Keri McWilliams

Back to School: A pencil case of digital tools - for all subjects


In this sixth blog in our Back to School series, we’re discussing how Read&Write can be the digital pencil case for all students - across the curriculum, to help you think differently about your lesson planning and the technology that your school has invested in.


Texthelper holding a scientific beaker, with a backpack full of stationary and Read&Write and EquatIO feature icons floating alongside

One of the secrets for school success...the humble pencil case. Yes, the pencil case. Twenty years ago, a researcher at University College London suggested just this. At first glance, it’s hard to see the potential impact of something so simple. Think deeper though and the humble pencil case starts to make sense

Fast forward twenty years, and the pencil case is still critically important, but so is the support offered in this digital age. 

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The widespread use of digital technology is making a huge impact across our schools, colleges and universities. Yet despite this shift, the trusty pencil case with its range of tools is still an essential part of every student’s life. 

So whilst we all focus on ‘moving to the cloud’, enabling 21st century skills, personalised learning and building new opportunities for learning, we shouldn’t forget that students need the digital equivalent of the pencil case - essential tools for learning in our digital world.

Take Read&Write, for example. It provides all the tools students need for support and for learning in one location. At first glance, you’ll discover Text-to-Speech. That’s great for dyslexic students, right? Absolutely - it’s essential. But it’s also useful for the A Level student working towards a History exam who prefers to listen to questions to increase understanding and then listen to their answers to proof and improve. 

While Read&Write may be an obvious tool for English classrooms, it can actually be a huge support across the curriculum. So, we want to take a couple of other subjects and highlight how Read&Write can be used within those classrooms as well. 
 

Geography 

  • The Screenshot Reader helps students to read inaccessible text (i.e. Ordnance Survey maps) on-screen. 
  • The Highlighters feature helps students to differentiate between economic and social impacts of a natural hazard.
  • Students can use the Vocabulary List to compile quick reference lists for a new area of study.



Maths  

  • With EquatIO, (our Maths and STEM tool) students can create mathematical and scientific expressions by handwriting on a touchscreen or speaking into a computer’s microphone.
  • Students can use Read&Write to hear their maths problems (created with EquatIO) read aloud.
  • Students who would previously struggle to engage with maths and STEM materials can now easily access course content.
 

Modern Foreign Languages

  • Use the Translator and Text-To-Speech tools to have passages in French, Spanish, etc. read aloud to help students with pronunciation.
  • Use the Vocabulary List, Translator and Voice Notes feature to enable students to create personalised vocabulary lists.
  • Encourage students to prep for oral exams by recording their answers using the Voice Notes feature.

If you find these blogs useful, check out our dedicated Back to School resource page for other handy hints and tips to help you get the most out of Read&Write. 

We’re also running live webinars for each of our Back to School blog series themes. If you would like to learn more about how Read&Write can help provide support across the curriculum, sign up to Richard & Anna’s ‘A day in the life of a student using Read&Write’ webinar taking place on Wednesday 9th October 2019 from 3:45pm- 4:30pm. 

Lastly, if you would like to share how you use Read&Write or EquatIO in your classroom, feel free to add your ideas to the comments section below. 

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