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+ “I Love This Computer” Using Assistive Technology to Assist Students with Disabilities in Meeting the Common Core Curriculum Standards in Writing Dr.

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Presentation on theme: "+ “I Love This Computer” Using Assistive Technology to Assist Students with Disabilities in Meeting the Common Core Curriculum Standards in Writing Dr."— Presentation transcript:

1 + “I Love This Computer” Using Assistive Technology to Assist Students with Disabilities in Meeting the Common Core Curriculum Standards in Writing Dr. Amanda Fenlon, Associate Professor, State University of New York at Oswego

2 + The Challenge Teachers need new methods and tools to support learners with significant disabilities in reaching the Common Core standards and increasing literacy skills. The new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have called for greater accountability and shared responsibility for literacy instruction for all students, including those with disabilities. Students with disabilities often require more time and specialized instruction to develop and master basic literacy and writing skills. Assistive technology tools such as SOLO6, Classroom Suite, iPads and adaptive keyboards in combination with authentic writing activities CAN HELP!

3 + Why Instruction in Literacy and Writing Matters? Literacy and writing allow students to communicate and express themselves. Literacy provides access to education and is a means for accessing information. Literacy offers access to independence. Literacy is what many self-advocates express as a missing element in their education and their lives. Literacy access is an educational, civil and human right---a means of achieving social justice.

4 + Framework for Literacy Program ALL learners need and benefit from COMPREHENSIVE Literacy program Erickson & Koppenhaver (2007) Children with disabilities: Reading and writing the four blocks way Carson Dellosa Publisher

5 ALL learners need and benefit from COMPREHENSIVE Literacy programs THAT INCLUDE: Guided (or shared) reading* Self selected reading* Letter and word work Writing for authentic purposes At students’ instructional reading level

6 + Context of Case Examples Middle School Students, Grades 4-7, with significant disabilities (DD, ID, Autism, Orthopedic impairments, Significant Learning Disabilities) Individual teaching sessions, focusing on literacy and writing—using traditional and digital texts Had various assistive technology available to use in sessions: SOLO6 (Co-Writer, Read OutLoud, Write OutLoud); Classroom Suite, Big Keys Keyboard, iPads Kidspiration, classroom computers) Used OnLine Digital libraries and authoring tools (, Power Point, )

7 + “Authentic” Narrative Writing— What’s That? Why should we use this genre? Merriam-Webster: “Real, accurate, true” Personal narratives & experiences “All About Me” biographies Non-fiction and fiction pieces about a topic of strong interest IT’S MOTIVATING!! Use authentic writing as a “BRIDGE” to get kids writing, then have them write about other topics (science, social studies, responding to a book or text exemplar from the Common Core

8 + Not every student is ready to type on an iPad! There are wonderful writing APPS coming out that will help many children succeed with writing on the iPad, BUT… Some students (those with motor or visual challenges) will need a “bridge” to using an iPad. Some students will not be able to use an iPad due to these challenges.

9 + Pre-Writing Supports are Crucial Graphic organizers Pictures/photos as writing prompts Guiding Questions Sentence starters

10 + Logan with Big Keys, Laptop and Co-Writer 6 th Grader with autism, reading at F&P Level C in inclusive classroom Great background knowledge, many age appropriate interests (super heroes, video games, youtube, animals) Challenging behaviors (NOT a fan of paper and pencil tasks) Writing Objective for Logan: Logan will write 2-3 sentences on a topic of his choice, provided teacher prompts and computer technology. Common Core Standards:

11 + Big Keys Keyboard & Word Prediction Features Plug and Play—USB plugs into any computer or laptop. No installation required. Raised keys help students with motor challenges, key divider encourages use of both hands Will work with Co-Writer (word prediction) from Don Available from:

12 + “My Name is Logan”—Authentic Writing Piece

13 + Logan’s First Writing Piece My Name is Logan At home, I play on the computer. My favorite website is YouTube. Kingdom Hearts Two is a videogame I play on the Playstation 2. Teacher Prompts and Modeling: “This is word prediction. It’s going to tell you what you’re writing.” “Do you see it here?” “Keep looking.” Logan’s response at end: “THANK YOU!!!!”

