The other day I inexplicably found myself in a workshop that espoused the rejuvenating effects of a life giving source found abundantly in nature, drum roll please, the product is: water. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, you too can begin to reap the awe inducing benefits of water for a low, low fee. Although I deeply wish I were being facetious, I am using this example to illustrate that like the water salesperson, I will attempt to bring to your attention a myriad of educational resources that can most often be found right at your very own fingertips.
I am a strong proponent of you get what you pay for, but I also graduated from the school of “when there is a will there is a way”. Armed with a bit of techno-wanderlust and a commitment to high quality, together we will explore a plethora of tools to provide academic support for your student or child. In order to give knowledge to others one must, in my opinion, continually enhance their own knowledge. Even if you are completely at home in the world of technology, optimizing the use of technological tools at your disposal will allow you streamline your instruction to provide what our children so desperately need today, an innovative education geared towards a new generation .
There are many web-based tools that are highly effective and at little to no cost to use. If you have difficulty accessing the Internet, I would suggest joining your local library or explore the media center at your child’s school. The first introductory tools I would suggest for your perusal are StarFall, www.starfall.org; and SmartTutor, www.smarttutor.com.
StarFall is a free, web-based tutorial that exposes beginning and emerging readers to basic skills in Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, and Emerging Fluency.
SmartTutor is a great low-cost Reading and Math Program that can be used in your classroom or home with the added benefit of individualized assessment and tracking of each learner’s progress.
These websites are colorful and interactive, but most importantly they promote the learner’s independence. When working with students with special needs, you may need to provide minimal assistance with computer mouse manipulation, but once your child has mastered this skill, off they go!
So on this President’s Day, I would like to empower you, citizen trembling behind your mouse or computer aficionado reading this amongst multiple applications running simultaneously. Si Se Puede! Yes, you too can further incorporate technology into your classroom, your home, your life even, and you don’t have to be a techie to do it. Oh, and don’t worry, the fee for reading the article this time is on me.
Article by Tai C. Hinkins