Why Smart Kids shouldn't use laptops in class

For the past 15 years, educators have debatedexhaustivelythe perils of laptops in the lecture hall. Professors complain that laptops are distraction machines; defenders say that boring classes are to blame — students have always doodled or daydreamed, so what’s the difference that they’re browsing Facebook instead?

The remarkable thing about all the fuss is that, until now, there hasn’t been really great data on how classroom computing affects learning. There have been some small-scale, short-term experiments. A 2003 study found that laptops make it harder for students to remember what they had just learned in lecture. A 2014 study showed that students are less likely to understand complex ideas when they are forced to take notes by computer instead of by hand. But these were all contrived situations involving immediate recall. It’s less clear how laptop use affects students over the course of a semester.

Now there is an answer, thanks to a big, new experiment from economists at West Point, who randomly banned computers from some sections of a popular economics course this past year at the military academy. One-third of the sections could use laptops or tablets to take notes during lecture; one-third could use tablets, but only to look at class materials; and one-third were prohibited from using any technology.

Unsurprisingly, the students who were allowed to use laptops — and 80 percent of them did — scored worse on the final exam. What’s interesting is that the smartest students seemed to be harmed the most.

Among students with high ACT scores, those in the laptop-friendly sections performed significantly worse than their counterparts in the no-technology sections. In contrast, there wasn’t much of a difference between students with low ACT scores — those who were allowed to use laptops did just as well as those who couldn’t. (The same pattern held true when researchers looked at students with high and low GPAs.)

These results are a bit strange. We might have expected the smartest students to have used their laptops prudently. Instead, they became technology’s biggest victims. Perhaps hubris played a role. The smarter students may have overestimated their ability to multitask. Or the top students might have had the most to gain by paying attention in class.

The size of the laptop disadvantage was modest. The average score on the final was 72 out of 100, and students in sections with laptops scored about 1.7 points lower. But it’s hard to understand what 1.7 points means without knowing how bunched up or far apart people’s test scores were. (For the stats-savvy, the effect size was about 0.2 standard deviations.)

So here’s another way to think about it. The average score on the math section of the SAT last year was 511 out of 800. The difference between exam grades in the laptop-friendly sections and exam grades in the no-laptop sections is equivalent to the difference between scoring a 511 and scoring a 491 on the SAT’s math section. (That’s roughly the same boost a high school studentmight expect from hiring an SAT tutor.)

The researchers — Susan Payne Carter, Kyle Greenberg and Michael Walker — were also surprised to find that the tablet-only sections did just as poorly as the laptop-friendly sections. Even though students were not allowed to check email or play games on the tablets, the technology still seemed to interfere with their learning.

Still, these results are probably on the optimistic side. At West Point, sections are capped at 18 students, so the instructors could easily call out people who were obviously goofing off on their laptops. The problem of computer distraction is probably much more severe at other colleges, where lectures might hold hundreds of students.

The West Point study has lessons even for those whose baccalaureate days are far behind them. This is yet more evidence that multitasking doesn’t work. Beware of people who take laptops into meetings — even “just to take notes.”They’re probably not listening to you.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/05/16/why-smart-kids-shouldnt-use-laptops-in-class/

15 Funny things Over Heard in the Classroom by Jodi Teachers Pay Teachers

When kids have something to say, they say it. Get a load of these hilarious gems, straight from the mouths of the tiniest comedians:

1. “I can’t read right now. I have heartburn.”

2. “It must be really hard to be talking and know that no one is listening to you.”

3. “I’m going to shave my beard when I go home tonight.” (1st grader)

4. “I didn’t know you bought groceries!”

5. “My mom got the fat sucked out of her belly today, so we have to leave her alone in bed for a few days.”

6. “Are pickles made from an alligator’s skin?”

7. “Your hand sanitizer does NOT taste like apples.”

8. “The government should postpone the media shower until next week so more people can watch it.”

