Blogs About Reading

Aiming for Access

June Behrmann

June Behrmann is a longtime special education teacher (pre-K to grade 6) who retired for about two seconds, and is now prospecting for accessible instructional resources. Follow June on Twitter @aimnoncat. Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with us.

Get on the Map! Share "Accessible" Digital Activities for Digital Learning Day, March 13

March 7, 2015

Digital Learning Day 2015 (#DLD) on March 13 is a chance to spread the important message that not all digital text is accessible. Moreover for the first time this year, educators can promote what "accessible digital" learning looks like by logging an activity or event here that will appear on DLD's interactive worldwide map. Digital Learning Day 2015 Digital Learning Day is an annual campaign organized by the nonprofit Alliance for Excellent Education to ensure that all children get the best possible education in today’s world economy and global society. A flurry of events and resources happen on that day to show how technology and media used in innovative ways can engage students and provide them with a rich, personalized educational experience. Digital Learning Day Live! will be webcast from the 2015 Teaching & Learning Conference on March 13 and promote best technology practices. Ongoing free online resources will be available into the future to continue the momentum of sharing what works. Accessible icon added! This year for the first time #DLD added a yellow "Tech Accessibility" icon to the worldwide interactive map. A special Google form for teachers and others to list and describe an "accessible digital" learning activity will be transferred by #DLD staff to the interactive map. Contributors by their descriptions will help to define what tech accessibility means in a classroom, home, or community setting. For others, classwide, schoolwide, districtwide, statewide, library, and afterschool events can be entered directly at the map site. "Tech accessibility" since it is new, will work slightly differently this year but will be added for #DLD. This new category enhances #DLD's "Support Techquity" initiative that says technology needs to reach all learners no matter their ability level, socioeconomic status, or location. What to record? Teachers, assistive technology specialists, speech therapists, administrators and other educators can record activities on the spreadsheet with descriptions that include accessible educational materials and tools they are using. Some sample tools, strategies are:

  • Text-to-speech apps
  • Word prediction programs
  • Captions or Audio Description
  • Electronic graphic organizers
  • Dictation software
  • Tools for note taking
  • Tools promoting language, literacy, research, and study skills
  • Mobile OCR scanners

Do you help students access the curriculum with alternative formats from Bookshare? Learning Ally? Text leveling, read aloud with Snap&Read? Gather group data to determine reading accommodations with uPAR? Support Reading and writing with TextHelp? Kurzweil 1000? Provide access with JAWS®? ZoomText? Turn on captions, audio descriptions with DCMP? Do you use technology to prepare student materials like LessonPix or Boardmaker? Fill in the form. Share your successes. Describe what "accessible digital technology" does to help students access the same curriculum as their peers by using tech tools and strategies.

Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with our Reading Rockets audience.

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"Reading is not optional." —

Walter Dean Myers