As I have been presenting this summer at the Indiana E-Learning Summer Conferences, I have been approached by many parents. Some are educators and parents, and some are just parents who are attending the conferences to gain additional information about how to support their children. This reminded me of my experience of being a parent to a student, I was lucky to be in a field where I had exposure to many tools and resources. Other parents are not so lucky, but many of them want to learn and gain knowledge along with their students so they can help them build a foundation for success.
I shared with one particular group of parents how to turn on Speak Selection on the iPad and the iPhone. They were all unaware of this feature and all very excited about the possibilities of them and their children using this function. Speak Selection allows anything on your iPad or iPhone to be read out loud if you can select it. Unfortunately, these devices ship with the option turned off, so most people are unaware of the feature. I encourage everyone to enable this feature
on all their devices especially in the school setting.
There are many accessibility features available on iOS devices as well as other platforms which can greatly benefit parents and students. The PATINS Project can to teach you how to benefit from these accessibility features on many different devices, just contact us!
Another area of great concern that was expressed to me was in organization skills. Students have trouble organizing all their different files, papers, etc. One great organization tool that I use is Evernote. Evernote is available for many different devices and platforms. I take lots of pictures of notes, snippets from the Internet, and receipts, then I use Evernote to organize them. It allows me to keep everything in one place.
I have also discovered Wunderlist this summer and it has also helped me to stay organized. Wunderlist is an app that allows you to make things to do, things to buy (groceries, etc.) and any list at all. It also allows you to share your list. I can't tell you how many times I have arrived at the grocery store without my list, but now I always have it because it is on my phone. I also share this list with my daughter and husband so that whoever is at the store can see the list. Then with a click, the item is removed from the list so we all know it has been purchased.
As I was sharing this app with my daughter, I was reminded of the many times I spent teaching her and sharing tools to help her to be organized. I must have done a good job, because she is one of the most organized people I know. She is a senior at Murray State University in a very difficult major, Speech-Language Pathology, she is President of Student Ambassadors, the Vice-President of Best Buddies, she is a member of the ASA sorority, she volunteers at the Speech Clinic, and she finds time to spend with her own Best Buddy Zach! In the summer she works as a counselor at the Mesker Park Zoo. She could not succeed without her great organizational skills.
I would encourage teachers and parents to spend some time with their students to teach them great organization tools. I would also encourage teachers not to forget the parents, they want to learn also and can become great role models. Of course don't forget if you need help, the PATINS Project is here to help. We offer free training; all you have to do is contact us!