9.  “My water broke.”(5-year-old boy)

10. “Ms. S, why aren’t you married? Is it because you’re in high school?”

11. “Do you need to get your zen on?”

12. “So, am I a placenta?”

13. “Sorry I was late to school again. My mom had the runs this morning.”

14. “Mrs. O, what are you gonna be when you grow up?”

15. “I already know Kindergarten. I Googled it.”

Why its important to be the squeaky wheel to get the oil!

How School Systems Create *That* Parent for Children in Special Education

Demanding. Annoying. Angry. Unrealistic. Unreasonable. Every teacher, principal, and school district administrator knows *that* parent. In special education, there are much greater numbers of *that* parent, and I'm sure school systems feel irritated and challenged by the threats of law suits and seemingly endless fights over Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals. But do they realize their role in creating *that* parent?

In an earlier post, I begged teachers not to force parents to become *that* parent, explaining that all parents, and especially those of children with special needs, want to be liked and work in partnership with their children's teachers. The incident I cited was the failure of a special education teacher to communicate with the parents of a non-verbal child, or even to answer their emails asking about the child spending time in a "quiet room" and the lack of a behavior plan for its use.

After five emails, the teacher responded and offered to meet. The meeting consisted of her pulling the child's mother aside during pick up time to reassure her that the room was actually more of a closet with a door that didn't lock, that the child chose to go to the room, and that it helped to regulate his behavior.

These parents are so polite and accommodating that they accepted the explanation and decided to wait a few days before requesting a more formal meeting. They had arranged for a visit from a specialist in teaching reading to non-verbal children, and she was coming that week to train the special education classroom teacher. These trainings were part of the child's IEP. Except the training didn't happen because the school failed to arrange for a sub. Instead, the school district special education department suggested a classroom aide could be trained. But it is not legal for anyone other then a special education teacher to carry out the instructional minutes mandated by the IEP. So no, that didn't happen.

Now the parents transitioned from being nice to being extremely angry and frustrated. Now they became *that* parent. Yes, they admit their child can be difficult and they are aware of his behavioral challenges. But they also know their child is capable of learning and can actually read. His capacity to learn is demonstrated in private therapy and at home. Just not at school. In short, he has been deprived of years of education by a school system mainly focused on his behavior and managing it.

In her blog Let's Be Blunt: The Illusion of Inclusion, Karen Copeland writes about how parents of children receiving special education services evolve into angry parents:

"We are told we need to stay calm and polite in meetings in order to be respectful. The challenge is that these very systems have set us up and created us to be these angry parents by virtue of the fact that we have had to fight so long and so hard to get our children and families even a fraction of the accommodations and support we need."

Copeland shares the journey of many parents of children with special needs in our public schools:

  • The frustration of not being informed about or consulted when important decisions are made for their children, despite assurances at IEP meetings that they are valuable partners.
  • The need to advocate constantly for the extra support their children require, the support promised to them by law under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • The isolation their families experience in the school setting as parents of typically developing children ignore them and complain that their children are taking too much teacher time and too many resources.
  • The lack of appropriate support and learning adaptations for children placed in general education classrooms without access to resource rooms and specialized teaching.

Like all parents, those of children with special needs want their kids to succeed and live up to their potential. They also have dreams for their children and believe their children are capable of learning at their own pace. Like the parents of the child spending time in the "quiet room" closet and being denied appropriate educational interventions, they try to supplement what the school fails to provide.

Copeland reminds us that schools should never give up on a child regardless of age. "How many people would write off their own child if he/she was different?"

A school psychologist commented on my earlier blog, "Please be *that* parent. Your child deserves no less, and your special education team needs the feedback to support your child's success." Speaking on behalf of all parents of children receiving special education services, I am asking school districts to collaborate, communicate, and consult rather than evade, fight, and blame. Try it. I'm sure fewer folks will become *that* parent.

