Focusing on supporting students with special learning needs through the use of technology this week was especially applicable to my teaching. Over the last three years, I have been assuming increasingly more responsibility for students with special needs in my building. Coincidentally, I am now entering the third year of my district’s 1:1 iPad classroom project. Using iPads to support students with academic needs in reading, writing, and math has been both a challenge and an opportunity for continued growth in accommodating students. I developed a particular interest in dyslexia this year as one of my students qualified for an IEP in basic reading skills as a result of his disorganized thinking. Consulting with my incredibly knowledgeable special education co-teacher, I was surprised to learn that dyslexia is not simply a “mixed up” way of approaching letters and words, but an overall differing structure in the brain that results in difficulty learning. I am fascinated by this disability which, in many ways, is not disabling at all but actually unconventionally enabling. I found my third grader to be fabulously creative, holistic in thinking, innovative, insightful, and articulate. I have no doubt that with the right type of support he will go on to do impressive creative work. It is with him in mind that I present my research this week.
In my paper, I will clarify the scientific community’s working definition of dyslexia and highlight the specific ways it impacts learning. I will explain how reading is particularly challenging to students with dyslexia, but how technology can be employed to allay such challenges. I will offer RAZ-Kids as a technology tool that is especially beneficial for children with dyslexia, by supporting them with engaging, uncluttered reading material and the support features that accompany it. This paper will serve as rationale regarding why and how teachers can use RAZ-Kids to support students with dyslexia and provide them with an equitable reading experience.
Click here to read the full paper in Google Docs.
Click here to view a screencast highlighting some of the useful features of RAZ-Kids.