Reading is a complex task requiring readers to first properly decode and identify words before deciphering their meaning within a larger syntax. For students with a slow processing speed disorder, these steps can be rather challenging as their mind struggles to process these tasks simultaneously (Braaten et al., 2020). If an assignment then requires students to annotate while reading, a whole new set of steps are involved which can further delay their processing speed. In addition, many of these tasks are now virtual due to the current pandemic. This has resulted in brand new challenges as students try to navigate new applications, follow along with the class, and process information in novel ways.
So what can teachers do for students who have a slow processing speed disorder and are overwhelmed by digital reading and annotating assignments? Although another application may be the last thing struggling students want to see, the following screencast describes a Google extension called Scrible which is fairly simple to use and may alleviate some students’ anxieties about working online:
As the screencast describes, this extension essentially turns every digital page into a format similar to paper copies. When the student returns to the same URL, their annotations are there as if it were a print-out. This may help students fall into a rhythm of working online as this useful toolbar becomes as reliable as a pen or pencil and can be used on any digital page. This tool may not be for every student, however. For those who struggle with dexterity as well as slow processing speed, they may find it difficult to type their annotations since a speech-to-text feature is not built in. But for those who do not require speech-to-text and become accustomed to using this tool, their mind will hopefully be freed of some of its computational tasks (such as switching applications or uploading files) so they can focus on the actual task of reading, annotating, and participating in class.
Braaten, E., Ward, A., Forchelli, G., Vuijk, P., Cook, N., McGuinness, P., Lee, B., Samkavitz, A., Lind, H., O’Keefe, S., & Doyle, A. (2020). Characteristics of child psychiatric outpatients with slow processing speed and potential mechanisms of academic impact. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 29, 1453–1464. https://doi-org.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/10.1007/s00787-019-01455-w
Scrible. (2020, November 1). https://www.scrible.com/