Assistive technology and creative software programs can help students to create nonlinguistic representations by offering a wide variety of pictures, graphic organizers and physical models.
Seeing a picture in your mind of the knowledge being presented is the most direct way to generate nonlinguistic representation (Marzano, 2001). Assistive technology and creative software programs can help students to create nonlinguistic representations by offering a wide variety of pictures, graphic organizers and physical models. Several examples follow.
Inspiration http://www.inspiration.com/ has developed a new 8.0 version which allows for integration of diagrams and outline views. This new version provides many web resources and over 1 million symbols on a safe website that also includes the ability to insert video and sound into a project.
For the younger learner, Kidspiration http://www.inspiration.com/ has a new 3.0 version that was made available in February, 2008. The enhanced word guide provides dictionary and thesaurus supports for nearly 13,000 words. Also included are images and auditory support to help young children choose words for their labeling or writing. One of the newest features is the inclusion of visual math tools. Color tiles, number blocks and even fraction tiles can be manipulated onscreen to provide physical models of basic math concepts.
SOLO is a software program offered by Don Johnston Incorporated http://www.donjohnston.com/. One of the components, Draftbuilder, is useful for creating visual representations that will help students organize their thoughts for writing. By dragging and dropping information from the outline to the text screen, a student can edit for punctuation and can elaborate by adding sentences. A variety of downloadable templates are available in different genres, that can be applied across many curriculum areas. Creating teacher-added directions or comments and placing them into locked text in the template allows for differentiation based on the learning needs of various students.
ETA Cuisinaire (www.etacuisinaire.com) provides physical models for algebra with algeblocks and algecards, as well as fraction tiles and even some kinesthetic tools such as large grouping circles.
Other software programs to explore that provide assistive technology tools include the NotebookSmart Tech .smarttech.com) and the imbedded tools and templates with IntelliTools Suite(www.intellitools.com). Mayer-Johnson’s newest version of Boardmaker v.6 http://www.mayer-johnson.com/ features more than 4,500 Picture Communication Symbols (PCS™) in both black-and-white and color, all in 44 languages that can be used in a simple text window.
Marzano, R., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.