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Special education

All Digital Text Is Not Accessible: Buy Wisely in Order to Serve a Wide Audience of Learners

Digital Learning Day on March 13 is an important time to remember that all digital text is not accessible. The focus for future digital purchases should be on products where digital text and images of all kinds are accessible to the widest range of students. 

Wise Buys

Buying accessible products – those that serve a diverse range of learning needs – is easier now as compared with the past. More products offer flexible digital text with learning supports and options that formerly did not exist or were excluded in older products.

Captioned Films Based on Books Celebrate Girls, Women's History Month

Captioned films aid instruction for students who struggle with decoding text and/or understanding language.

This month accessible media enlivens Women's History Month. This annual celebration lead by the National Women's History Project provides information, instructional, and promotional resources to educators and others describing the diverse and historic accomplishments of women.

Cool AT Tool, Programs Simplify + Read Aloud Text So Learners Stay Current with Curriculum Content

For some students, hearing passages aloud is enough for them to understand the content. For those learners, human and/or electronic readers keep them involved with learning across the curriculum. Sometimes those learners combine an audiobook and keep a printed copy in hand or on their lap. They also do well if the assigned text is converted to an accessible digital format that runs on their computer or mobile device. But other students struggle with those choices. They need text that is simplified.

"Leap into Learning Differently" Website Debuts with BAM Radio Podcasts for All Educators

"Leap Into Learning Differently," a new website by Sharon LePage Plante, is crafted carefully to include "amazing people who care about learning for all students." She is site founder and also a tireless teacher, tech director, and social-media-in-education aficionado who won a 2014 Bammy Award for her work with special needs students.

5 Accessibility Features for All Ed Materials, 7 Questions to Ask When Buying Ed Software

Accessible digital text is the way to go when students have differing abilities. Meanwhile, flexible digital learning also supports the variability that any single learner experiences in the course of a day.

El Deafo: Virginia Author-Illustrator Turns Her Use of an Assistive Technology Device into a Strength

Students who use a device to support their access to the curriculum often struggle because assistive technology (AT) can make them feel different from their peers.

The "Almost Best" Collection of Apps, Extensions for Special Education from An AT Specialist

I raved about Karen Janowski's wiki UDLToolkit and the serious matter of achieving academic accessibility in classrooms when the AIM-VA blog started publishing in 2014. I turn to her recommendations today as 2015 gets rolling.

Seven Ways to Give Students with Print Disabilities Accessible Educational Materials for Learning

With IEP "season" just beginning, says the National Center for Accessible Educational Materials (AEM), two webinars are coming in February to help educators and families know the basics and determine a student's eligibility for alternatives during instruction when books in print are barriers to learning.

Alternatives to print help to assure that students with print disabilities are able to participate in the general education curriculum and make progress toward their IEP goals.

Savvy "Parent" Websites Paint Pictures of Disability Supports, Solutions That Educators Can Love!

Two "Don't Miss" websites that target parents of students with disabilities, do double duty and serve information needs for teachers, administrators, and related services personnel, too.

Both of the resources that follow are brimming with news, essential information, and hand-picked experts. Thankfully, they take on —rather than leave to someone else — the most serious concerns about improving the learning and social lives of student with disabilities.

Mac's Voice, Dictation Upgrades Are Springboards for Students Who Struggle With Books in Print

A flurry of built-in accessibility features involving voice and dictation from Apple are the latest operating system upgrades that benefit students who are frustrated and turned off when their textbooks and trade books come only in print.

New Tools

The additions mean students who learn differently have choices in the supports they use during a digital learning opportunity. No user is likely to turn on all the features at one time. However, having a menu of choices can personalize each learning situation.

Pages

"You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." — Paul Sweeney