This makes sense … because someone with dyslexia requires very clear and deliberate communication. So if a new software program is going to work in the dyslexic community, then it’s got to be really good.
As a side benefit, these well-designed and intuitive products tend to appeal to people in general. Because everybody prefers clear and deliberate communication. So you might say dyslexia-friendly products are the real innovators in today’s world.
1 – Tools for learning
- iTunes is full of some very cool apps. There are tons of resources that can simplify your teaching. But one of my favorite apps is Octavian by Bitnotic.
- By definition, dyslexics typically don’t like writing information—including sheet music. So there are a number of music notation packages that simplify the process. Consider software by Sibelius or the relatively inexpensive Notion 3. Or you might try my personal favorite—MuseScore. (Which is free!)
- YouTube is another great learning resource. Encourage your students to watch step-by-step tutorials. Or have them look at different performances of the songs they’re learning. Videos like these are ideal because they don’t rely on written text.
- Music teaching websites also provide tons of useful information. MusicTheory.net has many useful exercises. And you can find even more instruction here at MyColorMusic.com.
2 – Tools for organization
- Use your mobile phone to keep students on track. With their (or their parents’) permission, you can send lesson reminders and other general notes via text message. You can also communicate with a larger group via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Record information on your student’s phone or iPod. Or encourage them to record their own messages to jog their memory.
- Use a shared online calendar to mark important dates. Tools like Google Calendar are great for blocking out practice times, rehearsal dates, and special events. And because a calendar is so graphical, it can really help a dyslexic student soak everything in.
3 – Tools for learning AND organization
- Moodle is a great tool for organizing lesson plans and interacting with students via the web. It’s a “virtual learning environment” (or VLE) that allows you to add things like a repertoire database, student diaries, quizzes, and other features.
- Another cool online tool is Udemy.com. Like Moodle, it lets teachers design comprehensive lessons, and add all sorts of multi-media to aid learning. Students can take their own notes, submit questions, and review information at their own pace. Check out the ColorMusic Udemy courses for some (objectively excellent) examples!
When it comes to teaching students—and especially those with dyslexia—technology is your friend. It can make a real difference in the learning experience … and help guide a student along the path of awesome. So use it!
What technologies do you use in your music program?