Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Are You a One and Done? Using iPads to Help ALL Students READ (Part 2)

Are you a one and done? Are you an educator who uses only one App per educational experience, meeting the needs of some and ignoring the needs of others? In this series, I am continuing to explore how you can use multiple Apps to address the needs of ALL learners. In other words, how do you Universally Design an iPad experience?

Let's begin with a topic that we all have to do in our classrooms. How do you use iPads to give reading assignments that meet the needs of all learners?

Ingredient # 1: PDF Copy of Text

I had a student named Omri, who had difficulty seeing text. Whenever we had an article to read in class, I began creating a PDF copy of the text for him. I noticed that many other students liked this idea too. Why not use the tools associated with Adobe reader to help students zoom, highlight, and add notes?

Ingredient # 2: Voice Record Pro 

I had another student named Jamar, who had trouble concentrating whenever reading assignments. He found it easier to listen to the text being read; however, this can be distracting in a room full of students. Other students also liked this idea

How did I do it? You can use the free Voice Record Pro to create audio copies of text. Not only is it easy to use, but it is easy to share. You can upload your audio files to Google Drive, Dropbox, or Edmodo. You may wonder how I have time to do this. Do you have students that finish early? They love hearing their voice, so why not have them help you build your library?

Ingredient # 3: Quizlet

Why do so many students avoid reading? Could it be that they don't understand the vocabulary terms? I often pre-teach vocabulary terms using Quizlet. After we have used it to teach the terms, students can use it to brush up on some of the required terms they may still have trouble remembering. It also helps them study through games, quizzes, and reviews. This App is perfect for our ESL students, who may need to hear the definition and term being read to them.

Why should we use multiple Apps to stimulate learning?

Let me follow up with a question: have you seen the diversity in our classrooms today? It is mind-blowing to see how many languages, learning styles, IEP's, 504's, and GIEP's are represented in our classrooms today. Diversity is an awesome thing, but we often forget to plan for it. 

Using multiple Apps helps address the variability that occurs in our classrooms because not every student learns the same way. Apps give us the chance to engage students and represent concepts differently. They help students show what they know and express knowledge in different ways. 

When we have a One and Done philosophy, we often neglect the idea of diversity and limit our students to only one way of learning. Unfortunately this doesn't work in today's classroom.
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