Look at the choice and control possibilities mentioned in the following except from Immersive Reader in Canvas: Improve Reading Comprehension for All Students

When building courses and creating course content in Canvas, Immersive Reader lets users:

  • Change font size, text spacing, and background color
  • Split up words into syllables
  • Highlight verbs, nouns, adjectives, and sub-clauses
  • Choose between two fonts optimised to help with reading
  • Read text aloud
  • Change the speed of reading
  • Highlight sets of one, three, or five lines for greater focus
  • Select a word to see a related picture and hear the word read aloud as many times as necessary

Also see:

All about the Immersive Reader — from education.microsoft.com

The Microsoft Immersive Reader is a free tool, built into Word, OneNote, Outlook, Office Lens, Microsoft Teams, Forms, Flipgrid, Minecraft Education Edition and the Edge browser, that implement proven techniques to improve reading and writing for people regardless of their age or ability.

 

ADDitude: Resources for families touched by attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD).

ADDitude: Resources for families touched by attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD)

Example article:

“I’m a Teacher with Nonverbal Learning Disorder. And I’m Exactly Who I Needed As a Child.” — from additudemag.com by Brittany Kramer
“I strive to create a classroom environment where my students know they will be successful, no matter what. It’s the environment I would have felt safe in as a child; one that is encouraging, warm, and free of judgment or anger.”

Excerpt:

“They tried to bury me, but they didn’t know that I was a seed.”

As a special education teacher for students with learning disabilities and developmental disorders, and as a neurodivergent individual myself, this quote defines my life.

I was formally diagnosed with Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) at 23 years old. As a child and teen, I struggled in ways that most people cannot possibly comprehend.

When people think of learning disabilities, they picture a child with dyslexia or dysgraphia who cannot read or write very well. They do not envision an intelligent and articulate child for whom tying shoes or making a paper fit into a folder is arduous at best.

 

Here Is A Great Reading App for Students with Dyslexia — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

Omoguru is an excellent reading app for students with dyslexia. It offers a wide variety of tools ‘designed to make the text more readable’. Some of these features include: tools to adjust text appearance and enhance its readability (e.g., letter spacing, line height setting, contrast setting colours, text size and weight), syllable marking (the tool allows you to mark syllables in different colours enabling readers to easily identify and read multi-syllable words), speed reading, and many more.

 

 

10 Resolutions for Special Education in 2021 — from gettingsmart.com by Karla Phillips-Krivickas

Excerpt:

Include Students with Disabilities in Definitions of Equity
A hallmark of 2020 education policy has been a laser like focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Rightfully so, however, references to students that have been historically marginalized or disadvantaged too often do not include students with disabilities.

Action:
Ensure all state initiatives, including those led by non-profit organizations, include students with disabilities in definitions of equity.

 

Don’t force square-peg students back into wrong-shaped holes — from crpe.org by Robin Lake Paul Hill

But what gets lost in the reopening debate is the growing evidence that a significant portion of students and their families are actually happier and learn better outside of traditional schooling.

Excerpt:

Some of the “square-peg” children are the most creative and bright students in their class, but had struggled academically or socially in the traditional classroom. According to informal surveys of parents and teachers, new approaches to learning are benefiting:

  • Students with special needs, like ADHD or autism, who focus better on learning without disruptions from other kids, and who—when learning from home—can take breaks and calm themselves when needed, not just when the classroom schedule permits.
  • Students who didn’t speak up or ask questions in regular classrooms for fear of being mocked, but are now able to send private questions to teachers or make written contributions.
  • Socially-awkward or otherwise different kids who experienced bullying.
  • Kids who best learn from small-group instruction.
  • Students who have mastered all the regular class material and are motivated to learn advanced materials and explore on their own.
  • Students who learn best by hearing about a new idea and then quickly practicing or applying it on their own.

From DSC:
One of our daughters needs a team of people around her to help her learn and grow. The one-size-fits-all, the-train-stops-for-no-one type of educational system that she often encountered did not work well for her.

K-12 education in America is like a quickly-moving train that stops for no one.

Homeschooling has seen her grow a lot more. She even has her own blog now — and she’s excited about it! She loves reading and writing — and she’s very creative (albeit her writing gets pretty dark at times. But come to think of it…my second-grade teacher thought that my friend Andrew’s and my 38-page book with vampires, witches, and werewolves was pretty morbid too!)

