Over the past few decades, there have been vast improvements made within the Special Education Needs sector regarding general attitudes, understanding, and strategies. However, this area has always challenged the uniformity of a curriculum. Traditionally, supporting students with Special Education Needs is perceived as requiring 1:1 teaching opportunities or small group support. Assistive technology is one effective way of combatting the challenges associated with SEN teaching.
Blended Learning: The future of education?
The first nation-wide UK lockdown that happened in March exposed vast gaps in a range of areas within the education system, which many of us were able to get a better understanding of. It is clear that there are a few aspects of the system that drastically need attention and changes that need to be made. The most prominent of those changes? Blended Learning. A term that you may have heard being thrown around in regard to the future of education.
What is blended learning? Other than the latest Ed Tech buzzword.
As the name suggests it is an approach to teaching that focuses on an integration of traditional classroom-based learning and digital learning, with a specific model of teaching strategies such as inquiry and project-based learning. There are many benefits to implementing a blended learning strategy, including:
- Flexibility. Students are able to access learning materials and resources from anywhere, even when they are not in the classroom, without having to sacrifice the added benefits of face-to-face support and lesson delivery. It also gives teaching staff more flexibility in the way that they deliver their lessons.
- Self-pacing. Students are able to work at their own speed, and are able to revisit parts of the lesson as they need to. This reduces stress to learners and increases information retention. There are also a number of assistive technologies that aid learners with special education needs, such as AppWriter which you can read more about in the next section of the article.
- Tracking. Having a digital platform means that tracking the progress of individual students or groups of students is much easier.
Assistive Technology: 6 features that aid Special Education Needs
AppWriter is an assistive technology tool which incorporates a variety of features that ensures students and professionals can convey information and communicate in any digital setting. The features of Appwriter include multi-language text-to-speech, multi-language speech-to-text, predictive text, OCR scanning, statistics, and glossaries. Educators find our built-in analytics tool easy to use and essential in monitoring specific or groups of students as they progress throughout the school year and beyond.
Here is a breakdown of AppWriter’s features:
Speech-to-text dictates as the users speak, creating independent learners. If a student has trouble with spelling, they can simply say or sound-out the word and see how it is spelt on screen.
Text-to-speech (TTS) reads aloud any online written content, including ebooks, PDFs, web pages, and exam papers. Any text can easily be downloaded or even saved as an mp3 to make it accessible, transportable, and shareable. These features help students to become self-reliant as they learn. Reads in 39 languages and dialects.
Predictive text provides real-time prompts when writing, helping to expand students’ vocabulary and consistently encouraging them to use longer sentences and improve their sentence structure. This overall encourages more confident writers.
OCR scanner transforms any printed material, including PDFs, images or scanned documents into a digital text format. This allows students to make any content readable, audible and editable.
The built-in analytics tool also provides Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCO’s) with real-time data about each student’s progress with literacy. Monitoring individual or student progress. Features such as words per minute, spelling and grammatical errors.
Teachers or students can add subject-specific vocabulary to the user-defined glossaries. This encourages the use and understanding of new words.