Listing all posts with label reading apps. Show all posts.
  1. 13 Tips to Enhance e-Learning with Physical, Digital & Sensory Resources
    (Article originally published via the ReadSpeaker.com blog on February 9, 2016)

    Educators know that getting and keeping students engaged in a lesson is challenging, but it is also key to learning success. Incorporating different kinds of strategies into a lesson plan will go a long way to ensure a higher level of student engagement, especially when these methods appeal to one or more of the students’ five senses. The more senses involved, the better the engagement, mastery level of the content and the retention thereof.

    In our world of education today where technology has become an integral part of learning, one might ask, how can I develop “sensory” units of study when so much of what we do in the classroom involves computers and tablets?

    Here is a list of 13 ways to incorporate low-tech, high-tech and sensory strategies into a unit of study:
     
    1.     Allow for the recording of oral notes from an online lesson with a micro-cassette recorder or other inexpensive recording device. When a main idea is presented in the digital text, it can then be recorded for future reference. The essential points that support each main idea should also be recorded as they are discovered in the text. Play back the oral notes for a variety of further study activities: to help create more accurate written notes, to facilitate in writing an essay, to review content at test time or to share with a study group. This is a good strategy for auditory learners.
     
    2.     Arrange for all course and book content to be made available via audiotape or CD. This will be another very helpful strategy for students who learn best by listening.
     
    3.     Use sensory-appealing tools to help isolate 1 or 2 lines of text for individuals with focusing challenges. These types of tools can help visual as well as tactile learners with their use of color, soft materials and other features. Many students can easily be overwhelmed by too much text on a computer, e-reader or tablet screen. For such an issue, a student might use these physical tools to help focus on each line of text and block out a large amount of surrounding text on a screen. This approach can make reading assignments much more manageable, breaking down the content into chunks or small sections.
     
    4.     Allow for access to a copy of prepared notes, especially after an online lesson or presentation. This will give students the benefit of knowing which ideas and points are important in a unit of study for an online lesson. This can be most helpful to students with attention and focus issues, writing challenges such as dysgraphia or other difficulties.
     
    5.     Provide stick-on notes for writing down main ideas from a lesson or study unit. Then allow for them to be placed on a wall at eye level. This is an effective strategy for visual learners and/or individuals with executive function challenges (memory, etc.)
     
    6.     Allow for the use of colored paper for handwritten and printed materials including worksheets, outlines, notes, etc. Experiment with pastels as well as bright shades. One particular color may produce significant results for each individual reader. White page backgrounds with black text in particular can cause “visual stress” for more than a few readers.
     
    7.     Along the same lines, consider the use of anti-glare computer screen filters and/or colored screen overlays when reading online content. These can decrease visually-offensive glare often caused by overhead florescent lighting, increase focus, diminish “visual stress” and help lengthen online reading and working periods. It is also recommended that appropriate colored overlays or films for smartboards and dry erase boards also be used for these purposes.
     
    8.     Allow for some kind of movement when reading online content. Also, permit kneeling or standing at a computer desk (if needed), as long as it does not cause problems or distractions for others. A standing computer desk can be a huge benefit to a kinesthetic learner or to an individual with ADHD. For an even lower-tech idea, consider attaching a “soundless” elastic band or bungee cord across the 2 front legs of a non-rolling computer chair. While seated and reading online, this will allow for feet to move within a small space and can be helpful for children who must “fidget” to focus. Stress balls can provide another option or additional support for some learners.
     
    9.     Consider adding 1 or more therapy balls as another seating option for students, as they work with computers or other tech devices. These types of balls strengthen core muscles and can be very therapeutic for kids who need to wiggle. These also can help develop proper posture, improved sitting habits and are good for children with sensory needs.
     
    10.   Permit the use of very low-volume music (instrumental) or environmental sounds (seashore, birds, etc.) while doing independent work online. Be sure to provide headphones in a classroom setting for this strategy, of course.
     
    11.   Allow students to work cooperatively with others at times as part of a “buddy” system of support. This can be an excellent strategy for interpersonal learning styles. Some students simply need to talk and interact in order to learn and retain information successfully.
     
    12.   Utilize text-to-speech technology, especially for students with reading challenges and for individuals who are auditory learners. Listening while reading to a text at the same time can greatly increase reading comprehension. This can be a particularly good strategy for students with dyslexia or those with low vision.
     
    13.   Seek out and implement the use of effective software applications to better enable individuals to focus and read digital media with more success (whether online or offline).
     
    With these tips in mind, you can begin to incorporate and discover the right match between tech tools and a student’s needs. It may take some time and effort, but the appropriate combination of assistive technology tools and tips can be instrumental in helping a student become a much more successful and independent learner.
     
    Sources:
     
    1.   ReadSpeaker: Use the power of ReadSpeaker text-to-speech to give a voice to your websites, mobile apps, digital books, e-learning materials, documents, and more!
    2.   ReadSpeaker Blog: Original article published February 9, 2016, 13 Tips to Enhance e-Learning with Low-tech, High-tech & Sensory Resources
    3.   Brennan Innovators, LLC: Strategies & Accommodations for Challenged Readers
  2. 2 Literacy Apps That Work TOGETHER to Help ADHD & Dyslexic Readers Succeed!  

    With these 2 desktop apps in your tech toolbox, you'll be ready to support even more challenged readers!

