Assistive Technology Tools to Meet Student Needs in the Classroom

In this webinar, Sharon Plante demonstrates the accessibility features available in a range of devices that can empower students to be independent in completing assignments. In addition, she shares valuable apps, websites and resources across academic areas. We hope you take away practical ideas to support all learners in your classroom.  (Get the presentation and resource list.)

Transcript: 

- [Webinar Host] Good afternoon, everyone. It's four o'clock so we're gonna get started. Welcome to the CTD webinar, Assistive Technology Tools to Meet Student Needs in the Classroom. We're pleased to welcome as our expert today Sharon Plante. She's an educator with over 20 years teaching experience in special ed and currently serves as teacher and director of technology at Eagle Hill Southport School. Sharon's gonna demonstrate accessibility features available in a range of devices that can empower students to be independent in completing assignments. We'll also share valuable apps, websites, and resources across academic areas. We look forward to you taking away practical ideas to support all learners in your classroom. I'll go ahead and pass it off to Sharon. Thank you.

- [Sharon] Welcome, as people keep joining in. Just to give you a little background, I am a special education teacher, but I am also Director of Technology just because I happen to love it. My school is an independent school for kids with language-based learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD, executive function challenges. And we have really worked to empower them with technology for their learning. And I hope to share some of those things that I have learned through that process with you, so that you can take back to your school. One thing I want to talk about is, I'm gonna go through some things that we talk about being assistive versus differentiated, and that's kind of a fine line that can often be confused and blurred. But it's the idea of differentiated instruction. It's just really where we, that process that we apply our learning. I think of that through that whole idea of the Universal Design for Learning, that we approach things that allow students with differing abilities, to inter-engage and interact with content instruction in different ways. Assistive technology is really as you can see, is that piece of equipment that is used to increase, maintain, or improve that capability. It's something really required for the student to complete a task successfully. Some of the things I'm gonna talk about at the beginning will really be that assistive side. Some of websites and apps that I'll talk about can really address both in differing ways, depending on the students' needs. So we think about today those different types of technology we have, it's amazing. I was just talking about it today at work about the amount of technology we have in our schools today, our kids have in their hands. We really went full technology when we started a one-to-one iPad program with our upper school, which is middle school age, about five years ago. And we also started a bring your own device policy. And we are now at both about 95% if not more of students bringing their own devices to our school. Which is really empowering. What families have loved to learn is that how we can engage kids to use technology that they love to take pictures, ask silly questions, but they can really engage it for their learning and also create some independence. Which I think is a key factor for those kids who learn differently, those who have learning disabilities, to find some independence with technology in their learning. So I always like to tell people to start out with the basics. That sometimes the students needs, I go back to thinking about Dragon Dictation. Dragon was one of those keyhole programs that we all relied on so long ago. It is really robust, it is really great but not every student needs all of that robustness to find a level of independence, a level of accessibility to content and engagement. So it's really starting out with the basics of whatever device a student is using. We are mainly an iPad-based school, so I would go to the iOS devices. Often that's what a lot of people have. And if we think about that text-to-speech option, in the iOS, in any iPad or iPhone, it's under the Accessibility. There are some really great speech options that can be turned on so that the students can just use that built-in accessibility which is why we rely on the iPad because it's built in. It's not an add-on layer. Chromebooks, which are very popular in a lot of schools, which I totally appreciate. They are cost effective. They're really engaging for students. There is a free extension called Speak It!, that can do text-to-speech from websites. But if you're really in that Chrome environment and you really have a student that struggles, one of my favorites is Text Help has Read&Write for