While “attending” the K12 On-Line Conference, I viewed Jennifer Kraft’s session under the strand Getting Started, called Free Tools for UDL (Universal Design for Learning) in Literacy.
The main purpose of this presentation was to provide a sampling of free technology tools that can be used to help students read, research, and learn. Kraft demonstrated that struggling readers could use text to speech tools to help them work more quickly and become more involved in the classroom. She also offered ideas of how you can layer and combine these technology tools for a more robust learning experience. For example, I never would have thought of combining a graphic organizer software (Bubbl-us) with Click,Speak on Firefox to have graphic organizers read aloud for students who need reading assistance.
I would love to use some of these tools in my classroom. I have yet to investigate the graphic organizer web tools; however, I would really like to find a way to create my own interactive on-line tools. Currently, I have used some on-line graphic organizer tools from Read, Write, Think for my students. My students love them. Unfortunately, the tools aren’t always exactly what I need. I’d like to have the ability to customize for the specific writing assignments and reading response projects the class is working on.
I’d also like to investigate the research and note taking tools to see if these would be a better choice than just cutting and pasting into a word processing document. I do teach my students the old-fashioned method of researching using note cards, but I am well aware that this is an outmoded form of research. I’d love to find a more updated tool that helps students do the same thing as note cards: learn how to organize information and understand how to re-organize it easily.
I thought the method of on-line, anytime delivery for this conference was absolutely perfect. Exceptionally convenient. I could pause the presentation and take notes as I went along.