The UDL Educational Technology Guide 2019-2020: Technology for Special Education

John F. O'Sullivan

Section 1 Google Executive Function

Google Suite with Chromebooks and Chrome-boxes are becoming very popular in education. When many schools are on a platform, that means it is time to recommend programs for that platform. With so many schools using Google Suite, a large number of students that need help with executive function difficulties, this is a great place to start.

A teacher can upload class materials, post assignments, and students can upload assignments to Google Classroom. If you have ever seen a student that is having a printing problem, the stress it causes is serious. The fact that you can simply upload or share a document is valuable. To help with organization, teachers can even post reminders or tell students what materials to bring to class later in the week. You can answer questions, set due dates, and store all of your documents in one place. This is helpful for all special needs students. Students with executive function problems are definitely helped with such great organizational tools. 

Google Classroom Best of Class
With Google Classroom, you can do a number of very positive things with regards to executive function. Every time you create an assignment, the date shows up on a calendar within Google Classroom. This Google Calendar can be a separate calendar on the students Google Calendar. Google Calendar and Google Classroom both have apps for smartphones. This can help a student keep track of important dates. Google Classroom stores all the documents and assignments for students. You can even ask the teacher questions. Google Classroom even has a function to share information with parents. This access to students documents and assignments is extremely helpful for parents trying to keep students accountable. Teachers that work in the district can also get access to Google Classroom. This is helpful for special education teachers that want to help students. With file sharing, you never have to experience that moment again when the printer breaks down, and anxiety increases. Offline and paper documents are not easily accessible. I highly recommend that all documents be kept online. As educators, we want to include everyone and meet their needs. 

Google Keep
This is a simple note taking program. You can set reminders for yourself. The program allows you to color code your notes. The best part of Google Keep is that fact that you can import your notes into a Google Documents. This allows you to use Google Keep as a graphic organizer. Students can type their notes once and then reshape their ideas in the first draft of what they are writing. 

Google Calendar
A student can keep multiple calendars on Google Calendar. Each class, a student, takes has a calendar associated with it. When a teacher creates an assignment, it goes onto the calendar. The Google Calendar app is easy to download onto a phone or tablet. This can make keeping track of dates easy.

Google Drive Honorable Mention
The one thing that Google does well is file sharing via Google Drive. If you ever had a printing issue, you know the stress it causes. It is very difficult to lose electronic files. You can organize all of your files into folders. Google Drive gives you the ability to share your documents for collaboration and for grade purposes. If a school keeps all of their documents on Google Drive, this can save money. Having the hardware to store documents for thousands of people and backing it up cost considerable money. 

Google Slides Closed Captions
With this feature, an educator can talk, and each word that is stated is displayed on your projector. Having the visual of the presentation is excellent for reinforcement. To have a free way to display every word you say is very valuable for students with any kind of hearing impairment. It also helps students with other issues as well. 
Note: If the text is not big enough, I recommend using Google Documents voice typing. If you use an iPad as a microphone and project what you are saying on a whiteboard, it does the same thing as Google Slides Closed Captions. Except the type is much bigger.

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