By Bill Lester

Computer workBeing a Special Education teacher is something that takes patience and a warm heart.  These teachers are truly in it for the love of seeing a student develop as a person socially and mentally.  However, they seem to be in need of and short of resources more than most other classrooms.

These caring teachers are then going out to spend their own money to purchase these resources to make their own classrooms more efficient and to establish a quality learning environment for their students.  Here are a few ways that Special Education Teachers have been using technology and how it has made their teaching process easier and more efficient.

Word Prediction Software

Writing and communication can be troublesome for students in mainstream and special education classrooms.  With texting and shorthand language used so often, word prediction software is available for the special education classroom so that students can communicate and finish assignments without the help of teaching assistants to write or help portray the message.  Just like predictive that makes sending a text message quicker.  Word Prediction helps students choose the word that they are spelling out without having to find every letter that is involved in the word.  Below are some examples of where you can find this software for free or a minimum price.

Text Magnifier

Size and font of word text can often be an additional problem for students who have trouble reading.  Assistive Text Magnifiers help students by taking the text on a computer screen and not only enlarging it, but also has the option of reading the text to the reader.  One of the recommended products to use is Zoom Text.

Audio Books

Audio books are a simple way of allowing a student who has trouble with reading to follow along with the class during silent reading time.  During silent reading there are often an amount of pages that are required or suggested to be completed by the end of the session.  For those student who have trouble keeping up or read at a slower pace than the other students, audio books are a great financial investment for books that a teacher plans to use every year.  There are sites that allow you to download audio books for a price, but here is a site that provides 8 different sites that offer free audio books.

Implementing technology into the mainstream classroom can be hard enough and needing a special education master’s program may help you.  However you decided to implement technology into your special education class, make sure that is for the right reason and that the students always come first.

Bill Lester is a writer and educator from Arizona. He has spent most of his career traveling the world teaching and implementing technology into even the most underprivileged classrooms.  He received his degree in Education from Arizona State University and is currently working with the Purdue University Master’s Program in Instructional Design to better the strategies of presenting lesson plans to students and other teachers.

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