    Children and adults who struggle to read, especially individuals with ADHD and dyslexia, have many more options available to them today than they did only a few years ago. Now, there are many assistive technologies possible that were not even dreamed about a decade ago. Today, both higher-level tech resources and low-tech tools can offer much help for unfocused or otherwise challenged readers.

    Some of these technologies can even be combined in order to better help the estimated 1 in 5 persons in the U.S. challenged with dyslexia or the 8 to 13% (depending on the state) of school-aged children in our country who have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorders (ADHD). These individuals can find it particularly difficult to focus, track, concentrate, comprehend and retain information when reading, especially for extended periods or when many pages of digital text must be read at a time.

    One of the most popular and easily recognizable technologies to help these challenged readers is Amazon's Kindle, the well-known e-reader launched in late 2007 that has been most disruptive to the publishing world. The Kindle technology enables readers to eliminate glare with a unique screen, diminish the starkness of white page backgrounds behind dark, virtual text, manipulate font or text sizes and more to assist persons with various reading issues.

    Turn Your Computer into a Kindle with This App from Amazon!

    If this upfront cost is prohibitive, readers should seriously consider downloading the FREE Kindle app to your desktop or laptop, whether it is a Mac or Windows PC (the app is also available for other tech devices as well via the same web page).  It costs nothing to turn one's computer into a virtual Kindle and then immediately allows the individual to purchase e-books from Amazon.com for download directly to your computer. Kindle app download link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page/
     
    Add The Reading Focus Cards Desktop App to the Kindle App & Watch What Happens on Your Desktop!

    For challenged readers who often struggle with focus and attention, tracking, comprehension and retention, it would be hard to beat the combination of the Kindle app AND an innovative application called the Reading Focus Cards desktop app (Patent 8,360,779) for Macs and Windows PC's.  If you know a challenged student or other struggling reader with ADHD or dyslexia, this 2-app combination can enable that individual to experience more comfortably focused, sustained and successful reading of e-books or other digital media.

    When in use, the virtual Reading Focus Card actually floats on top AND stays on top of e-book pages or any underlying application to more easily read a web page, Word or PDF document, Excel spreadsheet, e-book or other digital media. 

    If readers become overwhelmed with too much text on a digital page of an e-book, the Reading Focus Cards app directs the eye to what needs to be read WHILE covering as much or as little of the surrounding text as selected by the reader. Nearly an entire digital e-book page can be covered to improve focus on the text line needing attention.

    Reading Focus Cards desktop app download links: 

    Mac version: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-and-focus/id920617853?mt=12 
    Windows XP, 7, 8 & 10 versions: https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards
    Windows 10 version onlyhttps://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9WZDNCRDF33D

    The Reading Focus Cards desktop app will allow you to:

    Infinitely configure the virtual Reading Focus Card’s features to improve your focus & attention, decoding skills, reading rate, comprehension & retention!

    Easily move the virtual Reading Focus Card over an underlying e-book or other application on the screen with a touchpad, mouse, arrow keys or even with your fingers, where touch technology is applicable.

    – With this app's pop-up Toolbox, independently customize the color, level of transparency, height, width and orientation of both the virtual Reading Window and Reading Card, respectively, to provide more reading comfort to focus and block out distractions, keeping you focused on the text you need to read.

    Adjust the virtual Reading Focus Card to accommodate very large fonts or extensive paragraphs, if you choose!

    – Never worry about the virtual Reading Focus Card disappearing from the screen unexpectedly, even when using it with the Kindle app or other underlying programs! It floats on top AND stays on top of your computer screen, so you can scroll through e-book pages as well as read documents without interruption. You decide when to close the application.

    Special Note: Currently, mobile devices are unable to successfully support this unique, overlay-type Reading Focus Cards app that stays on top of and moves independently of the underlying media applications.

    Now, readers of any age and ability can improve their focus to read e-books as well as other digital media in greater comfort and with much more reading success. It is now possible with the combination of these 2 great apps, the Kindle app for Macs and Windows PC's AND the Reading Focus Cards desktop app.

    Happy Reading---now for everyone!
     
    Sources
    By the Numbers: 120+ Amazing Amazon Statistics (2016)
    by Craig Smith, of DMR
    http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/amazon-statistics/
     
    e-Book Statistics Update
    from Writing for Life
    http://www.livewritethrive.com/2012/06/18/ebook-statistics-update/
     
    Research-Based Literacy Tool – Helpful App for Struggling Readers
    by Jayne Clare, of Teachers With Apps
    http://www.teacherswithapps.com/research-based-literacy-tool-evolves-helpful-app-struggling-readers/
     
    Reading Focus Cards Desktop App---Patent 8,360,779 (for Macs & PC's)
    Macs: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-and-focus/id920617853?mt=12 OR visit the Mac App Store and search for the Reading Focus Cards.
    Windows PC's: https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards OR visit the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the Reading Focus Cards. (No URLs provided for apps in the Windows Store.)
     
    Kindle App for Macs, Windows PC's & Other Tech Devices
    from Amazon.com
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page/
     
    Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
    Dickens, Charles.  Great Expectations. A Public Domain Book. N.p. N.d. e-Book.
    This is the e-book available via Amazon.com used for the screenshots in this article.
    https://www.amazon.com/Great-Expectations-Charles-Dickens-ebook/dp/B0776XC2HD/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1517164369&sr=8-4&keywords=FREE+Charles+Dickens+Great+Expectations+e-book

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