Today, I'm going to share some interesting tools and Websites that provide resources and information that can help teachers design lessons that accommodate every student.
The first site you should know about is the W3C. The W3C is the standards board for the World Wide Web and they provide guidelines for ensuring that Web sites are accessible by all. Here is a complete list of Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools. I also like these quick accessibility tips.
Another resource is Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators including a special section on Special Ed resources containing some resources on assistive technology, sign language tools and more.
WebQuest.org provides lots of information about how to create WebQuests, template design and detail, and a support community. You can also use QuestGarden to build your own and search existing WebQuests. While not specifically an adaptive technology, WebQuests are ideal for designing instruction that is differentiated. For example, here is WebQuest that I designed for 4th grade social studies students examining the connection between Colonial Values and America Today. The roles are designed so that students of differing abilities will be appropriately challenged.
FunBrain is a site that has several educational games for kids. It also seems like you purchase books to read online at the site which might help children improve their literacy skills.
I really like the idea behind Awesome Talkster because it helps kids learn to read and use the Internet at an early age. As per the review at IDEAS, "adding a Natural Voice to Web pages, children and teens can learn to pronounce words as they read them. Awesome Talkster, the Awesome Talking Library, includes an animated character, providing synchronized highlighting so that children can follow along even more easily. This multi-sensory approach is a powerful method for improving reading skills" for all children. I think it would also be especially helpful for students with special needs.
Don't be confused. Clicker is not one of the interactive response devices (called "Clickers"). In this context, Clicker is a reading and writing tool based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) which helps all students to improve these vital skills.
Powerpointlessness - I love it! Until reading Scoring Powerpoints, I have generally been of the opinion that Powerpoints should never be used in the classroom as a way to say "I'm integrating technology". While still true, I do see now the benefits of helping students prepare effective Powerpoint presentations with accompanying supportive documentation since remains a critical skill in the 21st century. But, it can not be the only tool used by students! If you want to explore some of the ways that Powerpoint can be used effectively in the classroom, here are some Powerpoint Tutorials to get you started: Powerpoint in the Classroom, Internet for Classrooms.
Finally, here are some challenges to web accessibility that you might consider as you design and use various sites, lessons, and more: The Challenges of Web Accessibility for the Blind and the Dyslexia challenge.
That's it for now. Stay tuned for more useful resources coming soon...