Special Needs

Web Tools for Different Types of Learners
by Diane S. Kendall

Parents and teachers know that not all students learn the same way. The lecture method and linear-type learning, both prominent in our classrooms for so many years, just don't work for some kids. Other kids thrive on this type of instruction. That's why good teachers use visual, auditory and kinesthetic methods in their teaching.  They know that varying methods is perfect not only for reinforcement of what is being taught but also for making sure all students are able to understand the content no matter what their learning style.

For students with learning problems, it's essential that learning be geared to their particular style. Those who have difficulty with reading often do very well when books are read to them. Those who have difficulty with organization often profit from creating charts and using graph paper. Those who are very active, usually learn better when they are engaged in exciting, interactive projects. Master teachers know this.

But when kids take off online, they don't have a master teacher guiding them. Or perhaps they do-if a teacher or parent directs them to online tools that will work for them and their learning styles.

Christina Laun in her article, 100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner, offers an excellent list of Web tools that is categorized for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning. Links are provided to sites that include mind-mapping, photos, video, charts and diagrams for visual learning; podcasts, presentation tools, auditory tools, text readers, and audio books for auditory learners; and note-taking tools, interaction, bookmarking, and collaboration for kinesthetic learners.

Laun's list is a valuable resource, but keep in mind that it was created for college students. Although you'll find links like Flash Card Machine, Audible, Project Gutenburg, PhotoStory, and Audacity on the list, you'll also find social networking sites and other sites you'll want to check before sending your pre-college kids to visit them.

No matter what, this list should get you thinking about the Web and its resources for all learners. There's so much more to the Web for learning than browsing for information, which is what most Web-based lessons are, aren't they?

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