Can we leverage digital to engage the student and allow them to access the curriculum in a different manner?
In my role as Innovative Education Facilitator with a portfolio of Assistive Technology, I am often asked, “Can I scan a worksheet so Read & Write will read it to my students who aren’t reading at grade level?” The technical answer is yes, however for the teacher who is asking, I have a few questions in return.
- What knowledge or skill are you trying to get the student to demonstrate by completing the worksheet?
- Can we leverage digital to engage the student and allow them to access the curriculum in a different manner?
My goal is to shift the teacher’s thinking in how they can accomplish the same goal in a more engaging method and use a process that is a lot less frustrating for the teacher and student. The teacher’s comfort level with leveraging digital would inform the suggestions or ideas I provide.
One idea I like to recommend to teachers, is asking a question or creating an assignment in Google Classroom. For example, a teacher may have a worksheet on an organ system and have the students answer questions on a worksheet. Instead, they could find digital versions of that content using Abdo E-Books or an encyclopedia and post a question in Google Classroom. When you find digital content online, Read & Write can be used for text-to- speech. Then by using the question feature in Google Classroom, the teacher shares the content and asks the question. Furthermore, the teacher can individualize the question or assignment by using the feature in Google Classroom that allows teachers to choose which students receive the question or assignment. Once the student answers the question, the teacher can add a comment to provide them descriptive feedback. The student can then write a comment back or make changes based on the feedback.
If the worksheet they want to scan is a graphic organizer, I would then share with them a few online digital tools that could be used. Mindomo is an online mind mapping tool that all DDSB staff and students have access to with their DDSB Account.
Graphic organizers can be created in Google Drawings and there are several resources that provide common graphic organizers done in Google Drawings for free. Check out http://ditchthattextbook.com and search for 15 FREEGraphic Organizers.
These two examples are some starting points for teachers in shifting their practice. A next step might be the teacher regularly allowing their students to choose a digital tool to create visualizations or simulations and working collaboratively with their peers.