The CARES Act funding

The newly enacted federal law in response to the coronavirus crisis provides a huge relief package for K-12 and higher education programs, early childhood education as well as many providers of after school or summer programs. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act comes at a moment when many states and districts have had to close schools while seeking to continue to educate students remotely.


States and districts are beginning to receive CARES Act funds. The specific amounts have already been estimated for each state and district.  The next number of months will prove to be a critical time for schools, adapting to different methods of delivering lessons will be challenging and - most likely - frustrating. It is clear that everything needs to be done to make sure that the playing field stays level, that students are engaged and that no child is being left behind or excluded.
 

What CARES funding will my district receive that can be used for educational technology? 


Funding will be distributed through the $13.5 billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. This funding will be distributed to Districts based on their Title I allocation. These funds can be used for a broad variety of activities, and is specifically aimed at equity and ensuring that we close the gap for learners but here is what’s allowed for education technology: 
  • Activity authorized by the ESEA of 1965 including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • Activities to address the unique needs of at-risk students including low-income, English Learners, racial and ethnic minorities, etc. 
  • Purchasing educational technology (including software) that aids in regular and substantive education interactions between students and their classroom instructors
  • Purchasing assistive technology or adaptive equipment for students with disabilities
  • Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of students with disabilities or English Language Learners
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FREE webinar:
CARES Act Funding for K-12 education - how funds can be used to support struggling students

Join us on June 2nd at 4pm ET as we explore ways in which you can use the funds to advocate for equity of access for all students, close the gap for learners and how you can use technology for teaching and learning in a remote setting

​1. Addressing the needs of students with disabilities or diverse learning needs

For the families of the 6 million students with disabilities across the country, this shift away from a traditional school setting presents significant challenges, as many of these students rely on interventions, accommodations, and specialized instruction to support their diverse learning needs.

Alternative formats
Our assistive technology tools have lots of features which allow users to hear text read aloud, use visual cues as well as help communication within documents.

Expression
Tools that help with self expression are in abundance across our software, whether expressing a math equation using voice, using visual aids or leaving oral feedback in a document.

Concentration
For times when concentration is key, we’ve got lots of tools to help with focus. For some, the use of a screen tint massively increases concentration and reduces visual stress and for others, it’s highlighting key words or phrases. 

Whatever’s needed, our assistive technology tools have got you covered:
Text-to-speech with dual color highlighting
  • Assists students with cognitive difficulties by providing auditory support. For example text-to-speech is a useful tool as students can hear what they’ve written and rectify any mistakes that they may have missed if they were reading themselves. 
  • Students can hear what is being read aloud and track the words on screen with dual colored highlighting, helping them to process the information more efficiently.
  • Hearing and seeing the words can increase word recognition.
Check It
  • Check It promotes learner agency and is a phonetic spell checker that helps to solve complex spelling and grammar mistakes, to improve the quality and accuracy of a written piece of work.
Prediction
  • Supports the construction of contextually correct sentences.
  • Expands students' vocabulary through the provision of language. This is particularly beneficial for some struggling learners who self-limit their vocabulary.
  • Students can concentrate on the context of their work rather than struggle with spelling, helping them to produce error-free papers
  • Recognizes the student’s style of writing for future recall.
Screen masking
  • Can be altered to specific prescription colors, providing a helpful screen tint. 
  • Screen masking can be used with the reading ruler which aids tracking when reading large bodies of text. This supports students with cognitive load difficulties, by narrowing their focus to individual paragraphs.
  • Specifically helps students with Irlen Syndrome, a perceptual processing disorder which affects the brain’s ability to process visual information. This can also be referred to as Meares-Irlen Syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, or Visual Stress.
Dictionaries
  • Dictionary definitions, which can be read aloud, help students to quickly discover the meaning of a word. 
  • For students with dyslexia, dictionaries support those with short term working memory who may forget the meaning of previously known words.
  • The picture dictionary provides the student with a visual representation of a word, to help with memory recall.
  • Highlighters
  • A useful research tool allowing students to collect and collate information from the internet and documents, which then automatically creates a bibliography upon collection.
  • Students can color code pieces of work for easier processing of information.
Talk&Type
  • Speech-to-text helps students who struggle using a keyboard to create documents verbally.
  • Provides dictation support, helping those who have difficulty with constructing sentences and writing.
Audio maker
  • Improves speed, productivity and effectiveness for those who struggle with reading.
  • Many students on the dyslexia and neurodiversity spectrum prefer, or need, to hear information rather than read it.
  • Audio files are portable and can be transferred to any device to study on the go.
Vocabulary list
  • Students can create their own word lists to help with memory recall, which is particularly useful during revision.
  • Allows students to create vocabulary lists with both visual and auditory support.
Prediction
  • EquatIO’s built in maths prediction helps students to build complex math and science notations by typing simple English without spelling errors.
Math-to-speech
  • When used with Read&Write, students can have math problems read aloud which:
  • provides auditory support for students with cognitive difficulties
  • improves auditory reading speed and productivity as listening to information supports more efficient auditory memory.
  • aids tracking and makes processing information easier, with the help of dual highlighting.
EquatIO mobile
  • EquatIO mobile allows students to convert handwritten or textbook maths images into accessible documents.
Screenshot reader
  • EquatIO’s screenshot reader allows students to read and understand inaccessible documents, like PDFs, by reading them aloud.
EquatIO mathspace
  • Allows students to have concrete visual representations of objects and concepts rather than abstract math
  • Helps students who need to manipulate those objects to better understand concepts
Reading aloud
  • Students can practice reading aloud, focus on pronunciation and listen back to their own reading as many times as needed before they submit to their teacher for assessment and feedback.  
  • Reading aloud allows students to gain confidence as a reader and develop an appropriate use of prosody or meaningful oral expression while reading
Text-to-Speech
  • Assists students with cognitive difficulties by providing auditory support. Text-to-Speech is a useful tool as students can hear what they’ve written and rectify any mistakes that they may have missed if they were reading themselves. 
  • Students can hear what is being read aloud and track the words on screen with dual colored highlighting, helping them to process the information more efficiently.
  • Hearing and seeing the words can increase word recognition.
Dictionary & Picture Dictionary
  • Dictionary definitions, which can be read aloud, help students to quickly discover the meaning of a word. 
  • For students with dyslexia, dictionaries support those with short term working memory who may forget the meaning of previously known words.
  • The picture dictionary provides the student with a visual representation of a word, to help with memory recall.
Lexile level passages
  • Fluency Tutor has a library of over 500 leveled reading passages, based on content, lexile level or reading age
Feedback and Scoring 
  • Teachers can give immediate feedback to students through digital scoring and commenting
  • Provides regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their teachers
Progress monitoring 
  • Teachers are able to quickly identify struggling readers and put interventions in place to help the student achieve their next step in learning without falling further behind