Chrome. Read&Write Gold was again one of those programs around for a long time, really robust, but they created a Chrome extension that's a subscription-based, but it's really beneficial. You could actually use the free version. There's a 30-day trial, then will give you some capability but not full capability for free. But of course my school, well like many, we have gone Google Apps For Education, now known as G Suite and that Google Voice Typing is just free. It's built in to Google Docs and students can use it for that text-to-speech option. And if you're a Mac-based person, they do have built-in and improved those System Preferences Accessibility options, so if you go under System Preferences, and Accessibility and Speech, you'll see some of the various options you can customize with voices and various things under there. I know Windows has some of that, but I know most schools aren't really working in Windows environment. I find that more maybe high school on up, but there are definite options out there. And then again that speech-to-text. I always love when I can first teach a student when they have an iPad that you don't just ask those silly questions, like what does the fox say? But that they can use Siri to dictate their writing, to dictate emails, to dictate text messages. My Head Master is actually dyslexic and he is walking around the building all the time dictating everything, because that is the way it works for him best. As we've taught more and more kids, I went last year and worked with a student who, when he was a little boy who could never write a full paragraph and once we really engaged him and worked with him on dictation he could dictate a three paragraph essay just being able to use Siri. Again, if you're in a Chromebook environment, Read&Write Chrome has the text-to-speech and speech-to-text option, so it's really, really great. And in Mac when we went to Siri, in Sierra OSX, which was last years operating system upgrade, they built in Siri to a device. And yes, you're right John, it's speech-to-text. But really great options but there is so much built in to today's devices which is my point, that if you really look at what is there and engage students with that, and they do need work with it, there can be a lot that can be accomplished just using the basics. If you have students who really need to still access paper, there are two options I have been engaging with. One, again, we are an iPad environment. One of my favorite tools is an app called Claro ScanPen. It is about 6.99 and you simply take a screenshot of a piece of paper or textbook page. It creates a quick image and you swipe over the text and it reads back to the student. I have worked, I'm really amazed with how students when they learn it, it takes a little bit of a learning curve I think, just how to take the best screenshot and best lighting, but it's a really great tool. Last year, and if you're really into assistive technology, there is a great conference yearly in Orlando in January, The Assistive Technology International Association, and I met with the company that created one of the pens that is now out there on the market called C-PEN and it can be used on, again, on any paper and it scans over it and can read back to a student. What's great about that over, I know an ideal like Claro ScanPen, if you're in a testing environment or something like that where you don't want a student to have full accessibility to all the things that might be in a device, this is a stand-alone device. They have one that has a dictionary, one without, just for those testing purposes. It is about $250, but it is actually, I've had hands-on with it, it's a pretty good option if you really need something that is a stand-alone idea. So we really talk about overall reading accommodations. There is two big players in the field for this, Texthelp and Don Johnston. They both have really great products. They are definitely on the market and always creating things. As I talked about, that Read&Write for Google Chrome, it adds in word predictability, text-to-speech, speech-to-text. It has the ability to have students highlight information and they can pull things they highlight, whether it be on a document or even on a website, and pull them into a new Google document. So that there is a lot they can do. It's really robust in what it does. They've built in now Fluencytutor into the Chrome extension as well, which allows you to assign things where students can record themselves reading and you can listen to it later and keep track of those fluency goals that you want for them. It's really nice to see they've added that in to the Chrome Extension as well. And really fluid in ease for the teacher and student. Really more in that Chrome or Chrome-based web environment, not going to work on tablet environment. Don Johnston, one of their great tools that I like to highlight is Snap&Read. This is something that it does have an iPad app. It also