Demanding. Annoying. Angry. Unrealistic. Unreasonable. Every teacher, principal, and school district administrator knows *that* parent. In special education, there are much greater numbers of *that* parent, and I'm sure school systems feel irritated and challenged by the threats of law suits and seemingly endless fights over Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals. But do they realize their role in creating *that* parent?

In an earlier post, I begged teachers not to force parents to become *that* parent, explaining that all parents, and especially those of children with special needs, want to be liked and work in partnership with their children's teachers. The incident I cited was the failure of a special education teacher to communicate with the parents of a non-verbal child, or even to answer their emails asking about the child spending time in a "quiet room" and the lack of a behavior plan for its use.

After five emails, the teacher responded and offered to meet. The meeting consisted of her pulling the child's mother aside during pick up time to reassure her that the room was actually more of a closet with a door that didn't lock, that the child chose to go to the room, and that it helped to regulate his behavior.

These parents are so polite and accommodating that they accepted the explanation and decided to wait a few days before requesting a more formal meeting. They had arranged for a visit from a specialist in teaching reading to non-verbal children, and she was coming that week to train the special education classroom teacher. These trainings were part of the child's IEP. Except the training didn't happen because the school failed to arrange for a sub. Instead, the school district special education department suggested a classroom aide could be trained. But it is not legal for anyone other then a special education teacher to carry out the instructional minutes mandated by the IEP. So no, that didn't happen.

Now the parents transitioned from being nice to being extremely angry and frustrated. Now they became *that* parent. Yes, they admit their child can be difficult and they are aware of his behavioral challenges. But they also know their child is capable of learning and can actually read. His capacity to learn is demonstrated in private therapy and at home. Just not at school. In short, he has been deprived of years of education by a school system mainly focused on his behavior and managing it.

In her blog Let's Be Blunt: The Illusion of Inclusion, Karen Copeland writes about how parents of children receiving special education services evolve into angry parents:

"We are told we need to stay calm and polite in meetings in order to be respectful. The challenge is that these very systems have set us up and created us to be these angry parents by virtue of the fact that we have had to fight so long and so hard to get our children and families even a fraction of the accommodations and support we need."

Copeland shares the journey of many parents of children with special needs in our public schools:

  • The frustration of not being informed about or consulted when important decisions are made for their children, despite assurances at IEP meetings that they are valuable partners.
  • The need to advocate constantly for the extra support their children require, the support promised to them by law under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • The isolation their families experience in the school setting as parents of typically developing children ignore them and complain that their children are taking too much teacher time and too many resources.
  • The lack of appropriate support and learning adaptations for children placed in general education classrooms without access to resource rooms and specialized teaching.

Like all parents, those of children with special needs want their kids to succeed and live up to their potential. They also have dreams for their children and believe their children are capable of learning at their own pace. Like the parents of the child spending time in the "quiet room" closet and being denied appropriate educational interventions, they try to supplement what the school fails to provide.

Copeland reminds us that schools should never give up on a child regardless of age. "How many people would write off their own child if he/she was different?"

A school psychologist commented on my earlier blog, "Please be *that* parent. Your child deserves no less, and your special education team needs the feedback to support your child's success." Speaking on behalf of all parents of children receiving special education services, I am asking school districts to collaborate, communicate, and consult rather than evade, fight, and blame. Try it. I'm sure fewer folks will become *that* parent.

Laurie Levy  Huffington Post

The Tutoring Trend

Experts estimate that millions of youngsters, some as young as 4, are being tutored — to stay on par with peers, compensate for a learning disability, boost their scores on high-stakes assessment tests required for promotion or acceptance into gifted/talented programs, or simply to grab that competitive edge. And not surprisingly, in this, as in just about every parenting issue, experts are at odds over whether all this extra work is such a good idea.