 

 

Best Online Educational Games for High School Students — from edtechreview.in by Saniya Khan

Excerpt:

…the introduction of educational games to kids helps increase their motivation and engagement, enhance visual skills, improve students’ interaction and collaboration abilities with their peers, and apply gaming values in a real-world situation; most importantly, it improves learning.

Learning Apps For Kids To Explore in 2021 — from edtechreview.in by Priyanka Gupta

Excerpt:

Living in a digital era and in times when technology has kept education going, let’s look at some promising learning apps for kids to explore in 2021.

 

 

College & Career Guide for Students with Disabilities — from study.com

College students with disabilities have rights that allow for specific accommodations to help them succeed in school. Learn about legal protections, scholarships, technologies, and other assistance available to students with disabilities.

 

U.S. Businesses Potentially Spent Billions on Legal Fees for Inaccessible Websites in 2020 — from boia.org

Excerpt:

In a bombshell report published by Accessibility.com, the organization estimated that 265,000 website accessibility demand letters were sent to businesses last year. Astounding on its own, if the figure is correct or close to correct, U.S. companies could have spent billions of dollars in legal costs as a direct result of inaccessible websites in 2020 alone. Businesses looking for a wake-up call to make website accessibility a priority in 2021 and beyond might have just found it.

The above article linked to:

2020 Website Accessibility Lawsuit Recap -- from Accessibility.com

Also see:

 

 

From DSC:
Our oldest daughter showed me a “Bitmoji Classroom” that her mentor teacher — Emily Clay — uses as her virtual classroom. Below are some snapshots of the Google Slides that Emily developed based on the work of:

  • Kayla Young (@bitmoji.kayla)
  • MaryBeth Thomas 
  • Ms. Smith 
  • Karen Koch
  • The First Grade Creative — by C. Verddugo

My hats off to all of these folks whose work laid the foundations for this creative, fun, engaging, easy-to-follow virtual classroom for a special education preschool classroom — complete with ties to videoconferencing functionalities from Zoom. Emily’s students could click on items all over the place — they could explore, pursue their interests/curiosities/passions. So the snapshots below don’t offer the great interactivity that the real deal does.

Nice work Emily & Company! I like how you provided more choice, more control to your students — while keeping them engaged! 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

From DSC:
I also like the idea of presenting this type of slide (immediately below, and students’ names have been blurred for privacy’s sake) prior to entering a videoconferencing session where you are going to break out the students into groups. Perhaps that didn’t happen in Emily’s class…I’m not sure, but in other settings, it would make sense to share one’s screen right before sending the students to those breakout rooms and show them that type of slide (to let them know who will be in their particular breakout group).

The students in the different breakout sessions could then collaboratively work on Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides and you could watch their progress in real-time!

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

Also see:

 

Temperament-Inclusive Pedagogy: Helping Introverted and Extraverted Students Thrive in a Changing Educational Landscape — from onlinelearningconsortium.org by Mary R. Fry

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

So how do we take these different approaches to learning into account and foster a classroom environment that is more inclusive of the needs of both extraverts and introverts? Let’s first distinguish between how extraverts and introverts most prefer to learn, and then discuss ways to meet the needs of both. Extraverts tend to learn through active and social engagement with the material (group work, interactive learning experiences, performing and discussing). Verbalizing typically helps extraverts to think through their ideas and to foster new ones. They often think quickly on their feet and welcome working in large groups. It can be challenging for extraverts to generate ideas in isolation (talking through ideas is often needed) and thus working on solitary projects and writing can be challenging.

In contrast, introverts thrive with solitary/independent work and typically need this time to sort through what they are learning before they can formulate their thoughts and articulate their perspectives. Introverted learners often dislike group work (or at least the group sizes and structures that are often used in the classroom (more on this in a moment)) and find their voice drowned out in synchronous discussions as they don’t typically think as fast as their extroverted counterparts and don’t often speak until they feel they have something carefully thought out to share. Introverted learners are often quite content, and can remain attentive, through longer lectures and presentations and prefer engaging with the material in a more interactive way only after a pause or break.

From DSC:
Could/would a next-generation learning platform that has some Artificial Intelligence (AI) features baked into it — working in conjunction with a cloud-based learner profile — be of assistance here?

