Accessible teaching material
This message was posted by narva on Jul 22, 2009.
I teach severe and profound high schoolers. It is very difficult for me to find material that is readily available and user friendly for right now. Usually when I find something good I can't afford it or can't get access to it. I found News2You through the speech department in our district but I don't have access to it. Are there other programs out there for the severely mentally disabled that teachers can use now?
Tar Heel Reader is a great resource for electronic text (although not AIM). It meets a great need by providing books with simple text to older struggling readers. It's content is being created by us the users across the world and there are many books in other languages (German, Spanish, etc.) You can browse the ever growing collection of books or register and create your own books. You can get the invitation code by emailing the site manager (found on the Website). There is also the ability to have the text read out loud and you can download the books to your computer to read away from the internet. You can check it out at http://www.tarheelreader.org
Thanks everybody. I will check out these sites. I am not that computer savvy. But I'm willing to learn.
Tar heel is awsome.
I checked out this website and it's amazing. I was wondering if there is a way to slow the reading down and if there is a way to hightlight the words as they are being read. I like that you can use different ways to access the books.
Another free resources similar to News 2 You is Symbol World. The website is www.symbolworld.org It features many symbol supported learning and literacy activities including an symbol-supported newsletter. The activities are designed to be appropriate for a broad range of ages and interests. I think that many of the activities could be incorporated into a classroom curriculum.
I'm co-moderator of the other FCTD course on Social Networking and this issue of blocked items has come up repeatedly. I'm wondering what recourse if any we have under IDEA when AT is considered, that it can be listed that sites need to be available to our students as curricular modifications or learning materials. Joy, I thought you might weigh in on this and then I can share it with the other course? Thanks so much for any thoughts you and the others can offer here. Annette talked about some of the laws during the PACER webinar last week, so anything you can add as well would be helpful. Since I'm at an AT site (ETTAC in Knoxville, a sister ATA center to PACER) I'm not familiar with the in's and out's of what we can ask for in this regard. I do know that many classrooms I'm in when doing support or evals are blocked from google. The issue of getting to materials that we can make accessible is critical to our student's learning. And I'm also sensitive as a former classroom teacher on the demands of having to do things at home. So how do we make these tools available? What are the legalities we can use to promote this, if any? And when I'm writing evaluations, is it something I can put in my recommendations for an IEP team to consider? More questions!
Is there any way to download or save a web-based activity so it can be used on a computer that does not have the Internet?
Kathy, do you have something specific that you are thinking of??
I'm thinking about some exciting math websites that have lots of virtual manipulatives that would be great in an algebra classroom, but there is no Internet in this classroom. That is what prompted my question. Naturally, I'm drawing a complete blank on the websites names now that I'm in front of my computer again.
Well,a lot of the issues relating to "accessible" online content relate to identifying WHY the content is not able "to be accessed". FIRST, there is the ongoing (and very important) issue of "accessible content"... in other words, "Is the content itself developed and shared in such a way that it is compatible with AT - can be accessed and possibly, manipulated -such as text readers, screen readers, alternate keyboards and mouse emulators?" I am on a personal and professional campaign to draw the attention of developers of online curriculum and materials to the critical need (and market advantage) of having a fully accessible product! At present publishers say that nobody is asking for this! ASK LOUDLY! ASK OFTEN! SECOND - and I am thinking this might be the issue you are referring to Alice? - there is other "access to online content" - blocking of "suspect" content - that is internal to school districts and schools. Some (perhaps many?) school districts limit access to online for a variety of reasons, all aimed at protecting either their students or their equipment. Both of these are important and admirable protections, HOWEVER, quite often access is blocked from a whole CATEGORY of online materials. For example, social networking tools and electronic lists. The QIAT List (http://www.qiat.org) is a very active, very inclusive online mailing list where families and professionals from many perspectives talk about all sorts of issues related to the provision of quality assistive technology services in schools. While this list has been called "the best Just-in-Time help available" by at least one of its 1300 participants, other participants have said that they are not able to get messages on their school email because mailing lists (often called by the brand-name, Listserv) are on the blocked list. If there is content on a site that you need that is not accessible because there is an internal block on the site, you should check with your agency's IT personnel. Often they are able to allow content from a specific site or list if they understand the importance of that content to the achievement of students. You can always seek administrative assistance if it is needed to get this message to the right people. Of course there are other issues. Perhaps I have misinterpreted what the question was??? Do not hesitate to rephrase or redirect.
Thanks, this is great. I will try to seek administrative assistance.
I use a mac app called "site sucker" to pull sites down that I might need to evaluate a child if I think I might have difficult access at a particular school or building. I store them on an external hard drive. I have taken one particularly good switch site (priory woods) because my district blocks streaming video, and even when I got them to unblock the site, it loads so slowly the you loose the kids attention. Not all sites are "suckable" and this can be a huge drain on your memory. There used to be something called Web Wacker that did something similar. Does anyone know if it is still around?
I am a bit late in responding to this thread but hopefully this will still be helpful... Our district AT team started meeting regularly with our Director of Technology Services and the relationship we have built there has been really helpful. They have a better understanding of AT and have worked with us to get students access to what they need.