Trends in Assistive Technology

Mary Silgals, MLIS, M.Ed., is an important educator at Trident Academy. In addition to serving many roles at the school, she has implemented strategies and programs that have elevated Trident Academy as a leader in assistive technologies for students with learning disabilities. Technology’s constant evolution has had a significant impact on the classroom, and Ms. Silgals has kept Trident Academy at the forefront of many trends including one-to-one computing.

“In the past, many parents, educators, and administrators were concerned about Internet viruses and use of technology during school hours. Now these concerns are less of an issue and there’s a one-to-one movement underway,” Ms. Silgals explains. “With one-to-one computing, each student has a tablet or laptop.”

“At Trident Academy, we’ve encouraged students to use assistive devices for years. Our classroom teachers understand and embrace the importance of assistive devices for students with learning differences. While other schools may be just beginning to embrace technology, we are constantly exploring new apps, software, and one-to-one iPads.”

Ms. Silgals offers several recommendations for use both in the classroom and at home. These recommendations, which hold no endorsement over similar products, are below.

Assistive Technology for Reading
Students who struggle with reading may prefer electronically supported text; electronic devices can provide additional information, sounds, or graphics built into the text to provide reading assistance and promote comprehension. Two examples of apps our students use include Kno and Scholastic Storia.

For students who retain and understand information better when text is accompanied with an audio option, Apple’s VoiceOver and the Snap & Read apps are ideal. Vbookz will also turn PDF text files into audible versions.

Students who struggle with dysgraphia have a difficult time with writing. FoxIt Reader is a helpful app for completing forms or worksheets.

Assistive Technology for Writing
A learning difference can make it difficult to organize thoughts and prewrite. Graphic organizers such as those using the Inspiration software app or on inspiration.com are a great help for students.

If a student who is otherwise a great writer struggles with spelling or reading, they may level the playing field by using text-to-speech programs that reflect their true abilities. Such programs include Don Johnston’s Write Outloud and Read & Write Gold.

Word prediction programs like Ginger Software or the AppWriter app help students who struggle with spelling.

Ms. Silgals serves as the Librarian and Media Specialist at Trident Academy. She has made presentations across the nation on assistive technology. She also opened South Carolina’s first assistive technology lab for students with learning differences. Ms. Silgals is a SCISA Master Teacher, has earned a Master’s in Library and Informational Science, as well as a Master of Education in technology.

For more information, contact Mary Silgals at msilgals@tridentacademy.com.

Mary Silgals, MLIS, M.Ed., is an important educator at Trident Academy. In addition to serving many roles at the school, she has implemented strategies and programs that have elevated Trident Academy as a leader in assistive technologies for students with learning disabilities. Technology’s constant evolution has had a significant impact on the classroom, and Ms. Silgals has kept Trident Academy at the forefront of many trends including one-to-one computing.
“In the past, many parents, educators, and administrators were concerned about Internet viruses and use of technology during school hours. Now these concerns are less of an issue and there’s a one-to-one movement underway,” Ms. Silgals explains. “With one-to-one computing, each student has a tablet or laptop.”
“At Trident Academy, we’ve encouraged students to use assistive devices for years. Our classroom teachers understand and embrace the importance of assistive devices for students with learning differences. While other schools may be just beginning to embrace technology, we are constantly exploring new apps, software, and one-to-one iPads.”
Ms. Silgals offers several recommendations for use both in the classroom and at home. These recommendations, which hold no endorsement over similar products, are below.
Assistive Technology for ReadingStudents who struggle with reading may prefer electronically supported text; electronic devices can provide additional information, sounds, or graphics built into the text to provide reading assistance and promote comprehension. Two examples of apps our students use include Kno and Scholastic Storia.
For students who retain and understand information better when text is accompanied with an audio option, Apple’s VoiceOver and the Snap & Read apps are ideal. Vbookz will also turn PDF text files into audible versions.
Students who struggle with dysgraphia have a difficult time with writing. FoxIt Reader is a helpful app for completing forms or worksheets.
Assistive Technology for WritingA learning difference can make it difficult to organize thoughts and prewrite. Graphic organizers such as those using the Inspiration software app or on inspiration.com are a great help for students.
If a student who is otherwise a great writer struggles with spelling or reading, they may level the playing field by using text-to-speech programs that reflect their true abilities. Such programs include Don Johnston’s Write Outloud and Read & Write Gold.
Word prediction programs like Ginger Software or the AppWriter app help students who struggle with spelling.
Ms. Silgals serves as the Librarian and Media Specialist at Trident Academy. She has made presentations across the nation on assistive technology. She also opened South Carolina’s first assistive technology lab for students with learning differences.  Ms. Silgals is a SCISA Master Teacher, has earned a Master’s in Library and Informational Science, as well as a Master of Education in technology.
For more information, contact Mary Silgals at msilgals@tridentacademy.com.

 

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