Select, evaluate, and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning

In my current district I’m lucky that assistive technology was a large focus for this year. I’m lucky not only because it is very important to select and work to ensure that technologies adopted by the school district are accessible to all, but also because in my investigations while in the DEL program I didn’t look deeply at assistive technologies. I did spend some time investigating and using YouTube’s features that auto-caption videos related to my post on Screencasting in the Classroom,which is linked below, but in using those auto-generated captions, I found that they are not nearly intelligent enough to get everything right, at least not yet. Due to that, I would advocate for using them as a starting point, then making sure to return to the captions and edit and correct them as needed.

In my experience as a classroom teacher I saw the importance of captions because of a student in my classroom. I had a student who was hard of hearing, so when I was selecting video to show the classroom captions were a very important feature for accessibility that I required. Without captions, my student had much more difficulty understanding the video.

In my job now as an instructional technology coach much of our work this year has been focused on helping teachers move from using inaccessible content either in the form of a PDF or images without alt text to being educated about using accessible technology. It is a big area for growth across the district. For many teachers it is new learning, as a lot related to accessibility was for me during the DEL program. Luckily with a new laptop deployment for teachers happening in June and August of 2018, we have a captive audience of all certificated staff in the district to highlight the need to ensure documents, websites and other forms of media are accessible to all. So, during each laptop deployment and in additional classes we will share tips for making content accessible as well as why that is an important practice in the classroom.

For more information see my complete post on Screencasting in the Classroom: Using Video for School Based PD with Staff and Students

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