2. Supporting English Language Learners

English Language Learners needs vary greatly – from those being introduced to English for the first time to those who are proficient in conversational English, but require additional support in reading and writing because of the complexity of the English language. What all English Language Learners do need is technology which supports their learning, the ability to work independently in a self-paced environment, and the opportunity to be active and engaged learners.

Use our assistive technology tools to build on the four essential skills in language learning:  listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Text-to-Speech 
  • Hear words pronounced and how they are used. This tool provides a choice of voices for reading in English and for reading text in other languages as well.
  • Having digital text read aloud as it is being highlighted helps with comprehension and understanding, especially for those students who are struggling to learn a new language.
Translation
  • The single word translation gives students opportunities to find the translated word that they are most familiar with based on the word they hear at home or their home country.
Audio-Maker
  • Words, phrases, reading passages, and even homework can be saved as an MP3 file so students can listen to the text as well as orally repeat the passage to improve their auditory comprehension and fluency.
  • These recordings can be made to build background knowledge, help with memorization, and can be made a speed appropriate for students to take in the new information.
Picture dictionary to
  • Help with word identification and understanding - Images are provided to reinforce the meaning of a word. Allows students to make word associations and increase their knowledge of the English language.
Vocabulary list
  • Highlight or input words to automatically create a vocabulary list that includes the words, text definitions, and images to help expand the student’s vocabulary and knowledge base.
Word prediction 
  • Supports word choice during writing 
Check it
  • Helps with phonetic spelling and homophones
Reading aloud
  • Students can practice reading aloud, focus on correct English pronunciations and listen back to their own reading as many times as needed before they submit to their teacher for assessment and feedback.  
  • Reading aloud allows ELL students to gain confidence as a reader in English and develop an increased use of prosody or meaningful oral expression while reading.
Translation
  • The single word translation gives students opportunities to find the translated word that they are most familiar with based on the word they hear at home or their home country.
Dictionaries
  • Dictionary definitions, which can be read aloud, help ELL students to quickly discover the meaning of a word. 
  • The picture dictionary also provides the student with a visual representation of a word, to help with memory recall and understanding.
Feedback and Scoring 
  • Teachers can give immediate feedback to students through digital scoring and commenting
  • Provides regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their teachers

3. Texthelp tools for remote learning and/or summer learning

Google classroom

Our education tools integrate easily into Google Classroom providing teachers the ability to build resources and instantly set assignments, discussions or provide learning materials. 
 

Read&Write

For Teachers: Provide oral feedback and generate resources fast including rich PDF resources with annotations, markup and comments. Grade and assess completed work online.

For Students: Maintain essential in-class support tools at home. Study, research and revise effectively with a range of tools. Complete assignments, worksheets and activities in PDF.

WriQ

For Teachers: Track progress, including number of words written and time on task. Give students meaningful and personalised feedback in real-time. 

For Students: Receive remote feedback and helpful guidance within rubrics to improve written work. Track writing fluency and visualize progress.

EquatIO 

For Teachers: Create rich math resources and activities. Build workflows automatically. Review, grade and return student work fast. Collaborate with students on shared assignments.

For Students: Give students a collaborative platform to complete activities. Engage students with math in a fully digital way. Support individual approaches to learning. 

Fluency Tutor

For Teachers: Track progress over time, assess key reading fluency skills and comprehension. Give quick feedback or a more in-depth assessment of reading progress online.

For Students: Motivate students to read, Practice reading aloud, rehearse and record before submitting to the teacher. Built-in supports for comprehension and understanding.

Learning Management Systems

Support students where they work and learn. Our education tools integrate with a variety of different Learning Management Systems - providing your students with the support that they need in the environment that they are used to working in.

Read&Write
All of Read&Write's features are compatible with popular Learning Management systems like Schoology and Desire to Learn, creating an extra layer of support for the students that need it most.

EquatIO
We’ve developed an easy-to-use plugin that integrates seamlessly into various different Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Canvas, Schoology and Brightspace D2L, letting you add mathematical equations, formulas, graphs and more into the Rich Content Editor with a simple click.

All of EquatIO’s input methods, including Prediction, Handwriting Recognition, Speech, Desmos Graphing, and LaTeX, are supported within a learning management system, bringing the benefits of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and personalised learning directly into your LMS environment.
 

Contact our texthelpers if you need anymore information on how you can advocate for your struggling students and use CARES Act funding to purchase our tools.