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Friday, June 8, 2012

Web tools and resources to help teachers working with students who have challenges navigating the web

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 challenges navigating the web.

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 challenges navigating the web from

  • Web Design: These toolkits help teachers and anyone else set up websites that accommodate special needs visitors.
  • WebbIE: This program helps blind and visually impaired individuals access the web.
  • Web Talkster: This free talking web browser makes it easier for the visually impaired to use the Internet.
  • SpringerLink: HTML structure is accessed through audio technology with SpringerLink.
  • BrailleSurf: This Internet browser for blind and low vision users operates a speech synthesizer.
  • Communicate: Webwide: This program makes the Internet more accessible and includes symbol and full speech support.
  • LowBrowse: Lighthouse International’s tool is an add-on to Firefox that features image enlargement, speech capability and page customization.
  • EIA: The Enhancing Internet Access system works with a specialized web browser for special education and rehabilitation environments.
  • ZAC Browser: This browser is the first web browser just for autistic children.
  • Homer: Homer is a simple but effective web browser for the blind.

Here are additional web tools and resources to assist students with navigating the web

On the next post we will share web tools and resources for special education teachers.

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