Using assistive technology with your child prevents your child from missing out on content solely because he can’t yet read or write. If your child cannot (yet) read, providing audiobooks, text-to-speech capability with content on computers, etc., for science, social studies, literature, and other subjects that are content-based just makes sense. — Sandra K. Cook
For the current topic on assistive technologies, I would like to focus on the role of parents during the pandemic. Pandemic left us no choice but to depend on technology that would make online education possible. It was the most challenging teaching experience for me, and I believe, among all of us. I had to continue the year trying to teach the contents with brief tutorial and technological trainings provided by the school. My grade 1 students adapted to the new ways of learning. Parents did their best to support learning at home.
As we continue the school year 2020 providing online learning to our students, parents played a valuable role. They too, were obliged to learn the technology so they can assist their young children during online learning. They disapproved letting their children use ipads and laptops for long period of time every day. However, they needed to comply with the Kuwait’s government education mandate to continue on online learning. Parents learned how to login to their accounts in MS Teams and sat with their children throughout the day. They reminded the children about the rules and conduct during online learning.
Some parents expressed challenges and frustrations regarding reading with their children. Having no or little knowledge about how students learn reading, they had a hard time completing assigned readings with their children. I have sent them videos on phonics, handwriting, and shared links to free apps available on the internet like https://www.abcya.co, https://www.getepic.com/, and our paid app https://www.raz-kids.com/. In RAZ kids, students were able to read and record their voice while reading. I was able to assess their reading difficulties and needs. With these technologies, students did not miss out significantly in learning the contents in literacy, math, and science.