What Does the Research Say About Which Technologies Support the Learner with Dyslexia?

Nanci King Shepardson
Senior Educational Technologist/Wilson Language Training

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Based on the research, what tools would be the best investment for our time, talent, and resources? While there may not be a lot of research behind individual products, there is well-done research that points out the best parts of technology to harness, in order to facilitate positive student outcomes. Come learn about what to look for when choosing a tool and see some examples of what to use with students with dyslexia.

This presentation will have three sections. In section one, to ensure a level playing field, the presentation will begin with an overview of Assistive Technology (AT). The definition of Dyslexia will also be reviewed.

In the second section, a review of the research will be presented.  Areas of research that will be covered include the effectiveness of AT,  the impact of text-to-speech, the use of apps as AT, how a reader’s profile impacts what AT tool is used, read aloud accommodations, screen vs. paper reading, the impact on-screen reading on comprehension, the influence of digital interactive textbooks on student outcomes, the impact of laptop use on student achievement, the impact of tablet-based technology on critical thinking and communication skills, educational technologies’ effect on student achievement, the change of the role of technology in our daily practice, and the importance of equity and accessibility being built into the technologies we use.

In the third section, based on the review of the research, what are the implications for choosing the right tool for the right student?  What attributes should we insist on? How do these attributes change with developmental stages?

Learning outcomes for participants: 

  • Examine research findings and implications for practice relevant to students with dyslexia and other language learning disabilities.
  • Evaluate the different multimedia learning tools and show practical applications of these tools in professional development and teacher training.
  • Access potential applications of language-based technology for direct instruction and/or accommodation for students with dyslexia


About the Presenter

Nanci Shepardson is a Reading and Educational Specialist. She graduated from Wheelock College in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in Preschool/Kindergarten Curriculum and Infant/ Toddler Development. In 2010, she graduated from Simmons University with an M.S.Ed. in Language and Literacy and an Ed.S. in Assistive Technology. She is a seasoned teacher, a credentialed K-12 Reading Specialist, and an International Dyslexia Association and Wilson Reading System Dyslexia Practitioner (WRS Level 1 Certified). Nanci has taught kindergarten, second grade, and fourth grade, and was a Reading and Educational Specialist for grades 7 through postgraduate and has tutored all ages. She consults for the International Dyslexia Association, she is an advocate for students with disabilities and their families and is also a professional speaker on Dyslexia, language-based disabilities, and assistive technology throughout the country. Prior to joining Wilson Language Training, she was the Head of Learning Resources at The Chapin School in Manhattan. As the Senior Educational Technologist at Wilson Language Training, she works in the Program Development Department. In her role, she works with the Wilson Reading System (WRS) Team and the Technology Team to create traditional and digital tools that will augment the current WRS curriculum and materials. She stays abreast of the current technological trends and serves as a resource for parents, teachers, and schools on Assistive Technology. Nanci is also a parent of a grown child with Dyslexia.

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