A Brave New World
In the last decade, as education has zoomed to the top of the national agenda and demand for higher standards and more accountability on the part of schools has increased, tutoring little kids has become big business. Many parents are opting to supplement their children's education with outside assistance, whether in the form of private help with a moonlighting or retired teacher, college student or recent grad, or small classes at one of the national chains. The largest, Sylvan Reading Systems, has 950 centers in the U.S. and Canada; other big players include Huntington Learning Centers and Kumon Math & Reading Centers.

What's more, test-preparation giants such as The Princeton Review and Kaplan (with 150 centers in 11 states), long aimed at college-bound high school students, report a surge in demand for their services at the elementary school level. Both companies now run publicly funded tutoring programs in city schools as well as online programs, complete with access to 24-hour-a-day tutors, for children as young as kindergarten.

That Competitive Edge
Perhaps it's not surprising that, in an age when the college admissions frenzy causes angst even in families still buying diapers, some parents of kids who are doing just fine feel compelled to seek help so that they can do even better.

"There is nothing wrong with tutoring in principle," says Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., co-author of Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less and a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia. "But what I'm hearing today is that children are being coached to get into the right preschool. This generation of parents believes it's never too early to start academic learning — and that you must grab every opportunity. But childhood is not a race; it's a journey. And faster isn't always better."

When Tutoring Can Help
On the other hand, tutoring for the right reasons can spell the difference between a child who flounders and one who flourishes. "While the major work of learning takes place in school, a qualified tutor — working in tandem with the teacher — can perform a valuable function in helping to reinforce a child's reading and writing skills and apply them to homework assignments, as well as introduce study and organization skills," says Sally Shaywitz, M.D., co-director of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention and author of Overcoming Dyslexia.

In fact, for many kids it's not only appropriate, but necessary to have a tutor. "When specific, basic skills are not developing as you would expect, or when a child has a diagnosed learning disability, having a tutor can help her build those special skills or compensate for the ones she lacks," says learning specialist Susan J. Schwartz, M.A. Ed., clinical coordinator at the Institute for Learning and Academic Achievement at the New York University Child Study Center.

For time-crunched parents, themselves baffled by their kid's homework, or those whose child has a learning disability, a qualified tutor can personalize lessons to accommodate learning style, boost self-esteem, and end the nightly battles over homework. It's a boon, as well, for children lost in the shuffle of the large class sizes all too common in today's public schools.

Source: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/homework-project-tips/tutoring-trend

I found this article fairly accurate!

20 Things to Remember If You Love a Person With Dyslexia

It’s hard to understand it, isn’t it?

If you’re not one of the ten to fifteen percent of the population with dyslexia, it’s really hard to understand what it’s like.

It’s easy to think that it’s a bit of a scam. That if people with dyslexia worked harder, and really applied themselves, they could “get over it.” But that’s not the case.

Life is actually much more difficult for people with dyslexia. They have brilliant minds, but they’re hard to focus.

Dyslexia is a gift—the gift of being able to see things from lots of different points of view, all at once. But the gift comes with a curse, and the curse is that it’s hard to prioritize, or make sense of, all those perspectives.

People with dyslexia can be hard to live with, and hard to love, because their brains work so differently to ours. Even if you love someone with dyslexia, the day-to-day living with it can drive you insane. Because they can forget things, believe they’ve said or done things they haven’t, be incredibly messy and disorganized, and be less socially aware than other people.

The best thing you can do is to understand more about dyslexia, so you’re less exasperated and more sympathetic.

This is an insight into how their minds work.

1. They have lifestyle challenges.

Dyslexia is much more than just having difficulty reading, writing, and using numbers. They see the world in a completely different way, communicate differently, and have trouble organizing things.

Some people describe it as a lifestyle challenge, others as a lifestyle curse, because it affects almost all aspects of their lives.

2. They can seem weird.

Despite their high intelligence, and because they see so many different perspectives at once, they can appear incoherent in conversation. They can come out with strange ideas, and lack the ability to check if their thoughts are suitable for conversation. They can seem almost autistic because they’re often unaware of social rules.