functions in Chrome. And it can layer over and allow students to read, have websites and things read to them, and engage a little bit more with some of their reading tools. They are both great companies to touch base with. If you want to know more about them, both companies are really great and I highly recommend exploring those tools if you need that kind of environment. And the Snap&Read, from my experience in a tablet, and again, in an iPad environment, the built in is just as good, but I do like Snap&Read in a web-based environment. I think it adds a lot to it, but both have really great features and options to do. And I see somebody is talking about, yeah, the leveling tool in Snap&Read is a really great point to bring up Bonnie, thank you. So another great tool that helps with reading and this is from Texthelp, it's Snapverter. This was really a game-changer for me this year with a student I had that was using a laptop. So Snapverter is a Chrome extension. It's built in a, as you can see, I have what looks like is my Google Drive. So Snapverter installs folders, a set of folders, into your Google Drive and if you take an image of a document, a PDF, and you drop it in where it says Drop to Convert, it will convert it for you into accessible text, which was really a good thing for a lot of my students. And I actually tested it with a student this year who was on a laptop base and I had him install Snapverter. He had his folders, and as the teacher I was able to share his Snapverter folder in Google Drive, to me. So if I just wanted to make a document accessible to him, I didn't have to put it in mine, convert it, and share. I just dropped it in to his Snapverter Drop to Convert, and he automatically had it. So if you just had a few students you need to do this with, that probably would be the best way to do it. Have them install it, share it to you, and then you could drop whatever needs to be in it, automatically goes there to them. Otherwise initially I would drop it into mine and then share it out. But it's a pretty seamless, easy thing for a teacher to do, because you're not to the whole big scanning things. Again, I think I just took a picture on my phone and dropped it in and it does all the work for you, so definitely one to check out. So one of the key things that was always hard is when you come to something like right now, with a webinar for an hour, you hearing a lot of tools, and I see somebody talking about it. It's hard, you hear them, I'm telling you as best as I can about them without being able to show you everything. One of the things I love about TextHelp is their YouTube Channel. They have lots of videos, whether it be an introduction to their videos or a really how to engage, they are really robust and well put together, so if you really want to know more about how to use their tools, subscribe to the TextHelp YouTube Channel. You will learn a lot. That's how I've gotten a lot to figure out their tool's used and they're constantly adding more as they update their tools. So to the person who asked about how does this works, definitely go there and check it out. The key thing is also some resources for educators as well as families. And the two big players I would talk about would be Bookshare and Learning Ally. Bookshare is free for qualified users, which means you would have to prove that there is a learning disability in place. My school they've allowed because we are a special ed school. I can actually qualify all of my students, But they use a digitized voice and it's of literature-based books. So not textbooks, this is not your resource for textbooks but any student who has a book and wants it in accessible format, this is where they could go and download unlimited books and use whatever tool may be. They have improved it in the last year. It's really a browser-based. You don't need any extensions or add-ons. Quite a robust library and they're constantly adding more. My favorite on an iPad is to use a third party app, known as Voice Dream Reader. I just really love all the accessibility features in Voice Dream Reader. It's an app that was not designed for accessibility but the developer is a really great person who has found that if people using it for accessibility. and there is, you can adjust the number of lines that are seen, the text spacing, the line spacing, the colors, adjusting the speech rate just within the app. And download book sharing to it as well as many other resources. So if you're in an iOS environment checking out Voice Dream, but really just looking at Bookshare and families can qualify or schools can qualify for those students. It's a really tool great and they keep improving it. I had this conversation with someone at the Assistive Technology Conference and they're really eager to get more people knowing about their service. Another big one is Learning Ally. They are a resource for many things. They are fee based. Families can seek it on their own or schools