Tech Tools for Reading

As our schools delves into how to address reading strategies with our students, we thought we would add a few suggestions of Tech tools and tips that may be useful to achieve this goal!  There are many websites, apps, and add-ons that help engage and support students in reading. Here are four that we think are useful:

 

  1. Immersive Reader in Word 

What is it?   Feature already available in online or desktop Word. Many other tools also include text-to-speech features.

What does it do? Reads aloud text that students have typed or that a teacher has prepared in a Word document. Useful to understand handouts and proofread during peer review.

How does it help with reading? “Text-to-speech tools helps students access content that’s difficult for them,” says Emily S. This means you can maintain rigor when the content requires reading. But text-to-speech “will not actually improve a student’s reading skills,” so be intentional about how you have students use this tool.

How do you access it? Go to the View tab > Immersive Reader in online or desktop Word.

 

 2. Insert Learning

What is it?   Chrome extension

What does it do? Lets you transform a webpage to support instruction by adding annotations, questions, discussion questions, videos, and more.

How does it help with reading? The variety of ways that Insert Learning transforms a webpage lets you scaffold website reading without having to print a huge number of different handouts and version of your classroom materials. The comprehension questions you can add promote analysis and critical thinking about the reading.

How do you access it? Install the extension from the Chrome Web Store or go to https://insertlearning.com/

 

 3. Rewordify

What is it?   A text-modification website

What does it do? It allows teachers to simplify a paragraph with easier vocabulary.

How does it help with reading? It increases the accessibility of a piece of text.

How do you access it? Copy-paste the text you need to adapt into the website https://rewordify.com/index.php

 

4. Britannica Schools

What is it?   Website Database available from Canvas or

What does it do? Students can use it to look up any information, just like a traditional encyclopedia. However, they can select which level they would like to read at and switch back and forth between languages.

How does it help with reading? It helps students to understand complex subjects and build content knowledge by reading it in both languages.  It is great for research projects or for students to strengthen their understanding of a topic.

Pro Tip: Encourage students to read it in English first to get the big ideas. Then switch to Chinese to understand more fully. Finally, switch back to English again to build academic language.  Some students may also prefer to read both in English and Chinese side by side.

How do you access it? Students and teachers can access Brittanica School directly from your Canvas account or they can go to https://school.eb.com/ . If they are on the school network, they will be logged in automatically.

 

Tech Tools Inventory

As you go into planning a lesson, do you always go back to the same strategies? Are you getting tired of using the same programs every week?  Or do you ever get stuck just wishing you had a new way to engage students? Whether you are stuck in a rut or just needing a refresher, check out our new Tech Tools Inventory to get some new ideas!

Various Tech Tools are organized into categories by how they might be used in class. Looking for a new way to do an Exit Ticket? Try Poll Everywhere, Mentimeter, or Go Formative! Looking for a new way for students to process information? Try Mindmeister or Padlet! Wondering how you can have students present information in a new way? Try using CoSpaces or FlipaClip. Your NCPA Tech Ambassadors are always adding new ideas to the Tech Tools Inventory, so check back later for some new ideas.

We want to hear from you! Do you have a Tech Tool you want to share? You can also add to the Padlet with your ideas! Also, contact a Tech Ambassador if it is something you would like to share on the EdTech Blog or in a Breakfast Slam.

 

Introduction to Nearpod

What are your “Catchphrases”?

One of my 7th Graders does a fantastic impression of me. Apparently, my three catch phrases are, “Class, class!” “Right now, we are going to…” and “Nearpod”.

So today, in the EduTech blog I want to share with you one of my favorite tech tools: Nearpod!

 

This week I will introduce you to what it is, key features, and how to sign up. Next week I will go into more detail on how to use it to collect and analyze data.

 

What is it?

Nearpod is a presentation tool like Powerpoint, but so much more. You can upload or create slides on Nearpod.com. Then you can add interactive elements, like polls, quizzes, short-answer questions, drawings, or even review games. Students go to Nearpod.com and enter in a code. This allows them to see the information on their own screen.  It allows you to share information and embed formative assessment. It also collects and stores data from all activities, so you can look back at it at any time.

 

Try it out! Go to Nearpod.com

Enter in the Code WZYMH to see a sample I made for MS teachers last year and try out some of the features.

Benefits of Nearpod:

Engagement-

Nearpod allows you to quickly and easily assess student understanding. If you just presented a few slides of information, put in a quiz to see how much they understood. Add a “Draw It” to ask them to draw their take-away from the information.  Use the “Time to Climb” game to engage students in a review of material. Students become involved in their learning, and you get immediate feedback on what they understand.

 

Proximity-

Since the information is on their own computer, iPad, or cell phone screen it allows everyone to see it clearly. When using a projector or tv screen, some students may have trouble seeing from around the room. With Nearpod, every student has easy access to the information. I have seen students take screenshots of key information or diagrams to save it for later as well.

If we are taking notes in class to introduce new vocabulary, I will put it on Nearpod. This allows all students to see the words more clearly.

 

Features in Nearpod:

With a free account:

Slides- Upload a PPT or make slides in Nearpod

Draw It- Students can draw pictures or annotate photographs to respond to a question

Quiz- Give questions with immediate feedback of score

Poll – Give questions to see overall class answers (great for pre- and post- assessment!)

Open-Ended Questions – Students type longer answers to respond to a question

Collaboration Board– Students can post ideas to brainstorm, just like a Padlet

3D Simulations- Explore 3D models, can take a screenshot and label in Draw It

 

With Gold Account:

Matching – Match words to picture or definition

Embed Web Links – Take students directly to a website, as if it were a slide in presentation

PhET Simulations – Embedded simulations in the lesson

Student Paced Lessons- Give students a code, and let them go through the Nearpod at their own pace. This works as homework, notes, review, or just in class to let students go through as they need to.

How to Sign Up:

Go to Nearpod.com and click on create an account.