3. They find details exhausting.

Because their brain is less efficient at processing letters and sounds, it has to work harder—much harder. So any time spent reading, using numbers, or focusing on details is really, really exhausting.

4. They function differently on different days.

Some days they seem to function better than others, and can appear to be improving. Other days, it’s like everything is getting worse. There’s no reason, and no pattern. It just is.

 

 

 

5. They are highly creative.

Their ability to view the world from all perspectives makes them highly creative. They can come up with wildly creative ideas, partly because they’re not constrained by the laws of physics, mathematical logic, or the impossible.

6. They see things that others don’t.

Like words moving on the page, or even off the page, and letters flipping about. You know how challenging it can be to read letters and numbers incaptcha? Imagine reading a whole book like that. Or reading a book through a magnifying lens that a child is holding, and moving about.

They can even see the word cat more than 40 different ways.

7. They get overwhelmed by what they see.

They see so many possibilities that their thoughts can become garbled and distorted. It’s hard to sort through all that information and work out what’s important or appropriate. Without the ability to filter, this special gift becomes a tragic, confusing, disability.

8. They are more likely to have ADD.

People with dyslexia are more likely to have ADD. About 40% of people with dyslexia have ADD, and 60% of people with ADD have dyslexia.

9. They can experience thoughts as reality.

They can fully believe they’ve told you something, that they haven’t, or swear that you haven’t told them something that you have.

Often they express themselves in such a unique way that their message hasn’t come across coherently. And they may not realize that this aspect of their communication is part of their dyslexia.

10. They may not know they have dyslexia.

According to the Mayo Clinic, dyslexia can go undiagnosed for years, and may not be recognized until adulthood. This is one reason why it’s hard to calculate the number of people with dyslexia. And, unfortunately, people with undiagnosed dyslexia often label themselves as stupid or slow.

11. They think in pictures instead of words.

Not surprisingly, they tend to be highly visual, think in pictures, and utilize visual aids to help them plan and organize their lives. Rather than using self-talk, their thought processes are more subliminal. Most people with dyslexia are not even aware that they do this.

12. They will always have dyslexia.

They can learn to read and spell, but they will always have dyslexia. To make life easier, a font and a dictionary specifically for people with dyslexia are on the way.

The font is designed to avoid confusion, and add clarity, while the dictionary will favor meaning over alphabetical order.

13. They use their brain differently.

People with dyslexia don’t use their brain the same way that most of us do. Their brain underutilizes the left hemisphere—the area required for reading—and the bridge of tissue between the two sides of the brain (the corpus callosum) doesn’t function in the same way. So, their brain doesn’t always direct information to the correct place for processing.

14. They get it from their family.

Dyslexia is inherited, and most people with dyslexia have an aunt or uncle, or a parent or grandparent with dyslexia. Scientists have discovered that the DCD2 appears to be a dyslexia gene.

15. They often have low self-esteem.

People with dyslexia are just as intelligent as the rest of us. And they’re fully aware that other people can read and write much more easily than they can. So they feel stupid compared to other people.

As Albert Einstein said:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s whole life thinking it’s stupid.”

16. They have different symptoms.

Dyslexia is a tricky thing, because no two people have the exact same symptoms. Some lose things, or have poor organization skills. Some are slow at reading or have poor comprehension. Some may have difficulty organizing ideas to write, or have difficulty processing auditory information. Some also have difficulty sequencing the days of the week, or months of the year.

17. They are full of contradictions.

They may be highly aware of their environment, but appear lost. They may recognize, or read, a word on one page but be unable to recognize it on the next. Their brains are often very fast, but they appear slow, because they’re filtering through all the possibilities that they see.

18. They have great strengths.

People with dyslexia are often very good at reading people, and have great people skills. They usually have fantastic memories, and rely on them. They’re often good at spoken language, and frequently spatially talented (think architects, engineers, artist and craftspeople). They are highly intelligent, and intuitive, with vivid imaginations.

