Ed Tech to Bring to Your Pre-Service Teachers￼
Author: Samantha Goldman
In our last Affinity Group session for our “Preparing Teacher Candidates for Online and Hybrid Instruction,” we discussed some great tools to help teachers and teacher educators prepare for online and hybrid learning without “reinventing the wheel.” Our focus of these group meetings is to engage with stakeholders interested in the preparation of personnel for the preK-12 hybrid or online classroom. In this blog, we introduce multiple tech tools shared in the session that can be used for Language/Literacy and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) development.
Why This Matters
Many tech tools exist to support the access to the general education curriculum for learners with various support needs. And, several of these tools were around before the COVID school closures. It is important that we expose pre-service teachers to these tools because integrating and modeling their usage will likely increase our pre-service teachers’ technology readiness when they enter the classroom. In the next few sections, we will lay out several tools that you can take back to your pre-service teachers to be added to their digital toolkit.
Language and Literacy
There are so many tools that can easily be integrated into existing curriculum to support students’ access to language and literacy learning. These tools focus on removing barriers from reading and writing curriculum. Audiobooks are a great way to increase access to novels for students with diverse needs, such as those who struggle to decode grade-level text, have visual impairments, or simply prefer to listen to books. Local public libraries have audiobooks available for check out and/or through Overdrive. In addition, there are websites like Bookshare and Learning Ally that have audiobooks available for download. There are also several tools available to provide text-to-speech (where the computer reads the text on the screen), speech-to-text (where the learner dictates to the computer), and word prediction (where the computer anticipates the next word based on previous words typed).
|Website||Description||Free/ Paid||Tutorial Video|
|Bookshare||Audiobooks||Free for students with print disabilities||Bookshare|
|CoWriter Universal||Word prediction, Speech-to-text, Text-to-speech and other accessibility features||Paid||CoWrite|
|Grammarly||Grammar, spelling, tone writing help||Free||Grammarly|
|Learning Ally||Audiobooks||Paid||Learning Ally|
|NewELA||Relevant leveled articles||Free with Paid Upgrades||NewsELA|
|Read & Write||Word prediction text-to-speech, speech-to-text and other accessibility features||Paid, but free for K-12 Teachers||Read & Write|
|Snap and Read||Text-to-speech and other accessibility features||Paid||Snap and Read|
|Google Voice Typing||Speech-to-text||Free||Google Voice Typing|
Assisting SEL skills development in the hybrid and online classroom seems like a daunting, if not an impossible task, because students are not around each other to interact. However, the following resources/tools provide support for students to learn and practice social skills in the online environment. One benefit of these online tools is they allow students to practice SEL skills in a safe and nonjudgemental way.
Bringing It Into Your Classroom
What ways have you integrated these tech tools into your classroom to model for your pre-service teachers? How have you helped them bring these tools to their students? What other tools do you use to support your teachers in providing high-quality language, literacy, and social-emotional development in their own classrooms? What tools would you like more information on? Head over to our community and share your ideas!