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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Web tools and resources for teachers working with students who have visual and hearing impairment

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices, and demonstrate how these best practices can be applied in the real (i.e. physical) and virtual (i.e. online) classroom for both teaching and teacher training. The combination of face to face instruction in a physical setting and online learning is called blended learning. In this section of the blog we will describe how the internet can serve as a supplemental resource for instruction and the mentoring of pre-service and in-service Jewish educators. In this post we will discuss web tool and resources for teachers working with students who have visual and hearing impairment.

Note: In no case should this blog  be construed as a major or primary resource on special education. 

Assumption: The teacher or mentor teacher has a interactive white board (i.e. SMART Board, Promethean, etc.), a Tablet PC (also called a Slate or Blade), a computer presenter or computer with internet access attached to an LCD projector in the classroom. It would be ideal if students or mentees had access to their own laptop computers or Ipads. Given parental and school approval, and the development of specific guidelines, smartphones can be used to enhance instruction as well.

Note: Although the web tools and resources described below can be applied in the Judaic Studies blended learning classroom, it can be also be used for training pre-service and in-service Jewish educators for professional or staff development. It is our hope that Jewish educators around the globe will form an online community of practice, a CoP, a group of people who share an interest, a craft, and/or a profession, to enhance the delivery of instruction and training of Jewish educators. For example, here is a CoP you might want to join. 

Note: The web tools and resources listed below can be used in both a physical and virtual Judaic Studies classroom.

Web resources and tools for students who have visual and hearing impairment from

  • Thunder: Thunder helps visually impaired and blind web users navigate the Internet.
  • TextAloud: This system translates into all kinds of languages and dialects, including US and UK English, LA Spanish, and more.
  • This image library for teachers and students can help hearing impaired students as well as students with other learning disabilities.
  • Another Lens: Hover your mouse over a selected area to view a magnified version.
  • ReadPlease: This text-to-speech software works on Windows computers.
  • e-Captioning: Research closed captioning and subtitling tools here.
  • BrainPOP: This colorful, dynamic learning site has all kinds of resources for engaging learners without using sound.
  • NonVisual Desktop Access: NVDA is a free, open source screen reader that uses text-to-speech and Braille.
  • iZoom: With iZoom, visually impaired students can magnify their computer screens.
  • BIGGY: Features included in this toolkit include bigger fonts, cursors and more for your word processor.

Here are additional web tools and resources to assist students with visual and hearing impairment

On the next post we will share web tools and resources to help teachers working with students who have challenges navigating the web.

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