Friday, January 17, 2014

Creating Interactive "Text" For Content Areas Problems and Solutions

Bandwidth Woes and Possible Solutions


So this week I was inspired and motivated to try using Read and Write For Google to help make the reading in my science lesson more UDL. Unfortunately, my school has been regularly maxing out its bandwidth. As Read and Write For Google is Internet based, this put an extra strain on the bandwidth issue. As a result the activity had a lot of delays and issues.

Solution Idea

So, the next day I had students work on science centres. My students rotated around four stations, one of which was the online reading station. This reduced the strain on our bandwidth. It also also allowed me to problem solve with a small group of students as required rather than the whole class. I demonstrated to each small group how to change the pace of the reading, how to use the dictionary and the picture dictionary. 

Read and Write For Google Hiccup and Possible Solutions


One problem I encountered that I thought would be minor was that Read and Write for Google will read the footnote number at the end of the sentence. This ended up being quite distracting for my some of my students

Solution Idea

I think being a role model for good digital citizenship is important. So I kept the footnotes but I did not keep them right next to the image. Instead I moved them all to the end of the document and put them together so the flow of the reading would not be disrupted.

Next Activity To Try

Learning About Insulation

This week we did two great hands on activities around animal insulation: the Walrus Mitt and the Polar Bear Blanket. I want students to get familiar with more animal insulation so we can better "identify materials that are used by humans for the same purpose". The reading material available for the wide range of reading levels in my class is limited on this topic. So I decided to try my online text experiment again. 

I took the write up materials from the EPSB brown book on Hot and Cold Temperatures and typed it into a Google Doc. As before, I added pictures. I also added links to Fact Monster definitions to extend the document to those students who need enrichment and extension. 

Wait! Maybe I Should Use Presentation!

Then I got thinking that an alternate way for making this activity be more UDL would be to add videos from my Hot and Cold playlist. So I thought I'd try making a Google Presentation as you cannot embed videos into a Google Document. It means that the Read and Write for Google will not be accessible for this activity. I think I have kept the text simple enough that it should not be problematic, except for the first slide. I plan to read that to the whole class as the set for the activity. As before, students will need to fill in a worksheet that demonstrates they have learned the concept. I have the Google Document to use for any students I think benefit from the Read and Write For Google.

Wish me luck!