Teach students about technology they can use for college, careers

ORLANDO, Fla. — What do you use in your life to remember important information?

“Do you take a picture of information? Do you put it in Evernote?” asked Dan Phillips, an assistive technology specialist and educational trainer at the Technology Resource Center of Marin County in California.

Students also need to learn multimodal strategies like these to build effective learning and studying habits, he said.

Phillips spoke at the 37th National Future of Education Technology Conference about the digital tools and strategies that students need to acquire for college and careers.

Digital tools need to be multimodal “to enable students to capitalize on their strengths,” Phillips said. When schools provide students with these tools, students tend to know which modalities work best for them, Phillips said.

“[They] are more self-aware than I think we give them credit for,” he said.

Consider these digital tools and strategies that students can take with them to college and careers:

Notetaking: Teach students how to record audio with notes. “For some students, it’s enough to just pay attention to what you’re saying,” Phillips said. “They can’t take notes at the same time.”

These learners may need to record what the teacher is saying for review later so they can remain engaged in the discussion, he said. Consider notetaking tools that allow students to import slides, type and sketch, and record audio. Audio Note, a voice and note recording app, uses time stamps with each recording so a student can review a section of the discussion without needing to listen to the whole recording, Phillips said. Notability syncs audio recordings to what the student types or writes, Phillips said. It also enables students to pull in pictures, videos, or webpages into a note. Apple’s Notes features that comes built-in with devices also allows students to capture pictures or video, sketch, or type their notes.

Reviewing information: Allow students to pause, replay content with interactive whiteboards. The downside of a traditional whiteboard is when the information gets erased on the board, it can get erased from a student’s brain, too, Phillips said. With interactive whiteboards such as ShowMe Interactive, Educreations, and Explain Everything, students can watch a video of a whiteboard demonstration. They can pause, rewind, or replay the video as many times as they need. Teachers can narrate their own whiteboard slides so students hear their teacher’s explanation.

“There’s something about hearing your teacher’s voice paired with the visuals that’s so powerful for our students,” Phillips said.

Create a whiteboard demonstration that students can watch before a lesson or outside of class. That can save class time, he said.

“I see a lot of teachers who aren’t capitalizing on time saving items like this.”

Practicing skills: Encourage students to apply what they know by creating ibooks, comics. Teach students how to create their own interactive books and comic strips with Book Creator and Comic Life, Phillips said.

“What really appeals to our middle schoolers are comics,” he said. “With the thought bubbles, you can ask students to write what a character is thinking, and that can lead to an activity about social relationships, too.”

Or, students can rewrite historical events as a comic strip, he said. Students can also videotape themselves or classmates explaining multiple steps of a science experiment and embed that video into an interactive digital book with Book Creator, he said.

“I can’t downplay the video element,” he said. “We’re teaching the YouTube generation.”

Organizing content: Help students gather multimedia in one place with digital bulletin boards. Students need a place to store and organize information from multiple mediums, Phillips said. Digital bulletin boards such as Padlet and Lino help students save webpages, audio notes, typed notes, or visuals in one place online. Dawn Huskey, who teaches digital photography and graphic design at Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, Fla., said she has her students use Padlet to post information as a class on a topic.

“It’s nice because students can put up tweets, videos, citations, whatever they find,” she said.

Jennifer Herseim covers Section 504, education technology, and Common Core issues related to special education for LRP Publications.

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