“This is how we describe it: We lost our child to autism at about 20 months, and we have been trying to get him back ever since,” says his mother, Missy Brademeyer.
Now one technological tool may help bring Cade a little closer to home.
About eight months ago, Mark Coppin, assistive technology director at the Anne Carlsen Center in Jamestown, encouraged the Brademeyers to buy Cade an iPad. He told the Fort Ransom, N.D., couple that some children with disabilities were successfully using the popular tablet computer to communicate and learn.
Cade, now 11, had already tried other communication devices but didn’t really take to them. That changed when he got his hands on an iPad. In no time, Cade was scrolling through the touch-responsive screen’s digital pages, clicking on apps (pre-programmed applications) and playing games.
These days, he uses a program called Proloquo2Go to communicate. Proloquo2Go allows users to select images representing words, which the iPad will speak for them. Cade uses it to augment his vocabulary of five to six spoken words plus sign language.
Since he got the device, “Cade has definitely become more communicative and is independently trying to say new words that he was previously only signing,” says Mary Lewis, special education teacher at the Anne Carlsen Center, which educates children with special needs.
This is one of those unintended consequences of technology that makes me very, very happy.
Read Part 1 - Introduction
Read Part 2 - Why is Vocabulary Instruction Important
Read Part 3 - What Vocabulary Instruction Should Look Like
Read Part 4 - Activities and Tips (non-tech)
So, those of you that have followed me on tumblr know that I love to use this platform to collect online teaching tools, resources, and class activities. Therefore, I really enjoyed this article: eVoc Strategies: 10 Ways to Use Technology to Build Vocabulary, Bridget Dalton, Dana L. Grisham, The Reading Teacher, February 2011 the following activities/sites were listed in this article (read the article thing to see all of the tools/sites)
Wordle and Word Sift are similar tools — Wordsift provides related words, which I really like. I’ve heard of Wordle a number of times, and have used it to introduce a new unit in math before. This article pinpointed questions that should be asked when using these tools to build vocabulary such as:
- what does this image suggest the passage / text will be about
- what are the most important words
- how do you think these words will go together
- why do you think this shape was selected
and to follow-up after reading:
- what words would you add or take away
- are there certain words that should be given more space
Trackstar allows you to collect websites, videos, add annotations and create a digital field trip to help build vocabulary and prior knowledge. What I like is that there are a lot of lessons already created that you could use or tweak for your students.
Also noted in the article were digital translators, digital texts, and text to speech tools which can be particularly helpful for struggling readers and ESL students.
The following sites come from my own explorations on the internet, tumblr, twitter, etc.
Word Stash allows you to create separate lists to share. The site acts as a dictionary and a thesaurus. It provides a sentence for most words that you look up, the pronunciation (actual sound), the latest tweets that have the word, and recent articles that have the words. You can also quiz yourself on word lists. I like to have my students use this as a resource when creating word expert cards or completing vocabulary graphic organizers.
One Word One word provides you with one word to write about for 60 seconds. I have not used this yet, but I think it could be a good vocabulary builder to gage vocabulary knowledge.
Vocabulary Games has… you guessed it! Vocabulary games.
Spelling City has vocabulary and spelling activities.
My Vocabulary has activities with root words, SAT words, themed word lists and more.
Vocabulary.com has discussions on how our lexicon changes. It also has quizzes, word lists, and quizzes.
Finally, Qwiki can be an excellent way to find related words and learn vocabulary — especially for visual learners!
Also I really love the vocabulary concept maps that can be found on Busy Teacher’s Cafe .
I was recently talking to Rich Tong about ways tumblr can be used by teachers.
I obviously included ideas such as a better directory page outside of the educational page, a education/teaching section like there is for news (search that tag and you’ll see what I mean), and possibly doing something with teachers like they are doing with fashion week.
(I can’t promise that any of these will happen. )
He mentioned that one of his friends at Parson’s teaches a creative writing course and uses a tumblr to manage class assignments.
She has her students create a tumblr.
She follows her students
Assignments are posted on the class page.
She has them post assignments to tumblr.
She likes the posts so the student knows the assignment is received.
She reblogs anything that she thinks is really important, interesting, worth discussing to the class page for everyone to see.
Her name is Adriana Young and her class tumblr is Writer Block Party
I thought this was an awesome way to use tumblr. The only obstacle I would have with doing something similar is that at my school, tumblr is blocked. I wonder if there is a way to have a “safe setting” that would allow it to be used in more schools.