Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Meeting with Special Educators

I have had the chance to meet with some of the special education teachers to discuss their caseload and identify what technology would best help the students be successful. One of the new software items we have at school is a screen reader which will read text on the computer to the student. This could help the low readers with comprehension. Unfortunately, it is a free software download and the computerized voice may be distracting. Another exciting add on is the speech-to-text capabilities. Students who have difficulty writing will be able to speak their responses to the computer, which will have to be 'trained' for their voice, and the text will appear in a Microsoft Word processing document. And finally, there is Inspiration. Inspiration is a concept mapping software that will help students organize their thoughts and ideas before writing. It is also allowed to be submitted as a grade for a brief constructed response (BCR). I believe this will help the students give more information since Inspiration also has speech to text and text reading capabilities. So there are multiple methods for students to get the information into the diagram. It is a good way to tap the multimodal learning styles and to differentiate.

We all agreed that we will try to meet on Thursdays to do some training. So I look forward to scheduling that. I will also be presenting Inspiration to the staff as a whole in November and December, but I'd like the Special Ed teachers to use it sooner.

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