can work with them directly. Big difference is they have a human voice reading and they're really that resource for textbooks, but they also have literature books. And they have their own tools to use for that. Both great resources. I know families that use both. I know teachers that use both. And really a place to go, Learning Ally is also really great about having other information to help families out. So if you are a person who's working with a family who needs a bit more information, Learning Ally is one of those places, they could start to have a bit more information. But also for teachers. So two really great resources. So if we're gonna get into reading a little bit more, there's also that idea of decoding. Particularly if you're probably working in that elementary level. So some of the tools that are out there. Lexia is a big one. It has been around for a significant amount of time. My school has used it from when it was a disk-based and now they're web-based, it's really great. It can be used from very young ages to older ages. They have two programs, Core Five, which is really more geared for elementary just based on the way it looks. It's a little bit more gamey, a little bit more cutesy. But they have an older program called Strategies. But Strategies does work with students who are older and are really low decoders. So it's just designed a little bit more to look a little less gamey, a little bit more formal, so the students don't feel like they're doing things. It also goes a little bit further up. They also have started with a program known Rapid Assessment which is really designed to delve deeper into giving teachers and schools a little bit more data for students and how to program them. Something actually my school is starting to use this year to really see what data points we can get at a dyslexia program. We use it as support. It is not meant to be for instruction, but it can really provide some great practice and teachers can design and assign students to work on specific things. So even though there's an assessment piece within it even if you don't use the Rapid Assessment, teachers can adjust to say I just want the students to work on these things, which is really great. Sound Literacy is an iOS app. If you are a school or person using Wilson, I think this goes back to which I have used Wilson, the reading program, they have that magnetic board where the tiles that you can move around and manipulate. Students can maneuver and manipulate. Sound Literacy is that on an iOS app. And so it's nice cause you don't have to carry it around. It's about $25 so it's not inexpensive at all, but it was designed by a Speech-Language Pathologist. There is no sound with this letter tile, so it's just purely for manipulation. But what is also nice in it, if you work with several students and you use this app, you can have tile sets for a number of students within the app. And goes all the way up through high levels of sound structures and things, not just the letters, but the combinations and pairings and things like that. So definitely worth checking out. If you're on Facebook, she has a really great Facebook page providing information all the time and ways to use it. So it's really great. Classkick, so Classkick is not an app really designed for anything specific. I equate it to one of my favorite apps, Explain Everything. Problem is with Explain Everything was it is only iOS and it has a cost to it, but really can do some great things with it. So Classkick is basically a plain, whiteboard app. It is free. It is device agnostic, so they have a website, they have an app that can be used anywhere, but I, as a person who teaches reading, have found ways to leverage it to teach reading. And I'm gonna give a demonstration of an activity of a student that I had doing that. You just have to think open-minded that there are tools within Classkick for students to record their voice, teachers to record their voice. Students to draw, teachers to draw. Add images, add text. It is blank but there are some great activities you can do to engage with it. One of the other things I love about Classkick is I as the teacher will design a lesson to engage students. When I do that, I can then share it to them through a code and a roster. It's a pretty basic thing. And I, as the teacher, when I share it, can go in and see live, or later, it saves the information, what each student is doing at that exact time. The student can, in the app or on the website, there's a little icon to raise their hand to ask for help, and I can go onto the student's screen within the app myself and provide feedback. So yes, Classkick. I think this is the next. The video we're gonna have will be to show a student doing a reading activity that I designed. And I'll explain it. This might buffer a little bit, but hopefully you get the idea.

- [Student] Finisher.

- [iPad] Wildly. Zai, do your stuff.

- [Student] Finisher.

- Zai, do your stuff.

