Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Instrument Evaluation: Do You Toobaloo?
The Toobaloo is a telephone like instrument that a student talks into. It allows the learner to hear how they sound as a reader even when they whisper.
During snack time I observed a 5th grade student using this tool. He whispered a whole page of novel to himself during this busy break in the day and then answered questions about the page.
From my perspective the student appeared to be focused while using the Toobaloo, since his attention was on the page in front of him rather than the other students buzzing around the room.
When I interviewed the student he said, "The tool helped me listen to how I sound while I read. Since I didn't have to listen to anyone around me, I could focus more."
In my opinion, there are benefits to using this instrument in a busy inclusion classroom with 24 students. Even in a busy room, a student can tune out the other noises in the room by reading or speaking into the Toobaloo even at a whisper. Doing this allows the child to hear them self read. With direct instruction in fluency skills, a child can easily recognize how their speaking should be fluid and not stilted. Using this tool allows the student to determine how they want to sound when they're are reading aloud or speaking. This tool could be easily used in speech/language related service instruction as well.
The only problem I found with the Toobaloo is that it only uses one ear and it does not have a hands free device. Yet despite these limitations, my experience with the Toobaloo has been nothing but positive. As a Local Assistive Technology Specialist candidate I would consider recommending or using this tool with students that have speech/language difficulties, fluency deficits, comprehension issues or attentional delays.