19. They can be incredibly successful.

People with dyslexia can be incredibly successful, often because of their dyslexia.

Famous people with dyslexia include entertainers like Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Henry Winkler, Danny Glover and Cher. As well as artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Tommy Hilfiger, Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.

Carole Grieder and Baruj Benacerraf utilized their dyslexia to become Nobel prize-winning scientists. People with dyslexia also go on to be writers and journalists like Scott Adams (of Dilbert), Agatha Christie, F Scott Fitzgerald, and Fannie Flagg (the author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café).

20. They can change the world.

People with dyslexia can, and have changed the world. People like George Washington, Richard Branson, Henry Ford and Stephen Spielberg have changed, and continue to change, the world we live in.

People with dyslexia are kind, creative, highly intelligent beings who are just as frustrated at their inabilities as you are. They just can’t take a break from the way their minds work.

Instead they rely on the people that love them to help them interpret the world, and to help them function in a world that’s not adjusted to their needs.

Yes, they can be frustrating to love at times, but they have incredible, unique, world-changing gifts.

With your help, maybe the person you love can change the world too.

Featured photo credit: US Department of Education via Flickr via flickr.com

http://yourmedicalguide.info/

Exercise promoting kids to read more!

This article demonstrates how creative teachers can be to inspire kids to read! Most adults that go to the gym and use the cardio machines and read while getting their exercise. This teacher thought it would be great to transfer this into the classroom to see if it would work with kids!

www.upworthy.com  

 

Could Dyslexic Students be Winning with all the new Technology

Apple vs. Google: The Real Winners Are Students with Dyslexic

by Jamie Martin (Forbes)

You may have noticed a little friendly competition between Apple and Google, the technology giants who are in constant battle to be King of the Hill. During his keynote presentations, Apple’s Tim Cook often jabs at the adoption rate of new versions of Android compared to those of iOS. Google’s inexpensive and versatile Chromebooks are steadily taking over the school market, which once seemed ripe for widespread iPad adoption. Currently, the Apple Watch has slipped past Google Glass as the most intriguing device in the wearables category. The back-and-forth of tech dominance can be dizzying and difficult to follow.

Beyond the corporate rivalry, there is also a divide among consumers. Apple fans swear by any product that is developed in Apple’s ecosphere, while those who have “gone Google” are passionate about less expensive technology that they consider just as functional.

While the debate over which company holds the crown continues, one thing is for certain: The rivalry has been a boon for students with dyslexia. During the past decade, assistive technology (AT) has increasingly become the great academic equalizer for students with language difficulties, and Apple and Google are currently leading the charge. Their strong desire to outdo each other has led each to produce great technology with enough available AT to make them invaluable resources for the dyslexic community. The truth is that if you are a student who has difficulty reading and writing, you can look to either company for helpful accommodations. Better yet, you can study the vast menu of AT options on Mac desktop computers, Chromebooks, iOS devices, and Android devices, and select the combination of tools that will work best for you.

OS X vs. Chrome OS

At one time, the best assistive technology for students with dyslexia could only be found on desktop computers. Software like Dragon DictateInspiration, and Read&Write Gold could turn an iMac or a MacBook into a powerful machine for reading and writing. Then Apple started to integrate accessibility features, such as text-to-speech and dictation, into its desktop operating system, OS X. Today, the combination of accessibility tools and available third-party software allow a Mac computer to be a great option for dyslexic students.

Some families and many school districts are, however, prohibited from adopting Macs due to their high price tag. In those cases, less expensive computers, particularly Chromebooks that run on Google’s Chrome OS, have become an attractive alternative. Schools and individual students can find an array of AT-related extensions and apps that can assist with academic tasks involving reading and writing. In fact, well-known assistive technology companies like Texthelp and Don Johnston, Inc.have started developing Chrome versions of their most popular technologies.Read&Write for GoogleCo:Writer Universal, and Snap&Read Universal are all considered essential Chrome tools for dyslexic students. They also integrate nicely with Google Apps for Education, which many schools have adopted as their go-to learning platform.

