These assistive/adaptive technologies are all tools, products, or resources that could benefit students with disabilities or special needs in my 4th grade class.

Mild to Severe Cognitive Disabilities
Read Out Loud is a reading program that will read books aloud for students who have difficulty in reading. Tools like highlighters, outlines, and notes help to improve reading comprehension while modeling good reading. I can see using this program in my 4th grade classroom every year since about 20% of my class reads below grade level. This program is sold by site license so it is affordable when you can think about how many students can be serviced by this one program purchase.

Write Out Loud Students who have great difficulty with spelling and grammar will benefit from this text-to-speech program. It is more than a talking word processor. It has built in writing tools like talking spell checker, dictionary, and, homophone checker. Any student participating in any writing activity can utilize this useful program in my 4th grade class.

Dragon Talk Naturally Speaking is speech recognition software that can aid students who have disabilities getting thoughts on paper. Students can use their voices to launch programs, edit text and open files. This program seems even more versatile that Write Out Loud, and I can visualize students in my class using it in computer class and beyond to aid in utilizing the many technologies I want to incorporate in my 4th grade class.

Physical Disabilities
Intellikeys Students with physical disabilities that prevent them from using a standard keyboard will befit from Intellikeys. Intellikeys has a touch sensitive surface and configurations of the keys can be changed with different overlays. Since the use of a computer is essential in my 4th grade class, students with physical disabilities will be able to participate readily with this specialized keyboard.

Adjustable Touchscreen Stylus This tool can allow students to use a touch screen like an iPod or iTouch without the use of an index finger. The stylus can be fitted to any hand at any position. I am very interested in mobile learning and possibly bringin iPods into my classroom, therefore the use of this stylus will really benefit the physically challenged student.

Sensory Disabilities
Desktop Video Magnifier Students who have vision disabilities will benefit from this device. It acts as a document camera, but can magnify print or anything on the student’s desk so a student can see it more clearly. This tool will definitely help during hands-on science labs we encounter in our 4th grade, as well as everyday tasks such as reading, note taking, and researching.

Portable audio equipment for teachers Students who are hearing impaired will benefit from audio enhancement products. A teacherscan wear a microphone around her neck in order for the microphone to magnify her voice through a speaker that is either mounted near the student in need, or even in an ear piece the student wears.

Brain Pop This online program offers a variety of fun, educational topics for students and teachers to explore. The tutorials and quizzes are motivational, colorful, and memorable. They also provide immediate feedback to ensure students’ understanding. Brain Pop topics that I have already used in my 4th grade class are Nutrition, Human Body, Electricity and Magnetism, Rocks and Minerals, Digital Citizenship, and Map Skills.

Scholastic Keys This program offers elementary students a kid-friendly introduction to Microsoft Office and everything it has to offer. The easy-to-use- interface allows students to use creative productivity tools so students can see immediate results of their work. This low-frustration program will help at-risk students utilize great tools and get great projects as a result. I can see using this program in my class for students who are having trouble with traditional Microsoft Office programs, since there are so many tools elementary students do not need on the regular version! Since we use Excel, PowerPoint, and Word almost everyday, I know my 4th graders could benefit.

Gifts and Talents
Create your own web page Gifted students can really explore a topic on their own and show off their learning by creating their own web pages. This site gives a step-by-step guide from start to finish how the process works, including teaching a bit of HTML. In my 4th grade class high-level students will benefit from making their own web pages in a variety of disciplines. And once they have that knowledge, they can create more web pages to teach others as well.

Independent Learning Developing critical thinking skills is the goal of Duke’s TIP program. Students who are gifted can explore and learn on their own through inquiry-based projects and creative productivity. Students work with local mentors face-to-face or virtually as well. I think this project sounds very feasible since we have many local people in my area such as engineers, geologists, doctors, and IT personnel, who are very willing to help out in our schools.

Web Poster Wizard Students create their own projects and submit them online to their teachers. Teachers can archive projects in one place for students to view. Gifted and talented students can really let their creativity flow here and the fact that students can share each others’ posters is an added bonus!