- You can see what is on screen is directions of what the student is supposed to do, what she was supposed to mark the suffix, the ending, which she could do. She had to copy it over for spelling purposes and then record herself saying it for decoding purposes. And I retain this data. It's stays there even after she closes it out. I have it on my end and can use it for showing her parents later or showing her. What I also like about this is you can build in numerous things throughout the slides and it's shared to them but I sometimes have a student who can't complete as many. They can't complete or they go too fast, so I can say okay, when we stop, we stop, but I still have all that data and everyone can work at their own pace. And you can create many things within this tool to engage students because there are definitely multi-modal tools for them to be part of the activity. So for reading for differentiated non-fiction, I think most people are probably most common with Newsela. Newsela has been around for a little bit. It is a really great place for non-fiction articles. And when a teacher can go in and assign it and it can be adjusted by Lexile level. The teacher and the students have the ability to adjust it by Lexile level. The students don't know what that means. They just see a number and they go up and down. And the teacher, if you can get the feedback at what level they read it at and it's followed by about four multiple choice questions. You can also add in some writing assignments to certain articles. There is a free level which is one, if you ever start with it, I'd start with the free level and then there is a paid level that gives a little bit more teacher data. But a great place I think for science and social studies or working with kids with non-fiction articles because again, one student, and I'm gonna give an example in a minute, that you can have the same article adjusted to different levels, but they're getting the same content idea. So you can have a student who is reading an article at a lower level, but they're gonna still be able to engage in that class discussion or group discussion because they have the same concept of what is being written. Front Row also has a component to this. Front Row has also a free and a paid level. One of the reasons I'm a fan of Front Row for the idea of the non-fiction is when it goes in it gives the student a brief assessment and then adjusts to give an idea of what reading level they should be at, so when the teacher assigns an article, the teacher controls the level of the article for the students. So I have had in the past, when I did Newsela, students would pick the really high level or the really low level, and I didn't want them there, so I like the controls of Front Row because at each time I assign an article I can leave it where it says I should, adjust it up, adjust it down, and the student can't touch it. Again, it is non-fiction and it is followed by about four multiple choice questions. So here is an example of a Newsela article and I could adjust it to a Lexile level or assign it at this level to be read, but the students have the ability within the side to pick what they're going to read it at. And again, the same article written at a second grade level, we'll adjust it. It changes the title, changes the wording. Makes it more, more simplistic but allows the student to again have the same information, just written at a level that is more appropriate to them. Some other tools that you can use to support comprehension. One of my favorites right now is Actively Learn. I use it with literature classes. They have free content. They have some paid content. I just used it for a literature class last year and I rented a book through their service. And I as the teacher could build in questions directly through the text. So I didn't have to say read Chapter One tonight and go fill out this Google Doc of questions. The questions were right within there and I could put them wherever I wanted and I could give feedback right within the tool and have students go in and adjust them and fix them. They could see each other's answers afterwards. Really great tool. It's free except if you're going to rent the books. CommonLit is another one, very much similar. ReadWorks which is another robust service with a lot of articles. They have text sets, they have non-fiction, fiction. They have a digital tool that they came out with. If you're working with younger kids, Reading Comprehension Booster is a way to have students show what they know in the app. It's kind of fun and cute for setting and characters. Just another way to engage them. LitCharts is something that it's made, I think, of Backfield Cliff Notes. Those yellow and black books, I could picture them now, for all those tools. LitCharts is a more modern of that created by SparkNotes. So just some other tools that are out there that you can engage students in different ways. Again one of the reasons I use Actively Learn as well is for that accessibility piece. Students can listen to the text within Actively Learn so if they can't be reading it, they have the ability to listen to it through a tool built into their site. So before we go on, does anybody have any specific questions about reading, reading tools, any of the tools that I shared? I see Sally talks about, yeah, primarily English speakers. That is the population that I work with, but I think some of the tools out there might have some ability to work with English language speakers but it's not so much strong in the area with the population that I'm working with. And again, I'm gonna throw a lot at you. Yes, Reading Booster is an app. And it's again, definitely for elementary students that allows them to share how they know and create that knowledge and engaging with text. Thank you Nancy, Newsela does have articles in Spanish.

- [Webinar Host] Sharon, is looking for information about maybe having an apps to photo a page of text and have it read to the person. Do you have any information about that?

