What are the key traits to look for in a quality edtech product? Here are 12 questions that the education editors at Common Sense Education ask that can help you identify classroom-ready digital tools.
Browse these Top Picks to discover the best in educational apps and websites that support core literacy skills — phonics, fluency, vocabulary, spelling, comprehension, and writing. You'll also find recommendations for quality assistive technology to support kids who are struggling with reading.
Are students who use assistive technology getting an unfair advantage? Will AT fix a student's learning challenges? Here are the top three misconceptions about AT and how it is used in the classroom and at home.
Learn how to use the SETT framework to identify a struggling student's learning needs and match that with the most appropriate assistive technology options. A case study is provided.
Reading requires strong skills in decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension. Learn about some AT tools that can support students in these three key areas.
Learn the basics about text-to-speech, what the research says about how well it supports comprehension, tips on how to get the most out of the technology, and a short list of recommended text-to-speech tools.
Dr. Christopher Lee is a nationally recognized advocate, author, speaker, and leader in the fields of learning disabilities and adaptive technology. In this Q&A, Dr. Lee shares his personal story.
In this Q&A with assistive technology expert Dr. Christopher Lee, learn more about using AT to support students with learning disabilities, findign the right AT tool, AT evaluations, self-advocacy, and much more.
The IEP team at school decides which assistive technology tools each student needs. Many teams make these decisions using something called the SETT Framework. Learn how the overall process works.
Most mobile devices come with assistive technology (AT) that can help with reading, writing and organization. Common built-in AT features include text-to-speech and dictation technology.
Trying out assistive technology (AT) can help you find the right tool for your child. You may be able to test out devices at your child’s school or there may be an AT lending library near you.
This Q&A provides a brief overview of the responsibility of public schools to provide and pay for a student's assistive technology under the federal IDEA law and Section 504.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to teaching aimed at meeting the needs of every student in a classroom. It can be helpful for all kids, including kids with learning and attention issues. But UDL takes careful planning by teachers. Here are just a few examples of how UDL can work in a classroom.
Assistive technology (AT) can be an effective accommodation for children with learning and attention issues. Understanding what AT is and how it works is the first step toward finding the right tools for your child.
Text-to-speech (TTS) is a type of assistive technology that reads digital text aloud. It’s sometimes called “read aloud” technology. TTS can take words on a computer or other digital device and convert them into audio. TTS is very helpful for kids who struggle with reading, but it can also help kids with writing and editing, and even focusing.
Assistive technology (AT) can be a powerful way to help children with reading issues, including kids with dyslexia. This guide is an introduction to AT tools for reading and where to find them.
Assistive technology (AT) can help kids with different types of writing challenges. AT tools can make the physical act of writing easier, as well as help kids who have trouble with spelling and grammar, and with organizing and expressing their thoughts. This guide provides an introduction to AT writing tools and where to find them.
Dictation is an assistive technology (AT) tool that can help kids who struggle with writing. Kids can use dictation to write with their voices, instead of writing by hand or with a keyboard — helpful for kids with dysgraphia, dyslexia and other learning and attention issues that impact writing.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a way of thinking about teaching and learning that helps give all students an equal opportunity to succeed. This approach offers flexibility in the ways students access material, engage with it and show what they know. Developing lesson plans this way helps all kids, but it may be especially helpful for kids with learning and attention issues.
In this Q&A with Dr. Todd Cunningham, you'll learn the basics about assistive technology (AT) and how AT tools can help students with language-based learning disabilities to reach their full potential in the classroom.
If you suspect that your child would benefit from using AT at school, it's important to discuss your observations, suggestions, and questions with your child's teachers. Make time to speak in person. In this article, you'll find tips for opening the conversation with example conversation starters.
It is important for parents to understand the "language" of assistive technology so they can be informed advocates for their child's technology needs. The following glossary of terms can help parents learn about the kinds of assistive technologies that are currently available and how they can be used.
Audio books are a wonderful way to expose your child to complex language, expressive reading, and fantastic stories. Listening to audio books also gives kids the valuable and enjoyable experience of using their own imaginations to visualize the people and places they’re hearing about. Here, you’ll find guidance on what to look for in choosing audio books as well as listening tips.
For children with print-based reading disabilities, accessible formats provide alternate versions of print-based books that function in much the same way as a print-based textbook. Learn about the different kinds of accessible formats, including digital talking books, enlarged text, electronic publications, and more.
In a world where children are "growing up digital," it's important to help them learn healthy concepts of digital use and citizenship. Parents play an important role in teaching these skills. Here are a few tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help parents manage the digital landscape they're exploring with their children.
This resource guide identifies high-quality, useful resources that address various aspects of accessibility: developing an accessibility statement, conducting an accessibility audit, acquiring accessible technology, and building professional development resources on accessibility for school staff and others.
Many struggling and special needs students have a print disability. Teachers can meet these students’ needs by translating the three principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into practice. Learn about the seven features of "born accessible materials" and how to select these materials for your school and classroom.
Your child may be at a school where they are using an approach called "flipped classroom" or "flipped lesson." If so, keep reading to find out more about the concept, and three ways that you can support flipped learning at home.
Learn how technology tools can support struggling students and those with learning disabilities in acquiring background knowledge and vocabulary, improving their reading comprehension, and making connections between reading and writing.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides the opportunity for all students to access, participate in, and progress in the general-education curriculum by reducing barriers to instruction. Learn more about how UDL offers options for how information is presented, how students respond or demonstrate their knowledge and skills, and how students are engaged in learning.
One motivating, engaging, and inexpensive way to help build the foundational reading skills of students is through the use of closed-captioned and subtitled television shows and movies. These supports can help boost foundational reading skills, such as phonics, word recognition, and fluency.
Drawing on research-based principles of vocabulary instruction and multimedia learning, this article presents 10 strategies that use free digital tools and Internet resources to engage students in vocabulary learning. The strategies are designed to support the teaching of words and word learning strategies, promote students' strategic use of on-demand web-based vocabulary tools, and increase students' volume of reading and incidental word learning.
Speech recognition, also referred to as speech-to-text or voice recognition, is technology that recognizes speech, allowing voice to serve as the "main interface between the human and the computer." This Info Brief discusses how current speech recognition technology facilitates student learning, as well as how the technology can develop to advance learning in the future.
The law requires that public schools develop appropriate Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each child. The IEP is a written plan for educating a child with a disability. The IEP describes the student's specific special education needs as well as any related services, including assistive technology.
If your child has a learning disability, he or she may benefit from assistive technology tools that play to their strengths and work around their challenges.
Learn about assistive technology tools — from abbreviation expanders to word-recognition software programs — that address your child's specific writing difficulties.
Learn about assistive technology tools — from audiobooks to variable-speed tape recorders — that help students with reading.
This Info Brief provides information to help parents find and obtain alternative sources of funding for classroom- or home-based assistive technology when funds are not available through a child’s school.
Get the answers to frequently asked questions about accessing e-text through the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC). Find out how to obtain e-text so that students with learning disabilities can get printed material in the format they need.
If your child cannot read their textbooks, they need digital copies of their books. Schools now can use National Instructional Material Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) to get e-text. Learn the details that will help you advocate for your child so they can use NIMAS. And learn where to find the publishers and producers that provide e-text.