I have mentioned in my previous post that I am currently taking EPSY400 and I have decided to look closely at ‘Universal Design for Learning’ and assistive technologies that enable and level the playing fields for the students with exceptionalities.
First, I was looking closely into the websites of National Center On Universal Design for Learning and CAST I came across to their accessibility policy. It made me think about the materials I prepared for my students during my internship. Did I consider the readability of slides? Fonts and colours are something that I could easily be adapted for students. EPSY400’s classmate shared his experiences with color deficiency and how his former teachers rarely adapted their writing on the whiteboard for him. He explained that he could not see any words written in green or red on the whiteboard, but he could see them if those words were boxed in with a black marker.
Then, I started to look into assistive technology for EEL/EAL learners. I am an EAL learner myself and although I manage university level writings it is not easy and I still lots of mistakes and Grammarly has become my friend this semester. I used to rely on grammar check in Microsoft Word but not anymore. Grammarly is far better than Word. It offers explanations and more suggestions. It works on writing on the web and I don’t have to write it on the separate document then copy and paste onto the web pages. I am using the free version right now, but I am considering to pay for a premium now. (If you are interested, please click the link. http://gram.ly/zM9y)
The following link (http://www.esldesk.com/reading/esl-reader) is very useful for students who struggle reading as well. You can copy and paste online articles, reading materials into the box. Then you can click the words that you have trouble reading to hear the pronunciation, and it also have dictionary and translation feature.
https://www.newsinlevels.com/ is another great resource for reading materials. You can print out news articles in 3 levels.
Google Docs (Slides too) has ‘Voice Typing’ features and Apple products have Siri. It is great for people who have difficulty writing or spelling, but it does not work well if you have an accent. I will explain this next time using screencast, but I would like to share this video.