New Funding to Expand Access to Technology and Recover Academic Learning Loss

The COVID crisis continues to have a tremendous impact on the daily lives of students across the country. The inequity gaps in socioeconomics, access to technology, and accessibility for students with disabilities have yet to be resolved during continued Blended or eLearning/Remote Learning. Original CARES Act funding helped districts get Chromebooks in students’ hands, and now a portion of this new round of funding will build on top of that infrastructure with learning aids, instructional resources, accommodations, and assistive technologies to help make up for the effects of learning loss and bridge .

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English Language Learners (ELLs) face English-dominated eLearning platforms and remote instruction without the the level of language support they rely on to learn.

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Students with disabilities face incredible challenges learning more independently on screens without many of the supports they rely heavily on in school.

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Low income students typically have less access to technology and internet—both essential to successful eLearning. On top of that, the right supports can further close equity gaps.

Key points for educational technology and accessibility advocates

Many student groups who were most affected by educational disruptions are a central focus of the legislation. Educational tools and assistive technology are listed in the guidance, specifically:

1) Addressing student learning loss through evidence-based approaches, which may include assessments and distance learning equipment and resources.

2) Activities to address the unique needs of low-income children or students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth, including how outreach and service delivery will meet the needs of each population. 

3) How to provide technology for online learning to all students, how to provide guidance for carrying out requirements under IDEA and how to ensure other educational services can continue to be provided consistent with all Federal, State, and local requirements. 

4) Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students who are served by the local educational agency that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including low-income students and students with disabilities, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment.

Source

Resources

Young girl working on a laptop

Article

New Cares Act Funding to Improve Access to Education

How will you advocate for students who need access to the curriculum?

How will you advocate for students who need access to the curriculum? As a company, we continue to focus on three things 1) developing tools like Snap&Read and Co:Writer that give access to the curriculum through reading and writing, 2) offering free implementation to students and teachers through our Learning Academy, and 3) Producing resources for parents. To start understanding how to use this funding, download the CARES Act Advocate Slide Deck Template.
Tablet with snap and read working and headphopnes
Snap&Read gives students access to their full reading capabilities

With all of the independent work students are taking on through eLearning, you want to make sure that they really understand what they read. Snap&Read gives them a whole toolbox to do just that—with any text, anywhere.

Snap&Read™

  • Text to speech Icon

    Text to speech

    Listen to text for greater comprehension

  • Text Leveling Icon

    Text Leveling

    Dynamically adjust the readability of text without changing the meaning

  • Readability Analyzer Icon

    Readability Analyzer

    See the grade level equivalent of the text on any webpage

  • Icon for language supports

    Translate

    Translate text into 100+ languages on any webpage

  • Symbol Representing Highlighter

    Highlighter

    Highlight what you want to read and save for later

Co:Writer working on a laptop
Co:Writer® gives students access to their full writing capabilities

Speech recognition and word prediction come together to help students break through barriers to writing. These supports work for students wherever they write—helping them participate in eLearning more fully. Co:Writer also gives students access to topic-specific and academic vocabulary, helping students write on over 3 million topics.

Co:Writer®

  • Icon of a microphone

    Speech Recognition

    Allows students with Dysgraphia to dictate when needed

  • Word Prediction Icon

    Neuron Word Prediction

    Helps students write what they want to say while supporting phonetic and inventive spellings

  • Translation Icon

    Multi-Language Support

    ELL supports give English predictions even when spelling in other languages

  • iOS keyboard icon

    iOS Keyboard

    Brings Co:Writer word prediction to the iPad

  • Topic Dictionary Icon

    Topic Dictionaries

    Over 4 million Topic Dictionaries give students access to vocabulary on any topic

Key CARES Funding Uses

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Access to Computers / Chromebooks / Tablets

Providing online learning technology to all students starts with access to technology.

Educational and Accessible Technologies

“Purchasing educational technology, which could include hardware, software, and connectivity, for students served by the LEA that aids in regular, substantive educational interaction between students and educators, including low-income students and students with disabilities. This could also include assistive technology or adaptive equipment.” CARES Act Section 18003(d)(9).

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Providing Online Learning to Special Populations

Provide online learning technology to all students, including providing guidance on meeting “IDEA requirements, summer learning and supplemental after school program activities.”

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