2003 Conference Proceedings

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Mary Jo Barry
Brenda Bender
Don Johnston Incorporated
26799 W Commerce Drive
Volo, IL 60073
Phone: 847-740-0749
Fax: 847-740-7326

Students who struggle with reading and writing lack the multiple opportunities they need to read and reread text. They have limited access to literacy materials that are at an appropriate age and interest level. Consequently, these students usually possess little or no background knowledge and have weak language and vocabulary skills.

Because each struggling student processes information so differently from one another, it is most important to have tools that support this diversity. With multimedia technology tools teachers meet diverse student needs, while providing students with a tool that is for both reading and writing to build and demonstrate curriculum knowledge.

This hands-on lab will show participants how BuildAbility(r), a multimedia technology tool, can help adapt the curriculum and address the needs of struggling students in the areas of visual and auditory processing, motivation, creativity and self-expression.

Multiple auditory features, such as music, recorded voice, synthesized computer speech and familiar sounds, help students bring meaning to any message that is read or demonstrated. Visual messages can be conveyed through Drawmation(tm) drawings, imported illustrations, pictures and photos. Combining the visual and auditory features that would most benefit an individual student, teachers can create multimedia presentations to build background knowledge, support content and provide practice opportunities for students that need to have access to the curriculum. Students use multimedia tools to demonstrate meaning more concisely by having the choice of different auditory and visual methods so they can rely on their strengths to convey their message.

By using a multimedia software program, like BuildAbility, students get the individualized support they need to succeed with the curriculum. As students have more and more positive experiences with the curriculum, both from the teacher-made adaptations and their own creations, they will become motivated in many areas of learning, especially those that can be individualized to meet their learning needs.

Research shows that when we meet students where they are, but give them the tools they need to reach their potential independent level of performance, they will make that stretch and find their barriers to learning almost invisible. The power of creating activities to match the unique needs of individual students is that it provides students with the opportunity to work independently to build and demonstrate knowledge, show their creativity and express themselves

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