Assistive Technology class prepares students for later in life

Rolph Literacy Academy instructor Tammi Hope is passionate about giving her students the tools they need to succeed. That is why she spends her school-day afternoons teaching our Assistive Technology class.

Assistive technology can help dyslexic students overcome some of the struggles they encounter daily, like poor handwriting or spelling when completing school work. RLA has about 30 iPads available for students to use while practicing their technology skills.

Tammi said she begins Assistive Technology students out using their listening skills by having the technology read aloud to them. This can be done using Siri on an Apple device or the iBooks app.

“Until students get used to listening to the computer’s automated voice, they will not be able to comprehend,” she said.

Students as young as 6 in Tammi’s class have been receiving a “mission” each day via the iPad’s read-aloud technology. The iPad gives instructions, and the students are able to listen to the instructions as many times as they need to at whatever volume and speed feels comfortable to them.

For the students’ first mission, they were given personalized clues to find a stuffed animal in the Fundamental Learning Center courtyard. Students had to use critical thinking skills to find the animal specific to their clues.

As individual animals were located, cries of joy could be heard throughout the courtyard.

“I found my kitty, and I love it so much,” 7-year-old Aurora said.

The combination of teaching the students the technology skills and also employing their critical thinking and creativity skills has proven a win for Tammi’s class. Other missions have include building particular structures out of Legos and play dough and designing businesses.

Later in the academic year, Tammi will give the students the tools they need to speak to the computer using talk-to-text technology and practice their typing skills. Our goal is that when RLA students filter back into a regular school, the students will be able to request accommodations using technology assistance.

Below is a list of assistive technology the Fundamental Learning Center staff has come across to help students. FLC doesn’t necessarily recommend every site for every situation, but we recommend looking into the best assistance for each child as it is needed.

Audio Assistance

iPads and iBooks

Android Books

Kindle or Fire tablets

Learning Ally (audio books)

Audible

Bookshare

Writing Assistance

Smartpens

Apple speech to text

Android speech to text

Kurzweil Education products

Dragon NaturallySpeaking

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