Magic Moments with Qwiki: PrAACtical Learning for Older Students and Adults

May 31, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

Magic Moments with Qwiki: PrAACtical Learning for Older Students and Adults
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Qwiki, Magic Moments for PrAACtical Learning for Older Students and Adults

Magic Moments is an occasional series that discusses prAACtical ways of using favorite toys, games, apps, and selected websites for language and literacy learning. Our last Magic Moments post featured Toca Store, an app for children, so this time we raised our sights to address an older demographic. There are fewer age-appropriate, interesting materials designed especially for the AAC and learning needs of this age group so we are always on the hunt for creative ideas. Since we’re sharing digital curation tools as part of our May Strategy of the Month, we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to talk about ways to use Qwiki with clients who use AAC. and websites for communication learning. 

Qwiki is an aggregation tool that combines video and web interactivity into a brief multimedia presentation. In their reference site, Qwiki allows you to enter a search term and get an interesting overview of that topic with images, text, video, and infographics. Qwiki assembles it all into a short, narrated presentation with print captioning and is used with increasing frequency in educational settings.. They are in the process of preparing a launch of Qwiki Creator which allows more personalized ways of using this tool, but we’ve found some wonderful ways to use the current reference version to help people with AAC needs. One word of caution: We have not turned up any offensive content but clinicians should probably pre-screen the search terms and monitor for age appropriateness prior to using this in therapy or recommending it for home use.

Using Qwiki Reference for PrAACtical Language Learning

1. Vocabulary learning: A learner can input a term they are learning about and get a presentation on that concept. This is great for extending knowledge of Tier 2 words.

2. Previewing concepts that will be covered in class: Things move very quickly in some classrooms, particularly in the upper grades. With advance notice of topics or key terms, the student with AAC needs can do some preparation by inputting the word and watching the presentation. Then, when that concept is covered in class, they already have some prior knowledge of it.Qwiki, Magic Moments for PrAACtical Learning with Older Students and Adults

3. Social media: In some situations, we’re teaching social media skills, like using Facebook, to the older students and adults with whom we work. Sometimes they need help with ideas about interesting content to post. Qwiki presentations are easy to share using the built in social media buttons on the site.

4. Exploring topics of interest: At any point in the narrated Qwiki presentation, you can stop and click on an image to go to the original site to explore more about the topic. This is very useful to people who love to learn but have some difficulty with traditional search functions. After the presentation, there are options to continue to view related Qwiki’s or explore the topic through Google, Wikipedia, Fotopedia, and YouTube.
5. Extracting the main idea: Qwiki is a wonderful tool to set the context for practicing how to extract the main idea and put it into your own words without the additional burden of reading. Most main idea tasks require the student to read a passage, and while this is appropriate in some situations, often the time and fatigue factor steer us toward other options. They can select a topic of interest, like Gaga, Glee, or Nascar, and view the presentation. Afterwards, we can support them in summarizing the main idea and supporting details. Sometimes we record those in a journal or save them to the SGD/app so that they can reuse them in conversations about this area of interest. Killing two birds with one stone? Makes a clinician’s heart sing!

We love that the narration is captioned, though it goes a bit fast for many learners. One down side is that Qwiki focuses on the most popular concepts and topics, and does not have the ability to create a presentation on every term or concept. It seems to be growing qwikly though (sorry!). There is also an iPad app for learning on the go.

Hope you have some Qwiki fun and make some prAACtical Magic Moments with some of the AAC learners you know.

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This post was written by Carole Zangari

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