It can be a real challenge to teach a group of students who have a range of different needs. A major issue for many teachers is integrating students who have specific needs in terms of reading and writing.
Thousands of Quebec students have learning disabilities or experience difficulty reading and writing (including dyslexia, dysphasia and dysorthographia). Other students may have visual or motor impairment that makes reading paper- and digital-format books more complicated.
Finding the right assistive technology for those students who have specific needs can be a daunting task for teaching personnel, resource teachers and speech therapists.
Where can you find the best technology tools? Here are 3 software packages and applications that are widely used in the Quebec education system. As an added bonus: we’ll tell you about an essential resource for finding digital content compatible with those 3 technology tools!
The text formatting options are what sets Medialexie software apart.
Medialexie can be used to maximize reading comfort by adjusting the character font, colour and size and replacing the background colour to create better contrast. Among the other interesting features are options to change the line spacing and create columns.
It’s even possible to apply colour coding to identify syllables and certain characters.
Besides those visual features, there are audio options such as text to speech for content displayed on screen and text written by the student.
To download this assistive technology tool for one of your students, visit the Medialexie site. Most of the site is in French but an English version of the software is available.
Lexibar software is well known among Quebec teachers. The free version includes 3 valuable features:
- Spell check
- Text to speech
- Orthographic prediction
With the text to speech function, students can listen to the text displayed on screen and also confirm the phonology of written words. The spell checker and orthographic predictor are very useful for students who have difficulty writing.
In addition, Lexibar offers 2 distinctive features available with a subscription: phonetic prediction and illustrations.
Phonetic prediction is ideal for individuals who write according to how words sound. Based on a phonetic alphabet, Lexibar can propose the relevant word. The illustration feature makes it possible to display an image for every word so it’s easier to understand the words on screen.
Curious about Lexibar? A free trial version is available!
This software was created by Math et mots monde, which has developed various other technology tools. Among the distinguishing features in this software is the multilingual component that helps users learn a second language. Students who have learning disabilities will find it easier to read and write in English, French and even Spanish and German.
Another interesting feature is the integrated PDF reader that allows all WordQ tools, such as text to speech, to be used directly inside the file.
Would you like to compare it to the 2 other tools? A trial version is available.
Because of the digital rights management (DRM) integrated into books and textbooks commercially available on the market, assistive technology tools are often incompatible with the material used in the classroom.
Scanning a paper-format book on your own can be time-consuming, which means it’s not a viable option when multiple documents need to be reproduced.
Your best option is our DONA site!
This site developed by Copibec enables you to purchase content that’s compatible with Lexibar, Medialexie and WordQ. In addition to content from educational publishers, the catalogue offers novels and picture books.
When you buy digital documents from publishers, make sure you also shop for the same content on the DONA site for students with specific needs.