- [Sharon] Yeah, that would go back to if you're using an app, that would be that Claro. Let me go back quick so I can. The Claro ScanPen is an app. It will take pictures of text and immediately be able to read within it. It's so much simpler. There was one a while ago, Prizmo, but it was a little quirky and didn't always take it. This is a really, Claro ScanPen, if you have a student who has any tablet device, again it's Android or Apple, is a really great tool to introduce people to. I like it cause I also introduce it to kids who have an iPhone who might then go out and need to have a menu read to them. And talk about that conversation that they could take a picture of anything out there on their phone, on their tablet, and have any text read to them. And thank you Bonnie, that again, if you work with that population, that Snap&Read, which is that Don Johnston tool, is able to convert text to Spanish and level the text in Spanish. That's really great information to know for those working with that population. That's really great. So move along into some areas of writing. So one of the things we focus on too is grammar practice. NoRedInk has been around for a bit of time. It's one I've used with my writing students. It's really a nice way to engage them and beyond. I think that those traditional text worksheets that you had to mark-up and things like that, it's also neat because students, when then go in, and they answer some questions about their preferences and then some of the sentence work that they do, the website creates sentences about those topics. So kids kind of find it when they see their name or their interests pop up in them as they're working on them. One that was introduced to me last year at an Ed Camp, I haven't had a lot of time to play with it cause I didn't have a writing class, but I was told that it was a favorite over NoRedInk, was Grammar Ninja. And having taken a look at it, it looks engaging. I have some writing teachers I'm going to have work with it this year. But those, just a nice different way that provides something that kids can do online so that they can use if they need it. Those accessible features to listen to text and things like that. Which is why I like using websites with kids who learn differently, because they can use built-in features if they're not built into the tool, to listen and engage with text. And if you're on an iOS environment, there are two apps that I love from McGraw Hill. Grammar Wonderland, there's the Primary, and there's Elementary. It's definitely gamey and game-based but a fun way to have students work with that concept of grammar. So we talk about writing engagement, one of those really challenging areas for kids with learning disabilities. One of my favorite apps that I had started with lower schools was Write About This. It is a paid app. They do have a free level. But it's images that have, and they have a space within there, there's an image and they usually have three different writing fonts you can do and they work with it right within the environment. But it definitely was elementary based and about a year or so ago, they came up with Write About. Write About is a website and it's meant for those older age students, so middle school on up. So if you're looking for some great writing prompts and ways to have students do that, those are two great tools to engage with from the same company. One of my favorites has been for a while just to engage students cause writing topics, whether it be, it's always so had for them to develop. Storybird, Storybird, so it's more of that tool to create engagement, not necessarily accessibility, but it is a sit full of great, amazing artwork. And students can really go through and craft their own stories. They can create a book and do all the writing right within the website. It is device agnostic, so you can just access the website anywhere. But if you go in and check out the artwork, it would inspire anyone to write. If you're using an iPad or anything like that, Story Starters is another great tool for younger kids just to give an idea to help prompt, to get them going. Snap and Type were I think of what Write About just did where they took a picture and created a prompt. Snap and Type you can take a picture yourself and create the prompt and have students work with that. And a new tool that came across last year is called Writable K12. They're really great people. They actually had started another company that I had used related to books, kind of like Actively Learn where you could build questions in and then it got bought by Rennasainse Learning and these people then went and created Get Writable, or Writable K12. They over the last year been working to pilot it, so actually if you're willing to pilot it, they will give it to you for free. The teacher end currently is free. The student end is about, I think it was a dollar a month. I just had a conversation with them. They went away from the iPad app. It's now just all web-based no matter what the device is. But what was really great is the engagement and feedback that can happen right within the tool, that you can provide feedback, peers can provide feedback anonymously. There is a lot of layering. I had my writing department head talk with the creators and she was really impressed by the layer of scaffolding and things that could be done within this tool to provide students writing feedback. So definitely one to look at. They are really great, the two creators. They are happy to Google Hangout and to share more again and are looking for schools to pilot it to help their data so if you have enough you can