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We know the transition to remote learning has been quite a journey, and occasionally a bumpy one.

Two men get knocked out their seats on a bumpy bus

But New York City’s educators, and you, our students and families, have stepped forward to meet the challenges of this time together—and together, we are charting a new pathway to learning.

That being said, we understand the ways that remote learning can present particular challenges to students, including those who may require additional supports. To help supplement the the DOE’s existing resources for students, such as those who require assistive technology or speech therapy supports, we’ve pulled together the following list of online resources that can help support student learning at home.

Side view of students working on laptops

Accessible Resources for Students

  • Microsoft’s Educator Center has special education and accessibility resources for remote learning. Here, you can learn more about Microsoft’s Immersive Reader feature, which helps independent reading and comprehension by converting text-to-speech—and is compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
  • Natural Reader is another text-to-speech tool that can be added as an extension to the Google Chrome web browser. It can detect webpages and Google Docs as well!
  • Accessibyte is currently offering free access to their full range of apps featuring built-in visual and audible accessibility. Accessibyte built these apps to support students who are blind or visually-impaired, deaf, have reading difficulties, or just want something fun and different.
  • Families and educators supporting at least one student with a disability can register for free membership and access to over 8,000 captioned and described educational videos at the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP).
  • Do you know where your fingers are supposed to rest on the computer keyboard? Interested in speeding up your typing? Join the Typing Club to learn how to type without looking at the keyboard!
  • Request free access to BrainPOP online learning resources while school buildings remain closed.
Title card for Brain POP ELL

BrainPOP is available in Spanish and French, and also features BrainPOP, Jr. for elementary school students, and BrainPOP ELL for English Language Learners. (Photo Credit: BrainPOP)

  • Discover non-fiction books for beginner researchers at Pebblego. All books are supported with spoken-word audio and text highlighting to make students’ first steps as researchers easier.
  • The AAC Language Lab offers free resources, activities, and lesson plans in support of students who use speech devices for their language development. In addition, the DOE’s very own Special Education Supports webpage includes great ideas for activities, key ideas, and tips for success.

We hope this list helps students and families who are seeking a bit more support for their daily activities. If you have suggestions of your own, please leave us a comment below!

If your children do not have access to an internet-enabled tablet or laptop/personal computer, and you have yet to fill out our online Remote Learning Device Request Form, we urge you to fill it out at your earliest convenience. Available in ten languages, the online form will allow you to request an internet-enabled iPad on behalf of an NYC public school student in your household.

Once you submit your form, the DOE will use the contact information you provide to follow up with you to discuss when and where you can pick up a device. Priority will be given to students most in need, and all devices are granted on a temporary basis and will later need to be returned. There is a limit of one device per student—families with multiple students who need devices should fill out one device request form for each student.

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of a million students across 1,800+ schools

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NYC Department of Education, 2019