quote to create what it looks like by designing it.
Through these newer tools and the use of technology, I've always found students are often capable of more then we give them credit for. So please think outside the box, and go outside your comfort zone. Embrace technology and who knows what will happen! I know one thing is for sure, it can only benefit our students in becoming educated to be 21st Century learners.