Keeping our “school of fish” together
This week I had the fantastic opportunity to attend the MASSCUE SIG SLP/SPED group meeting hosted by Kim Zajac of the Norton Public Schools and led by John F. O’Sullivan, the Educational App Guide! John has published 5 books on UDL and Assistive Technology Tools. He has so many options in his toolbox it is AMAZING! I learned so much at this meeting, and it was great to talk to teachers from other schools about what they’re using as well to remove the barriers. John really hit home with his focus: How can we remove the barrier so the student can reach the goal? What different paths can students take to show they’ve met the goal?
Take a look below for some great tools that will assist ALL of our learners, help remove the barriers, and keep our “fish” swimming!
UDL TECHNOLOGY 💌 🆓 📑
First up on the blog, is a FREE resource from John: UDL Technology. This is actually a section of his book that he posts online, free! Chapter 17 has many great, free, tools you can use with all students. Just to entice you even more, take a look at some of the topics below he has posted on this great resource. I was lucky enough to win a copy of one of his books at the workshop, so if you’d like to borrow it, let me know! His books are also available for purchase on Amazon.
My Favorite Tools for Reading Online 📖 💻
Reading text online can be a challenge. We could easily use a text-to-speech tool like Select and Speak or Read and Write, however, with MCAS and many other texts moving online, it is now a reality that all students will need to learn how to decipher text on the screen. There are many great tools to assist when reading online. The video below shows a few of my favorites that assist with screen reading. These tools are free and available for all students. The extension Mercury Reader clears the clutter, inverts the page coloring, changes the font and overall can clean up the page when reading online. BeeLine Reader is another great extension that changes the font and alters the color of the text on the page. This extension has been shown to greatly assist those with dyslexia. Font changer is an extension that will allow you to customize the font, and size of the font, for all sites you visit. Line Height Adjuster allows you to put more spacing between lines of text on the page and Visor provides a masking tool when reading online. It is important to note that the online MCAS does provide similar tools for all students when taking the exam. Allowing students to utilize these tools when reading online may greatly aide in their success when it comes to reading text online!
Accessibility Settings in Chrome 🔎 👍
Did you know that the Chromebook has many accessibility settings already built in? There are many beneficial settings for students, even more than just the popular ones you may see such as inverting the contrast, bigger mouse arrow, or magnification. The video below shows many of the lesser known accessibility features within the Chrome settings.
Assistive Tech Presentation 📽️
Below, is the presentation I gave at Medfield Digital Learning day that contains ALL of my favorite AT tools. It also includes an example Assistive Technology Evaluation that I conducted, if you wish to see it. New tools come out at such a rapid pace, there are probably even better ones now that are on this month-old presentation!
I hope you’re able to find the tools you need to assist every student in his or her success. If you ever want help finding a tech tool, feel free to reach out!