Certainly, there are advantages to using either operating system. Students who rely on an OS X computer for their assistive technology have access to full-featured software and built-in AT tools that do not necessarily rely on the Internet to function. They can also store all of their work locally on their computers for constant access. On the other hand, students who employ Chrome for help with their schoolwork can access their assistive technology on any computer that is running the Chrome browser. Because apps and extensions are assigned to individual Google accounts (they are not device-specific), students just need to sign in on any machine to access their tools.

Of course, if particular students are devoted Mac users but like the AT tools found in Chrome, they can always use Google technology on Apple hardware. That kind of thing has been happening since the rivalry started.

iOS vs. Android

One of the best things to happen to students with dyslexia was the development of mobile devices, specifically smartphones and tablets. Assistive technology that was once limited to full-size computers and laptops can now fit into students’ pockets — a development that allows AT to be used in locations beyond the classroom. For example, someone who has difficulty reading menu items in a restaurant can utilize the camera, an OCR app, and text-to-speech on a smartphone to select an appetizing entrée.

In educational settings, the touch-screen interface of mobile devices can contribute to multisensory learning experiences that are important to dyslexic students. Apple’s iOS devices and other devices running Google’s Android operating system all offer excellent assistive technology that can aid language-based activities.

Technological Evolution

Frankly, the first iOS devices that Apple produced were not dyslexia-friendly. The integrated text-to-speech, dictation, and word prediction that are found in the latest iterations of the operating system did not exist, and there were few AT-related apps available from third-party developers. Today, students can use iPhones and iPads to read text aloud (with or without synchronized highlighting) and to compose notes, essays, and test responses with multiple spelling and grammar supports. In addition, many of the most popular AT companies have developed iOS apps. Tools created by Inspiration Software,Don Johnston, Inc.TexthelpQuillsoftGinger Software, and Crick Softwarecan all be found in the App Store. Plus, relative newcomers like Winston Chen’sVoice Dream Reader and Learning Ally’s VOICEtext audiobooks are making the iPad even more accessible.

Although slightly younger than iOS, Google’s mobile operating system, Android, has developed into another practical platform for students with dyslexia. Unlike the Apple faithful, users of Android can choose from a variety of hardware such as a Nexus phone or a Samsung Galaxy tablet. Regardless of device preference, dyslexic students using Android can utilize the dictation and word prediction built into the Google Keyboard, along with a feature calledTalkBack for text-to-speech support. There are also several popular AT-related apps that have found their way into the Google Play Store. Learning Ally Audio,NaturalReader, and Readability can be used for reading assistance, andMindMeister and Ginger can help students with the writing process.

Third-Party Keyboards

One of the most useful features of both iOS and Android is the ability for students to install and use third-party keyboards. Since true multitasking is still limited on mobile devices, third-party keyboards allow students to use AT tools like advanced word prediction and text-to-speech within any app on their devices. One of the most useful keyboards for dyslexic students, available for both iOS and Android tablets, is TextHelp’s Read&Write keyboard – namedRead&Write for iPad and Read&Write for Android, accordingly. It provides word prediction with audio previews, audio feedback while typing, integrated dictionary and picture dictionary, text-to-speech with synchronized highlighting, and spellcheck.

Who Wins?

The competitive relationship between Apple and Google will likely stay intact for many years. In an age when computing devices have become essential to most people’s daily routines, both companies will need to improve their products on an ongoing basis to maintain consumer interest. Will one of them eventually emerge as the undisputed champion? Probably not, but in the world of dyslexia, the winners we care about are the students who benefit from the technology wars in Silicon Valley.

Jamie Martin is a Noodle Expert. An assistive technology consultant and trainer, he was named one of the 67 Influential Educators Who Are Changing the Way We Learn in 2015. Follow him on Twitter @ATDyslexia or visit his website.