October 18, 2010 - By MATTHEW SCHOMER (Special to The Review)
LISBON - Teachers in village schools are turning to technology to increase comprehension of reading in special education students.
A group of teachers who recently attended training in the Unlocking Potential program made a presentation on their findings Monday before the Lisbon Board of Education.
Janet Lane, special education teacher at the junior high level and spokesman for the group of teachers, said a major goal of the program is to improve independent reading among students.
"Some of the kids just don't want to read," she said. "Motivation's a huge problem at the junior high and high school."
Teachers are using Apple iPod Touch and iPod Shuffle units in the classrooms, attaching multiple sets of headphones to each unit and using applications such as Dragonspeak, through which students speak into a microphone and the iPod automatically types out the spoken words.
Another application occupies students' ears as they listen to an audio recording of books while following along in the actual books with their eyes.
"It totally energized all of us," Lane described the program, noting the excitement of the new hardware and software has increased students' interest in reading.
Board member James Smith spoke in support of the program, commenting, "If this creates excitement and at the same time helps them learn, it's a wonderful thing."