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Aiming for Access

June Behrmann

June Behrmann is a longtime special education teacher (pre-K to grade 6) who retired for about two seconds, and is now prospecting for accessible instructional resources. Follow June on Twitter @aimnoncat. Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with us.

8 Trusted App Sources Can Rev Up Accessible Summer Learning for Students with Disabilities

May 19, 2016

All children stand to lose ground over the summer, especially students who are disadvantaged and those with disabilities. The apps that follow are chosen by experienced, discerning evaluators. Because they have passed muster they could be a summer best bet to:

  1. Stop an academic slide over the school break
  2. Maintain skills across the curriculum
  3. Preview content for the next school year
  4. Read for pleasure
  5. Practice technology and media literacy essentials that can create greater access to learning in the future

Turn on the tools  

Often the tools that open the doors to learning are built in or dowloaded to the technology students use, but these features are neglected or not elected, Learners who need these supports then miss opportunities for engagement, more learning, and better expression of what they know and can do. Turn on the tools! 

Reliable sources 

The needs of students with disabilities are always in mind by the following reliable sources who evaluate and recommend free and mostly low-cost products.   

Selected best bets for summer learning 2016: 

  1. Literacy Apps for Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities from AIM-VA's friends here at the Reading Rockets website because students with disabilities need to be taught to read using proven research-based methods and they need access to curriculum and general knowledge using accessible digital text.
  2. Google Apps for Education and all things Google on Mike Marotta's website, because as an independent assistive technology professional or as part of a group of experts, he finds top inclusive technology solutions from many sources in order to meet the needs of a range of disabilities. Check out the six-page laminated resource guide he developed with Brian Friedlander, a colleague and assistive technology expert, that highlights how to use Chromebooks in the classroom, including apps.
  3. Special needs app reviews from the Friendship Circle website because with well over a thousand apps for children with disabilities, a vetted collection like this eases decisions.
  4. 6 iPad Apps to Help Students with Dyslexia from DylexiaHelp at the University of Michigan blog because these are a promising way to improve the learning process.  
  5. 1000 Recommended Apps for Children with Special Needs from the website, because this app list is the result of "endless hours of collaboration by professionals from all over the world."
  6. Apple Special Education Apps for websites and mobile learning devices because every MAC and iOS device comes with built-in accessibility tools to tailor learning to individualized needs.
  7. Exploring Mobile Apps for Special Education STEAM Teaching and Learning from the Kent State University website, resulting from a gift from AT&T as part of a project aimed at deeper understanding of mobile technology as a support for special education learning.
  8. "Must-have apps" for special education students on the Educational Technology and Mobile Learning website because these are likely to open doors to technology possibilities for struggling and all students.

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