Lately, I've been having a lot of conversations with teachers about meeting the diverse needs in their classrooms. Technology offers some really unique ways to both accommodate learning and support all kinds of learners. From programs that allow speech to text (or text to speech) to inverted colors, activity timers, even zooming into parts of the screen for easier reading. On the iPad, the accessibility tab in settings offers a wealth of options for adjusting the way the iPad works. It's a powerful tool for the classroom and for personal use.
It's interesting to me, because some kids who aren't identified as needing any sort of vision accommodations will use some of the tools. The most common is the inverted colors. A lot of kids think it looks cool, but they often end up switching it back. Some kids flip their colors and leave it, because it helps them read the words better. This sort of personalization can be really helpful to someone that wants to maximize their learning. It breaks down barriers and allows for preferences that a student may have not even known about before. As kids learn to better customize their experience with technology, they can make accommodations for themselves and become more independent learners.
App smashing has become a pretty popular phrase in the edtech crowd. It just means using multiple apps to accomplish something that wasn't possible in any of the apps individually. We've been working on a One Word project here at HSE. See this HAWK Talk from Mr. Phillips for more information.
I've been walking students through some steps to app smash a picture using the camera, photos, and Educreations. We were able to have students quickly add text, crop, and apply a filter to their photo to participate in the One Word Project. It opens up a whole new set of possibilities for our tech learners to think of a project in mind, then apply more than one app to the project.
Instructional Technology Coach