CAST is an organization that specializes in the production of tools that fit under the universal design for learning umbrella. CAST creates tools for students and teachers. The CAST organization supplies us with free assistive technology that creates the possibility of making the task on hand accessible for everyone. More specifically, the CAST Strategy Tutor is a very useful study tool that can benefit every learner in the classroom. The Strategy Tutor specializes in helping students read, research, collect, and understand information more efficiently. The Strategy Tutor allows the teacher to create web based lessons that integrate web research and vocabulary supports.
The CAST Strategy Tutor is web browser add-on. This tool is free, making it accessible to any student with internet access. CAST strategy tool is available to students both at school or home. Once the Strategy Tutor has been downloaded to the chosen web browser, it displays several outlets for student inquiry. The Strategy Tutor supplies students with writing prompts for summarizing, questioning, clarifying, predicting, visualizing, personal response, web evaluation, media literacy, and reflection/self-evaluation. These prompts supply students with the support to start a paper in any subject area. Not only does this particular feature of the CAST strategy tool aid in the writing of a paper in any subject, but it also aids in the research for the assignment. Also a dictionary is available for students, if upon their research they run into a word barrier.
The implementation of Strategy Tutor would be particularly useful for the students in 5th and 6th grade. It is during this time where students are introduced to internet research and composition of papers for all subject areas. This tool can serve as an aid to students who struggle with research and composition. The tool serves as a support for students who need the reminder, prompt, or guidance while researching and writing. The dictionary tool is easily accessible to students who come across unknown words in their research. The tool is extremely easy to navigate and helpful to its user.
The tool is also functional for teacher usage. The Strategy Tutor directly links to the CAST homepage which in itself holds abundant tools and student supports. The tool links to a student work log where you can monitor your students' work and activities.
This picture shows a screen shot taken of the CAST Strategy Tutor. The web browser add-on contains access to the CAST home page, strategy help, a teacher accessible work log, and a student friendly dictionary. Below the Strategy Tutor tool bar is the web page displayed when a student is in need of strategy help.