Teachers, as a rule, have a massive workload. And on top of that, there are always times when a student—often more than one student—needs reinforcement of the material being taught, or needs to have the content explained differently.
How can we meet these students’ needs without neglecting some other part of the workload? It can be pretty tough to carve out the time. Well, these teaching strategies will help students who need it, thanks to resources available online. By combining audio resources with specific in-classroom activity, we can bolster students’ understanding of the material being taught.
Several websites offer audio and video lessons or books in a curated format that is easier to search. These include:
My Audio School – This site gives students, especially those with dyslexia, an easier way to explore different topics and books through audio. Each book is broken down chapter by chapter, so students can do their assignments in manageable chunks. The audio files can be streamed online or downloaded to be copied onto a CD or USB thumb drive as MP3 files. They’re also available via iTunes. A limited number of titles are available at no charge, but for a very reasonable $14.99 annual fee, the rest of their library is available to parents and teachers.
iTunes University – Built specifically for Apple iOS users, iTunes U is really “one of the unsung heroes of Apple’s content offering,” as a recent MacWorld article put it. For more than 10 years it has been a fantastic resource to download audio and video content on thousands of topics. And since iOS version 9.3 was released, teachers can now create their own courses, manage homework and grades and deliver lessons to students. If you haven’t yet taken full advantage of this resource or want to learn how to get the most out of it, a number of courses are available—on iTunes U, naturally—including this guide by Ohio State University.
The Great Courses – This app, available on iTunes or PC—and even, in limited form, on Amazon Prime Video—also offers a wealth of lectures, audiocasts and audiobooks as well as video. It’s pricier than most of the other audiobook or lecture sites out there, but has been around a lot longer (beginning as The Teaching Company over 20 years ago) and has a treasure trove of material across a wide range of topics.
So, how can you best put these resources to use? Here are a few effective methods:
- Use these resources as another way to support those struggling readers, auditory learners, and English Language Learners.
- Expose students to the patterns of language, its rhythm and cadence.
- Provide students the opportunity to learn expressions and increase vocabulary by hearing them in context.
- Use as a pre-reading activity. Play an excerpt and then ask students to predict what will happen next.
- Bring a book to life, thereby inspiring, entertaining, and linking language and listening to the reading experience.
For more information about using technology to strengthen instruction, see Susan Fitzell’s book, Using iPads and Other Cutting Edge Technology to Strengthen Your Instruction.