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Effective use of technology to support learners

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Started by linda Ojala 08 Aug 2013 2:59pm () Replies (2)

2 students with iPad What I have       

  • 4 ipads
  • 2 ipods                                        
  • Mobi station (large screen)        
  • 3 oldish laptops
  • Apple TV

How I currently use my technology

  • As part of reading and maths routines
  • To create iBooks, digital stories
  • Blogger Tool
  • Record voices and images
  • Searching tool
  • Spelling tool
  • Teacher modelling
  • Sites such as Study Ladder,Sumdog 
  • On line videos for learning
  • Share each others work

What I am stuck with

I think if was to be honest I just don't think I am actually making most in terms of supporting learners and learner needs with the use of what I have.

This isn't to say that watching the engagment that my students show while play Sumdog, the converstations that happen around it, isn't exiting and valuable in its own right but what actual difference is it making?

Coming back again to what does the learner need and how can I use technology to extend?

UDL Lens

  • How is the techonology that I am using specifically matched to learner needs? 
  • How am I supporting learning needs with the use of technology?

This really is just the beginning of my thoughts. As I read more about UDL, there is such a variety of technology that enables students to access learning in ways they were unable to do before.

Equity in the classroom has been big for me in terms of everyone getting a go. Using techonolgy is an on ramp to learning but as I am starting to apply the UDL principles, reflect on what I am doing,  I am beginning to see how I can specifically align technology to students next learning steps and ensure my space is accessible.

 Has anyone got any examples or thoughts that can be shared?

 How are you using technolgoy to extend and challenge?


  • Chrissie Butler (View all users posts) 09 Aug 2013 1:06pm ()

    Kia ora Linda. The "on ramp" reference is a useful one. It makes me think again of the great videos of Teva and Tyler that I have posted below.

    NB. You can view Teva's video with its' transcript and Tyler's video with its' transcript on Enabling e-learning.

    Selecting technology to support access the curriculum

    typing For both these students, the biggest bonus was that they could type their thinking rather than manually write it using a pencil.

    For both boys, the mechanical act of forming letters with a pen at speed was the barrier. Both boys had heads brimming with ideas, but had no sustainable or satisfying way to demonstrate their understanding.

    In this case, the technology actually falls into the category of being assistive technology, as without it the students were unable to equitably participate in the curriulum.

    Yet it's also worth commenting that the 1:1 programme also had a significant impact on Teva and Tyler's peers. When given the choice to selct the best tool for the writing task, would select the keyboard over the pen, even though they could write quite fluently with a pen or pencil. It's worth noting that in both classes, the overall achievements of both classes notably accelerated.

    Tools can become barriers for learners

    Google Doc commentsIt's worth considering as we select technology to support learners whether the tools and options we are offering students inadvertantly become barriers in themselves.

    For example, Google Docs can be an awesome tool for many students. We can reel off the benefits (supports collaboration, easy to embed pictures, has a free add-on for reading aloud selected text etc).

    But that blank white screen might also be pretty intimidating. A student might not find it easy to get their ideas down, or might get stuck thinking through all the different elements of a task and how to prioritise them.

    Using what we know about students to sustainably provide useful support

    If we put into action what we know about the students and what works well for them, we can build in some learning supports that we can make available to everyone at the outset. Students can choose whether they use them or not. A solution that we have tailored for one student we can make available as an option for everyone else.

    For example In the Google Docs context, we might set up a master Google Doc page for a writing task where we have:

    • 2 boys discussing a writing taskthe outline of the task presented in words and supported by a visual
    • a few sentence starters or some sub-headings
    • a couple of images or photos (if possible tailored to students interests) as springboards/provocations
    • a grid or matrix to support and structure writing
    • a couple of hyperlinks connected to background knowledge or to an alternative collaborative tool (if the writing task requires colllaboration over distance)
    Students can choose to make a copy and then delete the info that isn't useful to them or they could just kick straight into the task with a blank page because that works for them.
    Our provision of supports also offers students a bank of approaches that they can use together to support each other and transfer to different contexts.

    Use the UDL approach to avoid masses of time spent differentiating learning

    In many ways that's the essence of this UDL approach:
    • connecting what we know about the learners
    • using that "knowing" to guide the options and supports we provide for learners
    • building those options and supports into the activity/resource at the outset
    • making the solution we have created for one student available to everyone - reducing the time spent differentiating for every student separately.

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