You’ve determined that STAAR Online will best match the accommodations your student receives in class that have been successful. You’ve provided your student time to take the STAAR tutorials and practice tests, and even helped personalize settings as part of using the STAAR Online Features & Supports Checklist.
Now you’re wondering how the in-class supports you’re providing, traditionally without technology, will transfer into an online environment. How can we accomplish and duplicate these by using technology in class to improve the odds that students will use the online supports come test day?
First, we can put ourselves in a mindset of normalizing the use of digital accommodations. After all, how many of us use spellcheck or ebooks and audiobooks?
|Content & Language Supports…||…with Technology|
|provide clarifying information for a graphic organizer, political cartoon, or map
provide a visual representation in the selection, question, answer choices, or in the writing prompt by adding graphics, photographs, or animations
isolate specific text or information in a selection that is referenced in the question or answer choices
reword complex question or answer choices to condense text
define or clarify construct-irrelevant words, phrases, and sentences using plain language, synonyms, definitions, examples, and consistent language
reorganize and simplify historical excerpts, respecting the TEKS based academic vocabulary
|get materials into a digital format and insert a hyperlink to a map, graphic organizer, or cartoon
get materials into a digital format and insert a hyperlink to a picture, video, etc.
bookmarking the selection and hyperlinking to that selection in the answer choice
use a website called Rewordify -this tool simplifies difficult English words
explicitly teach students to use the built-in “synonym” tool within MSWord, a thesaurus add-on in Google Docs, or a thesaurus Chrome extension by selecting the word, right clicking and choosing “find synonym.”
Think about tools you already have. Many of these have text-to-speech:
- online textbooks
- TextQuest’s database
- subscription-based ebooks such as Learning A-Z’s ebooks
- Bookshare or Learning Ally’s books
- the built-in “speak selected text” in iPad, Chromebook, and MSWord
- or perhaps your district has a text-to-speech plugin for web browsers
Text-to-speech options are available everywhere, wherever there is text to read, it’s just a google search away! Or an email question away… don’t forget to ask your campus edTech/AT/librarian in case there is a district license to a commercial product that you didn’t know about (e.g. Snap&Read Universal, Read&Write for Google, Kurzweil, etc.).
Of course, using worksheets and other paper materials is problematic for TTS. Here are some steps to consider: are your instructional materials available in a digital format (.rtf, .doc, .pdf)? If not – scan, copy and paste, or type it manually. Not enough devices? Figure out grouping, stations, splitters for headsets, etc.