Educators who model Creative teaching with technology in the classroom are inspiring to their peers, and their students. They set an example of what is possible and they nurture an engaged and inclusive classroom. When teachers take an approach to learning that’s outside of the box, it sparks a great love of discovery and learning in our children, especially those with unique or special needs. Instead of staring at a page in a text book, children can explore in new, interactive ways. Creative teaching can help nurture all children’s strengths, and Microsoft is front and centre building inclusive programs and classrooms.
Last week I shared a bit of information about my daughters and their unique challenges at school. I told you a bit about the ways in which Microsoft is embracing technology and helping to create an inclusive classroom. This week I want to share several examples of creative teaching and specific ways that Microsoft is building a brighter future for all children, especially those who have special needs.
Creative Teaching with Microsoft
The teachers below are embracing Microsoft and its powerful technology to help give kids with special needs a learning environment which allows reading to come alive for them. By using technology and creativity, these educators are able to inspire children to do more, engage more, and learn more.
Seven EDUCATORS Using Microsoft Technology Creatively in the Classroom
OneNote and Reading
Kaylyn Dorland, a grade 2 teacher at Queen of Heaven Elementary School in Milton, ON is helping her kids more easily master reading with OneNote from Microsoft. Her students can space out letters and words to make them more appealing to the eye and easier to read. In addition, the dictate feature allows the kids to record their ideas as fast as they say them while brainstorming. Teachers can also help students improve fluency by having the children record themselves reading a sentence and then comparing that recording to the original sentence.
OneNote and MinecraftEDU
Jim Pedrech, Department Head of English and Canadian & World Studies at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School in London, ON combines MinecraftEDU and the OneNote Classroom app to help students create their own survival narratives. The children play MinecraftEDU for 10 to 15 minutes a day and then write an entry about their experience. This creative teaching approach helps kids who struggle with longer writing task because each daily entry builds on the one before. So before long, these kids have a longer, ongoing narrative. I don’t have to tell you if you are a parent how incredibly popular Minecraft is. By tapping into that experience and meeting kids where they are at culturally this teacher based in my city is creating an engaging classroom experience. Both of my girls would light up if suddenly told they could play Minecraft at school then create a story about it. Actually that gives me a great idea as a parent. My daughter would happily choose this as a creative writing assignment.
Leah Obach, a Grade 1 teacher at Hamiota Elementary School in Hamiota, Manitoba uses Skype to interact with special needs students. Because it’s an audiovisual communication platform, Skype is well suited to all communication levels in her classroom. When the class Skypes with someone, some students may only wave or say hello at the beginning of the conversation. Some students may prepare questions. Meanwhile other students may actively interact with whoever is on the other end of the Skype call.
Kevin DeForge, Principal at St. Dominc Fine Arts School in Calgary, AB is working with the teachers in his school to make technology an advantage rather than a distraction. The focus of the school is to combine technology integration with inquiry and project-based learning. This allows students to use Microsoft technology to help them take an active role in their own education and learn at a pace that suits them.
OneNote for Older Students
Sarah Howard, a grade 10 history teacher at Lauren Hill Academy in Montreal, QC uses OneNote to help students at different learning levels access the curriculum in a way that allows them to understand it. The integrated organization, learning tools, and collaborative features allow her students – many of whom have special needs such as autism, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and auditory processing challenges – to learn in a fun and creative way.
Brian Aspinall, a grade 7/8 teacher at Indian Creek road Public School in Chatham, ON, uses Minecraft as a creative teaching method to help improve math skills for special needs students. One student in particular was able to use Minecraft to better understand math concepts like growing patterns to help him ace his final exam. Again with Minecraft!! I love that. I have personally seen many children on the autism spectrum relate to gaming and Minecraft in a really positive way. If that can be used to build real life math skills, or to engage a learner who might not think they are good at math, then that’s a really clever means of building math literacy.
Text-to-Speech and Speech-to-Text Technology
Hella Richter-Glinos, Genius Hour teacher at Millwood Junior School in Etobicoke, ON uses Microsoft technology as a creative teaching method to help her students with limited literacy or language skills better realize their potential. Using text-to-speech, students can access information on websites that might be above their reading level. Then, the assistive technology of speech-to-text can help those students better realize their ideas and thoughts on the page.
Creative Teaching with Microsoft – A Game Changer for Special Needs Students
Creative teaching using Microsoft technology is a game changer for both special needs students and their teachers. With programs like OneNote, MinecraftEDU, Skype and more, students who would traditionally have a tremendously difficult time with education now thrive in an environment that uses technology to help them fully realize their potential. With Microsoft technology and the creative teaching efforts of educators across Canada, children can overcome their educational roadblocks and be their very best.
Educators interested in learning how built in accessibility features in Windows and Windows-based applications like Office and OneNote can be used to create personalized learning are invited to attend a free Accessibility Workshop. Sessions are being hosted at locations across Canada in May. Visit microsoft.ca/accessibilityworkshop to find an upcoming event near you.
This post has been sponsored by Microsoft and as such I was compensated. This is an issue that speaks to my heart as a parent.