Are there effective technology tools to help kids with learning differences stay organized?

Answers

Jules Csillag, learning specialist & speech-language pathologist

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It depends on how the learning difference manifests itself, but the answer is, "Yes!"

For students with attentional difficulties Many students spend hours on homework, but they actually lose focus early on & are just wasting time. For these students, it is incredibly useful to program in breaks. These will give them a sense of how much time has passed, with the added bonus of giving them a break, which typically helps them re-focus. Depending on the app, you set the time intervals and/or you can set it tell you what to do at each interval (stretch, go on facebook, whatever!).

  • Mac: Time Out Allows you to take a 10-minute break every 50 minutes, or a 10 second break every 10 seconds, but you can also configure how long the “work” or “break” intervals are). Can choose to have break black out your screen, or have it be transparent. Extra extensions here (the best one being “Things”, which will use your To-Do list to remind you of activities on your breaks)

  • Break Time ($5) Again, lots of manual settings for time intervals & how intrusive you would like the app to be

  • for Windows

For students with difficulty with time management Basically any calendar app can help with time management, especially if you can program in regular activities (e.g. every Tuesday at 4pm, you have soccer). Calendars are also excellent tools for writing down homework (iCal, Google Calendar, or any other calendar app). To-do lists are also valuable here. Any.do, Tasks, and Google Keep all allow students to practice prioritization, and you can set up reminders to nudge you when you should be working on your homework (many Calendar apps have a "reminder" feature, too). The fact that they're available on mobile applications make them really easy to incorporate into daily life.

For students with difficulty with organization of materials Google Docs is a wonderful tool for avoiding the incessant "I lost my homework." Students may need help with setting up their folders (one for each school subject; bonus if you color code!), and they will likely need a constant reminder (maybe a post-it on their keyboard) to label all of their documents for ease of finding information. The note-taking apps listed below also helps reduce the chance of documents being lost.

For students with reading or writing difficulties Text-to-speech extensions, speech-to-text extensions, ebooks, and various spelling and grammar checkers are essential for helping students with language-based learning differences (e.g. dyslexia). Here is a list of my favorites (most of which are FREE).

For help with note-taking Evernote and Notability are my favorite note-taking apps as they both allow for students to type notes, write notes by hand, take photographs, record audio, and import pictures/documents, etc. This makes them handy and motivating to use!

For non-technological tips to help students with learning differences, check out these simple home modifications.

Brittany Maschal, Ed-Tech

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LD Online is a great resource. I would check out this site; there are a ton of articles on this topic:

http://www.ldonline.org/article/6380/

http://www.ldonline.org/article/5884/

I also like Understood.org. Here is one article from this site:

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/assistive-technology/assistive-technologies-basics

Interesting Apple paper: https://www.apple.com/education/docs/L419373A-US_L419373A_AppleTechDisabilities.pdf

Anonymous, technology

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Anonymous, There are many tools to help you

Here is a list of technologies that can assist in learning effectiveness:

  1. Flash and HTML5. They are the fundamental tools required to create engaging courseware.

  2. Mobile devices and tablets such as iPad make learning fun, interactive, and pervasive.

  3. Augmented Reality apps can bring to life static content and images making learning exciting and memorable. They can also serve as powerful performance support tools.

  4. Virtual Worlds can provide a risk free environment for learning and socializing with fellow students and teachers.

  5. Videos are killer learning tools. Searchable videos can give you instant access to knowledge and learning.

  6. Content curation platforms can save lots of time by consolidating all the relevant information to jump start learning. All these tools are available for free on tutu app.

John McClung, Current Student

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There is a multitude of available resources in terms of helping students stay organized from web based sticky notes, to-do lists, and calendars for organization. Here are some examples: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/08/10-free-organizational-tools-for.html . Personally, I have found Cogi to be useful for taking notes, recording audio, and providing visual examples to keep my work organized (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cogi.mobile&hl=en).

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