That is, maybe a learner could self-select the type of learning that they are: introverted or extroverted. Or perhaps they could use a sliding scaled to mix learning activities up to a certain degree. Or perhaps if one wasn’t sure of their preferences, they could ask the AI-backed system to scan for how much time they spent doing learning activities X, Y, and Z versus learning activities A, B, and C…then AI could offer up activities that meet a learner’s preferences.

(By the way, I love the idea of the “think-ink-pair-share” — to address both extroverted and introverted learners. This can be done digitally/virtually as well as in a face-to-face setting.)

All of this would further assist in helping build an enjoyment of learning. And wouldn’t that be nice? Now that we all need to learn for 40, 50, 60, 70, or even 80 years of our lives?

The 60-Year Curriculum: A Strategic Response to a Crisis

 

New Resource for Inclusive and Equitable Teaching

New Resource for Inclusive and Equitable Teaching — from community.acue.org

Excerpt:

Achieving equity requires that we teach with practices that embrace the diversity of our students’ backgrounds. We must also thoughtfully review our instructional approaches to identify—and change—any unintended practices that might limit student expectations and achievements. Just as we approach our disciplines with prior assumptions and theoretical orientations, we must ensure that we approach our teaching, and our students, with equitable beliefs about their ability to learn and the opportunity gaps that we have the ability to close. As ACUE research shows, doing so leads to stronger levels of academic achievement indistinguishable by race, ethnicity and income level.

 

Child Care Is in Crisis. We’ll Be Here to Cover It During the Turbulent Year Ahead. — from edsurge.com by Tony Wan

Excerpt:

Early childhood educators have long been forced to make do with limited resources, from inadequate staffing and preparation to stagnant wages and, often, an overall lack of respect from the public or understanding about their roles.

That’s what we heard repeatedly during the nine months we spent last year exploring the work lives of early childhood education professionals. And it’s what we saw first-hand during reporting trips to more than 11 center- and home-based child care programs nationwide, from California to Connecticut.

With the arrival of the pandemic, these resources have become even more scarce and the obstacles even more complex.

Also from edsurge.com:

 

Learning in the Cloud: Canada’s First University to Move Operations into One Secure Cloud Infrastructure Sets the Stage for the Future of Learning — from globenewswire.com by Athabasca University
Athabasca University (AU) lays the groundwork to build a more accessible and personalized future for post-secondary learners

Excerpt:

Edmonton, Alberta, Sept. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — At a time when you can personalize everything from your online shopping experience to your dating prospects, it seems only reasonable to ask: why can’t students “swipe right” on their course load? Why can’t a degree be structured around what someone wants to learn or how they learn, instead of what’s traditionally part of the program? In other words, why isn’t it possible to choose your own adventure in a university environment?

Athabasca University (AU), Canada’s Online University, recently completed a six-month rapid cloud migration project with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to construct a secure, flexible, and global infrastructure required to make personalized learning an infinitely scalable reality. With the completion of its cloud migration project, AU became the first post-secondary institution in Canada to move its entire digital operations infrastructure into its own secure AU cloud environment powered by AWS.

 

Personalized Learning Is Special Education and the Time Is Now — from gettingsmart.com by Karla Phillips-Krivickas and Rebecca Midles

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Educators have long recognized that the education strategies that work for students with additional needs would benefit all kids. These personalized learning strategies are, in fact, best practices for all students. Yet we continue to design our schools for the ‘average’ student. And then we wonder why there is so much frustration when we try to fit the proverbial square pegs into round holes.

You may assume the line between general and special education is clear, but it is quite blurry. Special education was never intended to be a separate system. It was designed to facilitate access to general education. Unfortunately, disability labels can now act as fuzzy barriers separating those who qualify for individualized instruction and those who do not. And this is the problem: the one size fits all approach to education doesn’t account for students’ differences or preferences unless they have a disability.

From DSC:
Exactly the experience our family has had as well. The K-12 education train stops for no one and moves quickly.  To *^*^ with mastery. To *^*^ with the love of learning — or even the slightest liking of it.

K-12 education in America is a like a quickly moving train that stops for no one.

Let us not come out of this crisis with the same systems and ways of doing things. Time for greater innovation, experimentation, and invention to take place!

 

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