In this article published on LearningBird.com, an Ontario elementary school teacher describes some technological tools and strategies that can help teachers increase inclusion in the classroom.
- Rethink Group Work
The familiar approaches to group work in a classroom are “mixed-ability grouping” and “ability grouping.” Mixed ability grouping puts stronger students with the struggling students; the stronger kids end up teaching position but may not learn as much. On the other hand, grouping by ability, such as reading level is not always the healthiest form of group work, and “does nothing for their motivation.” To make group work more inclusive and effective, many teachers are creating groups by ability-level, but assigning the same task to every group. Through this method, students work with other students at their own level, potentially tapping into their own problem solving methods.
Screencasting is technology that allows students to present drawings, mathematical equations, or brainstorming notes through a multitude of tools: writing tools, audio recordings, pictures, text, or videos that can all be rolled into a slideshow. As students build the slideshow, the app records students at work, as they form ideas and build their end product. This type of app allows a teacher to monitor whether the approach to group work is effective. It also provides assistive technology features. For example, a student can record his voice instead of typing. Students can explain ideas through the built-in pen tool, and upload pictures or videos to support their ideas. Educreations, ShowMe and Explain Everything are some screen casting programs designed for classroom use.
- The Livescribe Pen
As the Livescribe Pen records notes, it can also record and overlay audio such as a teacher’s instructions. Students write in the notebook and see their writing appear in a digital document. Once the note appears in the app, students can then turn it into computer text. They can also tap on specific places in their notes to play back audio that was recorded during that moment in time. Audio recording can support students who struggle to write notes. This type of tool promotes student inclusion because teachers don’t have to worry about important information being missed, while allowing students a level of independence.
- WordQ Predictive Typing Software
For students who struggle with motor skills, spelling, learning a specific language, or writing in general, language software helps students be independent while writing, and allow for a greater sense of inclusion during the writing process. WordQ is a word prediction program. As a student begins to type, the program will provide a dropdown list of predicted words. The program learns with the student, becoming more accurate with predictions based on the writer’s style.
LearningBird.com itself is a deep resource for educators. Read the remaining four tips and explore this learning resource here