Sunday, November 23, 2008

Web Site Evaluation: UDTechToolkit

A key component of No Child Left Behind is that every child should demonstrate appropriate learning growth yearly. Joyce Valenza and Karen Janowski’s website, UDTechToolkit is an excellent source of information and links supporting such learning for all students.

On over a dozen pages, the website clearly indexes various assistive technologies freely available on the Internet for classroom use. There are pages of links for such tools as text-to-speech, research, literacy and math. The site is wiki-based, a dynamic and interactive format enabling users to add relevant information of their own. It is graphically appealing, with a Glogster interface as the home page. Screencasts, and videos appear on many pages, effectively modeling good design for users with different learning style preferences. The only drawback that I detect with UDTechToolkit is that the Glogster interface may be blocked by some school districts, thus removing one of the most user-friendly aspects.

The authors of the site are clearly authoritative in their fields. Valenza, a prominent librarian, educator and speaker, is the blogger behind Neverending Search. Janowski is an assistive technology consultant and well-known blogger at EdTech Solutions: Teaching Every Student.

UDTechToolkit is a valuable resource for 21st century classrooms, and I highly recommend it. Today’s classrooms must be student-centered, continually meeting the needs of all learners. Assistive technologies such as the ones discussed here are helpful for all students, not only those in special education, so I see this site as a wonderfully rich source of information for 21st century learners.

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