In today’s educational system which is making a crucial shift away from lecturing and note-taking to student-centered exploratory learning, students with special needs, particularly those with auditory processing disorders, are more likely to thrive. The ability to demonstrate learning in a variety of ways and obtain information in a manner suitable to one’s own learning style is central to this philosophy, and a significant improvement in the nature of education. However, although many teachers may shy away from lecturing or giving notes to an entire class in this new educational model, some activities and teaching strategies make this a necessary evil in the world of education. Teacher modeling, for example, relies on the teacher’s ability to demonstrate a skill and thought process, often aloud, for his/her students. This can be beneficial to students as they can see the teacher’s process and mimick his or her strategies later on; however, it poses challenges to those struggling with auditory processing. The digital note-taking software, Notability, aids in this dilemma.
According to Rhea Paul (2007), auditory processing disoriders are often linked to autism spectrum disorders. Because of this, it can be difficult to diagnose, as symptoms overlap. Children with an auditory processing disorder struggle not only with hearing individual sounds, but also with distinguishing sounds from one another, and applying information from sounds to other tasks (Paul 2007). Because of this, students who suffer from an auditory processing disorder will be challenged by seemingly simple tasks just as taking notes. Listening to a teacher, processing the words or cues, and then applying the information in writing is a process that will be extremely challening for students with an auditory processing disorder.
When note taking becomes necessary, such as through teacher modeling, students and teachers can use an app-based software called Notability to support student note-taking and work. Notability, which has a free version, an upgraded version, and several free off-brand ‘copies, allows teachers and students to capture notes and lectures in an innovative way. Students can write, draw, or speak into the app to create well-organized notes, and teachers can record lectures, annotate on the screen, or upload pre-written notes to the app. Sharing is easy as well, allowing teachers to disseminate the notes to whomever would benefit from them, and fostering collaboration among students.
Although apps such as Notablilty can make note taking a less painful process for students with auditory processing disorders, ultimately, it may be the case the a student simply cannot (or will not) effectively take notes independently. For this reason, the opportunity for teachers to create and share their own notes through Notablilty is incredibly beneficial. Teachers can record lectures/notes using the app, and share these recordings with not only students, but also parents, tutors, or any other supports the student may have. Additionally, teachers can add images and text from their devices to annotate in class, solve problems visually, and demonstrate both content and skills.
Ultimately, students with auditory processing disorders will struggle in traditional classroom settings without modifications and additional support. Encouraging students to make use of effective and appropriate technology, such as Notability, can begin to close the gap between students who struggle and those who do not.
Please enjoy my Screencast on Notability! Click Here if the video does not load above.
Paul, R. (2008). Auditory processing disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental
Disorders, 38(1), 208-9. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-007-0437-6