use it for free. Mind Mapping, always a big thing to help students brainstorm ideas. Inspiration's been around for a really long time. I'm still not a fan of the desktop software. I love the iOS software. One of the big things for me with the iOS software is when you create a mind map in Inspiration on the iPad, you can convert it to an outline and export that outline directly into pages. So a student doesn't need to then go recreate this outline or the words they've already put down on paper. They can simply take that outline now in pages and turn those brainstorming ideas directly into sentences. Or printing it out and having to copy it over. So I'd always run into this challenge where I couldn't do that in Google Docs and luckily for the power of Twitter, had reached out to a couple of companies that did Mind Mapping and Mindmeister reached out and said oh we do have this way to do that. So if you're in a Google environment using Chrome or web-based, Mindmeister, they have a Chrome extension at the website. There is a level of free to paid, depending on how many mind maps you want to make. But they have directions on how to take that outline, or that mind map, and export it into a Google Doc, so just like I explained for Inspiration, it would be there in an outline format and the student could edit it and turn those ideas directly into sentences. It's really taking away a step, which is what can be key for kids. That can be a struggle for writing. Why am I gonna go create a mind map and you're gonna ask me to type the same thing over? That takes away a layer. Popplet I love, specifically for elementary school kids, because it is simple. It is very clean, they can't add a lot of things. I have trouble with Inspiration with some of my elementary school kids, and even Inspiration, they want to add all the pictures. There is none of that in Popplet. Popplet is just very basic. They actually have a great teacher resource area with other ideas and how to use their tools. I love it too. I've used it with kids cause they can color-code the boxes. So I might have them color-code, and then one color, this is your paragraph. And the next color, this is your next paragraph. But just simple and easy, particularly for those ADD kids. And one people don't often think about for mind mapping, it's really an open tool but I've used it. It's Padlet. I like Padlet because it is again, open source that does not matter the device. I as a teacher could create a topic and share it out to my students and they can all brainstorm at the same time onto the same Padlet. So it can be showing up on the screen, it could be on their screen, and we could brainstorm ideas together. And craft them into a story. Just a tool that is more open but can be used in an idea of mind mapping. And again we go back to those two big companies, Don Johnston and TextHelp. Don Johnston, if you're looking for a more things with stronger word prediction, that text-to-speech, speech-to-text, that has a little bit more to it than what's built into devices, they have Co-Writer. It's been around for a very long time. They now have Co-Writer Universal. So if you have a student working on it at school and they need to go home to a different device, they can access that same tool anywhere. It's really one of the tools that I really like a lot. TextHelp with that Read&Write, that is one of the same kind of tool to be using. If you're a teacher, by the way, Read&Write for Chrome is free for the teacher with an education based email. So when you go sign up and you download it, you will have all of those services for free. So one you can go in and play with it and see what it's like or have a student use your device. Both of those add a little bit more in than what is built in the devices for that word connection. And again, some of the vocabulary, I know Read&Write again, has a picture dictionary and ability to highlight, but they both have a lot more layers, scaffolding for writing. And of course, as we talked about before, there is voice typing in Google Docs. One key thing that I've been working with with a student is my big challenge is when students type things I try to really encourage them to then highlight it and listen to it or if they're speaking it, having it read back to them and how to teach them how to do that. Because sometimes things don't come out the right way or we have auto correct, which totally changes it. I have particular student I worked with this specifically on, she really wants to be typing, word prediction was not, or speaking-to-text was not great, word prediction was not her avenue, she was really wanting to type, but she was not paying attention to what she typed. So under, and this is again an iOS feature in Accessibility that, under Speech, there's a feature you can turn on called Typing Feedback. So as soon as the student starts typing, it reads back exactly what they've typed so they can hear immediately what is being said and hopefully make those corrections and pay attention to that versus having to go back and highlight it and have it read to them. Just another feature where you can layer in a layer of scaffolding that a student can hear what's going on and make those corrections and being aware of what their putting down on paper, which can often be a big challenge. And of course there's always that grammar checking. The two big ones out there are Grammarly and Ginger. Ginger has an iOS app, Grammarly is just web-based. They both are great tools. They have a free level and a paid level, but just to help students with some of the grammar corrections. I use it when I write reports. I