14 + David with Big Keys, Laptop and Classroom Suite (Ablenet Inc.) 5 th Grader with autism in inclusive classroom Largely non-verbal. Had a Tango AT device he used with limited success Reading at F&P Level J Loves animals, space travel, stories Motor planning and sensory challenges

15 + Some writing objectives for David David will use a text (Crocs and Gators, Level K) as a resource to create a piece of writing that demonstrates text to self connections When given sentence starters, David will compose at least four sentences using computer technology, that demonstrate text to self connections Using a graphic organizer, photos from home and computer technology, David will create a digital journal on his trip to Florida The Vacation, by David

16 + Common Core Curriculum Standards addressed for David

17 + Classroom Suite

18 Classroom Suite Writing Template

19 + Classroom Suite by Ablenet Inc. Many writing templates from basic to more sophisticated. Pre-Writing supports such as graphic organizers, guiding questions within the templates and picture libraries. Can import own photos. Writing supports such as word prediction, spell check and text read aloud. Creativity tools allow students to write journals, develop multimedia presentations

20 Vacation Journal Graphic Organizer

21 + David with Laptop, Big Keys, & Classroom Suite

22 + David’s Finished Vacation Journal created with Classroom Suite



25 + Mei 4 th grader in an integrated co- taught classroom, classified with autism Interested in animals, nature, art, a visual learner Little spontaneous language, no formal communication system, largely non-verbal, some sensory issues and distracting behaviors Comes from a bi-lingual home, although Mandarin Chinese mostly spoken at home Goals: to explore AT to support curriculum access for Mei To help Mei develop a way to express what she knows, using technology To model and encourage the establishment of meaningful literacy instructional routines

26 + Curriculum Goals & CCSS for Mei: Read and respond to a text (in digital form or traditional text). Improve Reading Comprehension skills. Compose an informational/explanatory writing piece based on a non-fiction text. Common Core ELA Standards:

27 + Technology Tools for Mei Kidspiration 3

28 + Kidspiration Kidspiration ( Can create online graphic organizer with or without colorful, engaging visuals Can create draft document based on ideas from graphic organizer—import into Word document. Text to speech feature allows student to hear and edit writing Typically available on most school computers

29 + Raz-Kids ( A leveled digital book library (subscription fee), with related activities such as quizzes, ability to earn “prizes”, data collection for teachers. Students can read book or have it read to them. Text is highlighted—human voice reads books. Some have music and animations. Many schools have Raz-kids!

30 + Materials for Mei Print book: Digital Book: Level F Cloze comprehension activity. Visual Schedule for Literacy Session

31 + Pre-Writing Supports Traditional Graphic organizerKidspiration Outline

32 + Mei’s finished writing piece Last step— import as Word document.

33 + Mandy 6 th grader reading at F&P Level G Loves dance, Peanuts, baseball. Dances and plays baseball in community rec programs. Has Down syndrome and autism Largely non-verbal, EXCEPT when she is reading! Used as part of literacy She engaged well with books She authored her own book as part of the writing portion of one literacy lesson Tarheelreader uses flikr picture library as writing prompts

34 + Curriculum Goals for Mandy Read and respond to fiction and non-fiction text at her instructional level (G). Create a narrative piece of writing consisting of at least 4- 5 sentences using proper writing conventions. Common Core Standards addressed:

35 + Great authoring tool! One caution, have student choose topic and preview flikr pictures before writing session Some flikr pictures are inappropriate Show “Mandy’s Dance Book” Highlight writing process using my login

36 Mandy reading her digital book on

37 + Ali 5 th Grader with significant learning disabilities Very imaginative Reading at 2 nd grade level Loves fantasy stories Difficulty with handwriting, resistant to using paper and pencil Common Core Curriculum Standards addressed (some)

38 + Ali’s Writing Before Co-Writer

39 + Pre-Writing Support “Melanie and the Prince” Started with Traditional Graphic Organizer to brainstorm plan, organize and and record ideas for her story Then transferred to SOLO Literacy Suite with Co-Writer Setting

40 + Used SOLO6 Draft Builder & Co- Writer Keys to success: LOTS of teacher support and scaffolding Teacher Modeling and Prompts Woke up Co-Writer during the draft builder stage


42 Ali’s Writing After Pre-Writing Support and introduction to Co- Writer “I Love this Computer!”

43 + Resources Digital Book Libraries & Authoring Tools : Big Keys Keyboard AT Tools Classroom Suites by Ablenet Inc. SOLO Literacy Suite by Don Johnston

44 + Articles & Books "So Much Potential in Reading!” by Fenlon, Amanda G; McNabb, Jessica; Pidlypchak, Harmony. Teaching Exceptional Children43.1 (Sep/Oct 2010): 42-48.Fenlon, Amanda GMcNabb, JessicaPidlypchak, HarmonyTeaching Exceptional Children43.1 Using Technology to Support Balanced Literacy for Students With Significant Disabilities by Carnahan, Christina R; Williamson, Pamela S;Hollingshead, Aleksandra; Israel, Maya.Teaching Exceptional Children45.1 (Sep/Oct 2012): 20- 29. Carnahan, Christina RWilliamson, Pamela SHollingshead, AleksandraIsrael, MayaTeaching Exceptional Children45.1 Intensive Reading Instruction For Learners With Developmental Disabilities, by Schnorr, Roberta F. The Reading Teacher65.1 (Sep 2011): 35. Schnorr, Roberta FThe Reading Teacher65.1 Children with Disabilities: Reading and Writing the Four- Blocks® Way, By Karen Erickson & David Koppenhaver, available from

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