While there were many interesting apps introduced to educators at the summit, in particular, one that was originally designed for those with learning disabilities but could help any student.
As a child DJ Cunningham was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD. He struggled in school. “Book smart stuff, reading and writing, I am not so good at.”
More than five hundred educators became the students at Eastwood Collegiate institute and participated in the Google Apps for education summit in Kitchener.
Cunningham is an App inventor, he says when he was in grade 9 his biggest fear was that he wasn’t going to do anything with his life.
Now he’s trying to revolutionize the education system.
He has created the Learnstyle inventory App. It identifies effective learning methods for individuals and connects them to APPS that will help them learn.
For example, an auditory learner could use Google’s text-to-speech APP. A visual learner – could use this Mind-Mapping App. It’s an idea he hatched when he joined the army after high school.
“The military uses all 4 learning styles. every one thing that is taught to us, is taught in a visual way, sequential way, and audio/oral way and a kinesthetic way. Because I myself am very strong with 3 of those styles, I was a very successful soldier.”
Right now in most Canadian classrooms the style of teaching falls under the sequential category – meaning reading or writing, but Cunningham says only about 15 percent of students learn best that way
This weekend, hundreds of teachers from across the province are learning about how to integrate Google Apps in the classroom.
Bill Mackenzie is with the Upper Grand District School Board he says, “The work for teachers today is to find multiple ways to reach out to children and find the kind of engagement or the kind of learning that really speaks to them.”
Cunningham believes today’s technology can unleash students’ potentials, like it did for him.
“When we apply that type of teaching model to our mainstream students, what’s essential for somebody like me with dyslexia becomes absolutely beneficial for all of the other students.”
Grand Erie, York Region and Toronto District School Boards have already agreed to pilot the LearnStyle App in their classrooms when the test version comes out in June. The full version will be released next January.