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New Technological Learning Tools: User-friendly Learning for Everyone

June 27, 2012 / Posted by in Blog

Written by Alexa Kallianiotes
Edited by Stacy Padula

The flood of new learning tools on the market is changing how we learn, when we learn, and even what we learn. Emerging technology has created learning tools that offer students, parents, and teachers many new options for learning, presenting, and teaching. A learning tool is a method that one can use to transfer content created—a way of creating and delivering learning methods and solutions to others.

Technological learning tools can help students understand and learn in ways not possible through conventional methods. They can assist teachers in creating individual programs or applications for students with difficulties in specific areas and present learning material in a way that is best suited for them. Learning tools can assist parents who are seeking additional means of providing their child with fun and interesting ways to practice math, language skills, and more.

These tools can also be especially helpful during the summer months because children find them appealing, even though they are educational. Through technological learning tools, parents can offer their children ways to not only retain skills and knowledge during summer vacation, but to also sharpen them.

Learning tools offer opportunity for personal learning in any area of interest and can also help parents participate more fully in their children’s education. As technology continues to develop, new learning tools will be introduced into the market place; each will impact learning in a different way.

At the moment, learning tools are being implemented in all grade levels. Gone are the days when preschoolers were limited to crayons, coloring pads, and picture books. Gone, too, are the days when students from elementary through high school had only calculators to enhance their learning. Today, the student, parent, and educator have a wide variety of technological learning tools to choose from, and although the available number of differing options can be daunting at times, the effort to become familiar with what is available is worth the time because of the potential gain.

A technological learning tool that is becoming very popular because of positive research and studies is Dragon, an innovative way for students to improve core reading abilities and writing skills. The initial draw of Dragon for many has been that it allows the user to dictate papers, thus saving time and lowering the margin for error. Text dictated using Dragon is typed 3X faster than the average person can type, with 99% accuracy. In addition to this, studies have shown that use of Dragon has improved the reading and writing skills for students of all grade levels—particularly students with learning disabilities and physical disabilities. Dragon has also proven very helpful in assisting those learning English as a second language. The added benefit of this learning tool, as well as others, is that users can learn at their own pace. They are not restricted by location and can invest as many hours into learning as they choose.

There are also many free, easy to use, online learning tools available. One of these is, Quizlet: a flash card website, where users can use flash cards to learn words, math, and other facts. It is designed to be very kid friendly and game-like, making learning facts fun. This site is also available in Spanish. The site, Articulate, is another great source, as it provides e-learning classes in many subjects and levels. Another, Prezi, allows the user to create non-linear presentations with maps that use words, links, images, and videos. On Slideshare, users can share their presentations with others. For teachers, Glogster Edu is a great site because it enables users to create interactive posters using text, videos, and photos for unlimited learning applications. For fun, mixing the artistic with words, Wordle users can create “word clouds”: graphics that use specific words from a given text to make a colorful collage of related words. World Book can be a very valuable site for students of all ages because it provides users not only with an encyclopedia and atlas resource, but also with homework help and study aides..

Another resourceful learning tool that is provided by the National Library Service is a free government program for those with medically documented reading or physical disabilities. This service provides reading material—fiction, non-fiction, and magazines—in recorded format, along with playback equipment for each user. Recordings can be returned free of charge in a special, no-postage-required-packet included with each mailing.

Today, there are many learning tools available to meet individual needs and requirements. With the click of a mouse and a simple google search one can begin exploring the possibilities of enhanced learning through technological learning tools.

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