Please provide feedback on my critical reading course

Dear Teachers,

This summer, I’ll be teaching a group of pre-med students how to speed read and improve their comprehension. The students consist of native English speakers who are part of a summer enhancement program called DREAM. We’ll spend 4 hours a week on the subject, so I have time to integrate technology. I created a wiki with the online content since we don’t have a textbook. We’ll be using the computerized program MyReadingLab.com for covering topics such as reading rate and critical thinking. Here’s a link to the wiki: http://usadream.pbworks.com/w/page/39147717/FrontPage

I’m requiring two projects, one group and one individual. The group project will post to the wiki. The students’ individual project is to create electronic flashcard decks on Dictionary.com. Here’s a sample deck I created: http://flashcards.dictionary.com/deckprofile/view/96394/medical-vocabulary-project-flashcards. Additionally, I made a demonstration video on Camtasia Relay:http://camtasia.usouthal.edu/Camtasia/J00052636/Vocabulary_Project_on_Dictionary.com_-_Flash_(Original_Size)_-_20110527_05.57.20PM.html

I’d love to hear your feedback. I’ve set my personal deadline as June 1st. Send me a tweet or email with your comments, or leave a message below.

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Sandra Rogers

Use Voki to bring someone else’s voice to your grammar lesson

In preparation for an advanced ESL grammar lesson, I wanted to integrate technology in a simple way. Usually the teacher is the one giving the examples. I had used Voki.com before to give a one-liner to visitors to my wiki. It dawned on me that I could use several Vokis to deliver one-liner grammar examples. I believe if you want the Vokis to say a speech, you have to pay for an upgrade. Otherwise, the service is free.

The lesson was on unreal conditionals, the “if I were president, I would…” I decided to make each Voki speak a different example, including some likely conditional statements. Additionally, I found that you can have a Voki speak with different English regional dialects—American, British, Australian, Scottish, et cetera. Since students often study abroad, I think they should learn a variety of English dialects.

Here’s the link to my grammar lesson with the Vokis on my personal learning environment (PLN):
http://mypersonallearningenvironment.pbworks.com/w/page/36864678/Sample-Grammar-Lesson

To create your own Voki, visit their Web site: http://www.voki.com/

Sandra Rogers

Assistive Technology Tools

Are you familiar with assistive technology? Do you have students with disabilities? Here’s a list of assistive tech tools and resources for you and your students to use:

1. Section 508 Checklist: http://webaim.org/standards/508/checklist
Standards for Website content to meet the needs of persons with disabilities based on the U.S. Rehabilitation Act.

2. iSpeech: http://www.ispeech.org/
Converts text-to-speech (TTS) or speech-to-text (STT) for free. You can control the speed of the voice delivery. It catalogs the number of recordings in its library.

3. US Government: http://www.disability.gov/technology/accessible_technology
Provides webinars and updates on the latest technology available or the lack thereof in various situations.

4. Boston College & Boston University: www.cameramouse.org
Assists individuals with limited movement to use their head to direct the mouse cursor. FREE!

5. The Principles of Universal Design (UD), North Carolina State University:  Universal Design poster
These principles will help you create activities and an environment accessible for all learners.

6. Internet Explorer (IE): IE is generally the browser that’s widely used by persons with disabilities because it offers special features to meet their needs.

7. Microsoft Windows: See Accessibility Tools

8. YouTube Channel: They offer an auto-caption feature that can benefits not only deaf users, but also people who watch videos in really noisy places, like airport terminals. The tool will be able to translate captions into your choice of 50 languages. For now, however, auto-captioning works only with videos in English.

9. Apple claims to create its products with accessibility in mind as standard features http://www.apple.com/accessibility/

10. Captioning Key is funded by the National Association of the Deaf and The Described and Captioned and Media Program. It provides a PDF document on specific quality assurance guidelines for closed-captioning.

Additionally, check out the most thought-provoking YouTube video that I’ve ever seen on rethinking the concept and words associated with persons with disabilities called “Opportunity of Adversity” by Aimee Mullins.

Please share your resources for adaptive technology with me, and I’ll post them on this blog and my PLE.

Sandra Rogers