put it in there to make sure I've worded things well. They also have layers where they can add in, help give you suggestions on how to write things in other ways. Really great tools, again, they both have Chrome extensions. But if you're in an iOS environment, Ginger's gonna be your option. I find, as an adult, definitely a great tool for me, so really engaging students to help them with some of that and giving independence is so key. And this gives them a layer of independence to do some of the correcting on their own, because unfortunately we're not always there and they need to learn what is available to them to help them through this process. It is a tool that I find I have to spend some time helping students work with so they realize what it's doing. It's not just a here, have it, and walk away. And probably most of the tools can be said for that. And then there's always digital storytelling, which I think can be really done at any age. A lot of the tools out there are designed for younger students. Puppet Pals is a great iOS app. Toontastic, one I've loved for a while, got bought by Google, they've done some great things with it. If you're in the Chrome environment, PowToon is a great place for that digital storytelling. StoryboardThat is a website, it makes comic-like digital storytelling. Really fun to play with and create comic strips. And a tool that is really designed for many things would be Adobe Spark Video. This allows people to put in images, text, and then record their voice. So you could have an image and go through and tell a story with just the images that are there and students record their voice slide by slide. A little bit more that it would be like in a presentation, like a PowerPoint, Keynote kind of tool. It's more design, there's music. They can play with the text. It's free, which I love, and can be a lot of fun for students to play with. It works in a website as well as an app. They have, if you're older level for storytelling, although not digital, Adobe has another layer up from Spark that involves images and text. To me, I think it's website based, but instead of just taking an image in a Google doc and plopping it on there there's a layer where images roll over text, a lot of fun to play with. It's called Adobe Spark Post. But if you check those out, really different ways to engage students with writing. I love digital story telling because I can get students giving words and crafting stories without having to worry about the laborious task that may be typing or handwriting. And once they get engaged in the idea of story telling, sometimes those are the students that I really move into using dictations to do their writing, because they've now learned how to tell a story. It's not a hard sell to then say, okay, let's tell that same story and it's gonna appear in text onto a document. And another great tool many people are a fan of is Book Creator. It can be used in really any content area. I love that they've only been iOS for a very long time, but they just this summer released a Chrome extension. So teachers and students can use this to create and share content. It's definitely multi-modal. I've used it with students to create their own books and then they can share it out. But even if you're as a teacher, have had people share to me how they've used it to create accessible text for their students, because you can use the accessibility features of a device, you can add in your own voice to read things to them. You can add in images where it may be, really kind of blank slate to create it as whatever it may be. They actually just created a really great Facebook group for people to share ideas. So if you're on Facebook, see if you can find the Book Creator Facebook group. It has teachers from all over the world sharing how they're using it. But there is a lot, really amazing that a lot of people who work with kids who learn differently, who have learning disabilities in many levels who are using it just for that purpose, to give content to students, or have students provide content back to them. And I'll jump through quickly to spelling too, because it's part of writing. One of my favorites is Touch-Type Read and Spell. It is subscription based, but it provides sound feedback, word feedback, it's really building in for those kids those words and sounds and typing. It has a really great demo on the screen to show them where their fingers should be. They have an iPad version as well as the web-based version. It can really provide some of that great typing practice with also that reading and spelling. Word Wizard is an iOS app. I think somewhat back to the Wilson tool of the magnets, but it does provide sounds. Some of the sounds are not 100% great if you're really a purist, but it can be a fun way for kids to play with sounds and letters to say words. Simplex Spelling has a series of iOS apps that really, to me, follow that structure literacy, I am an Oregontrained teacher. It has some really great apps that can help provide individualized practice. And another way to always engage kids is one of my favorite tools, Vocabulary and Spelling City. There are some activities that are beyond the traditional spelling activities for students, but there's also the accessibility features of reading. And I'm gonna show you one more time in that tool with Classkick that I used for spelling, because, again, it's a blank slate. I'm gonna give you a spelling activity that I did with a student for that.

- [Computer] Thankless. Thankless.

- [Student] I don't know why I keep touching that, I feel like I'm going to the next page.

- [Computer] Nameless.