Archive for the ‘Assistive Technology’ Category

Any subject area teacher can and should create curriculum tools that can help students that require accommodations in their learning.  This is key to differentiated learning and instruction.  When I think of my content area of social studies I know that it can require a lot of reading.  Vocabulary is an important piece of knowledge that can help students make their way through the content, and I try to create or find activities that support vocabulary acquisition.

In the past I have utilized sites like Quia to create activities that build and reinforce vocabulary knowledge.  Quia activities like flashcards, matching, concentration, word search, and hangman are a few that present vocabulary in a fun way.  You can also create cloze reading activities with Quia that enable a user to read passages of text and identify key terms that complete a paragraph.  Online textbook resources also often have ready made vocabulary activities that can make it much easier for students to navigate text or take an active part in classroom discussions and projects.  Online textbooks are also interactive and most have an audio or read-aloud feature built into the text.

The following are several examples of vocabulary and reading activities that I have created or found and linked to that assist all students and especially those that may struggle with reading (especially see the flashcards, matching, concentration, word search, hangman, jumbled words, pop ups, and cloze activities).

American History Vocabulary and Reading Activities

World Geography Activities

Hokanson’s American History Quia Class Page

Help your students gain a better understanding of the content by accessing the reading tools that are all around you or create some today.  Technology makes for better and more complete learning, and your students deserve to utilize these tools.

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Recently our school district purchased an Epson Brightlink 450Wi interactive projector.  The install took about one hour and the device has proven to be very responsive.  We are using an existing whiteboard as the background, and our initial setup had the image passing through an ELMO TT-02RX.  The ELMO caused image resolution issues and presented a “shake” to the projection image.  We separated the devices (laptop and ELMO) and plugged each separately into the projector.  This solved the issue.

After a week of use we are quite pleased with the device.  The main challenge I see is the problem of young children (K-1 0r 2) not being able to reach the top of the image.  A stepping stool will suffice for now, but some sort of extender for the pen would be a better solution.

I know BoxLight has a similar device and an extended pen; so, that device may be one to try out.  Overall, the Epson Brightlink 450Wi is a solid device that serves as a cost effective replacement for interactive whiteboard devices such as SMART Boards or Promethean Active Boards.  At about half the cost and just as good, if not better responsiveness, the Epson Brightlink is a better value for cash strapped school districts.  A longer pen solution would make it better.

As with anything to do with exercise you have to do it!

The Truth About Wii Fit And Weight Loss” Forbes

The following is an interesting article at Absolute Gadget:  “Wii Fit helps paralysed girl to walk again.”

On a somewhat related note, BYU (Go Pokes, beat BYU!!!) has released a study on gaming (causation/correlation, I think correlation):  “Y. student researches effects of video games.”