Using Technology to Focus Learning
As I was writing my last blog on text-to-speech options for reading, I suddenly got very excited about my next blog post. I had gone through a very simple management process regarding the article I referred to in my post, and feel it is important to share it with the Springer family of blog readers.
After finding the article, How Teachers Can Build a Word-Rich Life for Dyslexics, I instinctively clicked on my free Evernote Clearly app that strips sidebar content, providing a distraction-free reading experience that focuses my attention. Clearly also provides basic tools for highlighting important ideas.
As I was reading the article, I highlighted facts I thought would be interesting to quote or comment on in my post. This feature, for students with a learning disability or ADHD/Executive Function difficulties, can assist in keeping a focus and provide active engagement while reading.
I can “clearly” envision a student accessing Evernote to actively engage with the text (highlighting), and using the text-to-speech function on his Mac or PC to hear the article read aloud. Evernote also has a website clipping tool that also has the ability to highlight, but also allows a text note to be added to an article.
Last, but not least, I have been test-driving Evernote as digital “notebook” for about a year now. I have a notebook for each committee I am on, each consultation I do, and other notebooks to capture important research on executive function and technology topics. I am able to put folders inside of notebooks (stacks) to organize my files. After reading and reflecting on this article, I simply clicked SAVE , defined which notebook I wanted it saved to, and it was immediately captured. Evernote also syncs my notebooks across all of my devices. If I am working on my iPad, iPhone or MacBook Pro, I can access the information I need, to work productively.
On a personal note, a couple weeks ago, I downloaded the Evernote Food app. I am thinking of capturing all of my “Too Good To Forget” recipes here, as well as finding new and interesting dishes. So far it is a nifty little app.
While Evernote is certainly not the only application that can do all of the things I described above, it is a tool that has the potential to support students who struggle with engagement, and different aspects of organization. Something else of note, the basic functions of Evernote are free. I haven’t spent a dime, to-date, although I am considering upgrading to Premium Evernote to further explore the possibilities.
Blogger Barbara Hunter, MEd, shares her expertise in the use of technology to support learning.