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"Power Up's" 2015 Resolutions, Resources: Try Top Tech Solutions for Improving Teaching & Learning

Hopefully, all educators have New Year's resolutions in place to improve professional practice. "POWER Up What Works," an activity of the federal education department, is lending a hand by publishing five proposals by Judy Zorfass related to improving teaching and learning by using educational technology.

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.

Ring in The New Year with Curated Books, Apps, Media Chosen During 2014 by Super Sources

Bravo to carefully curated lists by reliable sources where the raters and choosers share what they love best.

Here are recommendations from great sources. Raters evaluated and selected books, apps, and media that were offered during 2014 or remained top recommendations chosen in the past. The selections that follow are a mixed bag suitable for various ages. Specific age levels and descriptions are noted on the linked sites.

Grolier Club's "Famous 100" Children's Books Named: Many Are Available in Alternative Formats

"One Hundred Books Famous in Children's Literature" is on display for a limited time in New York City. Many books on this curated list that once were only in print are available from AIM-VA partners including Learning Ally, Bookshare, and the Virginia Department for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Ear Read Those "Clifford, The Big Red Dog Books?" This Strategy Helps Dyslexics, Others

The author of Clifford the Big Red Dog series died this week. For students with print disabilities, "ear reading" Norman Bridwell's famous books by using audiobook versions is a must. Overcoming or bypassing their disability and accessing text in the way the student learns best helps them join with peers to discuss Bridwell's stories, his life (author studies), and books by other authors on the same topic.

Are You Helping Students with Dyslexia Get A's: Achievement, Accessibility, Accommodations, AT?

Teaching students with dyslexia and other print disabilities requires informed school administrators, teachers, related services personnel, and parents working together. Their efforts to establish eligibility for accessible educational materials (AEM=AIM) can assure that students who need it can access grade-level content in order to meet or exceed state standards.

14+ Accessible Holiday Book, Film Favorites Are Full of Fun For All to Enjoy

Bookshare, an AIM-VA partner in providing accessible books to students with print disabilities, recommends titles filled with humor as 2014 draws to a close. The following staff choices have witty and quirky holiday themes. Put serious books aside for a bit, Bookshare says. Make some time for smiles and joy.

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.

16 Apps, Websites for Including Students with Disabilities in STEM Education

Teachers as "learning engineers" was a theme of a 2014 webinar focused on how to structure successful learning for students with disabilities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education using technology and apps.

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"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them." — Lemony Snicket