April 2016 Newsletter

ISTE Inclusive Learning Network

President's Message

[image on right: Photo of Kendra Grant]

Hello Everyone,

This month's newsletter is our biggest yet! I hope you have the time to read all the exciting news and upcoming events.

A big congratulations and thank you to our Inclusive Learning Network Outstanding Educator Award Finalists. We had many amazing nominees and wish we could select each one for the work they do to make inclusion an everyday instructional strategy.

Luis Pérez is the recipient of this year's award. Luis has made inclusion and accessibility his life's mission. A great deal of this month's newsletter highlights his tireless work advocating and enlightening through is presentations, workshops and writing. One additional mention is a book chapter co-authored by Luis, Elizabeth Dalton and I entitled "UDL and Online Learning."

Luis and Elizabeth are just two Inclusive Learning members I have had the pleasure to work with, and more importantly learn from, as a volunteer with ISTE. It has been the best professional learning of my career! If you are interested in joining us click the button below. We'd love to have you!

Inclusively Yours,

Kendra Grant OCT, MET

President, Inclusive Learning Network

Build your PLN with #CSUN16

Follow the hashtag #csun16 for the latest information about accessible technology shared at the International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (formerly CSUN). Some of the people to follow for more information about accessibility in education:

  • Yue-Ting Siu (@TVI_ting): as a teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) and researcher, Dr. Siu’s work focuses on on how to improve technology training and professional development for TVIs who often teach in isolation, and are challenged to apply their knowledge in variable environments as dictated by student needs (pedagogy), and subject matter.

  • Ed Summers (@edsummersnc): as Senior Manager for Accessibility at SAS, Dr. Summers has lead a number of innovative projects, including the recent publication of the accessible ebook Reach for the Stars in collaboration with the Space Telescope Science Institute.

  • Josh Miele (@BerkeleyBlink): Dr. Miele, a scientist at Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Insittute, conducts research on crowd-sourced, cloud-based approaches to the description of educational video content, as well as interactive, haptic description of maps and models to enhance access to STEM learning.

UDL Implementation Resources Curated by the UDL-IRN

Are you looking to get UDL practices going in your school or district or have a great UDL resource to share? The UDL-IRN is aggregating and sharing UDL implementation resources from researchers and practitioners around the globe. The site contains links to resources related to UDL best practices, classroom implementation, implementation measurement, UDL voices and more. Check it out on the Additional Resources page of the UDL-IRN website.

[image below: Screenshot of the UDL-IRN Additional Resources on UDL Implementation page]

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Thought Leader Spotlight: 2016 Inclusive Learning Network Award Finalists

[image on right: Inclusive Learning Network logo]

This month, we are spotlighting some amazing individuals who are paving the way for connected learning! We received many nominations in February for the 2016 Inclusive Learning Network Outstanding Educator Award, an annual award from the Inclusive LN that recognizes exceptional leaders who exemplify the vision and mission of the Inclusive LN - "enhancing opportunities for ALL learners through effective practices and technology resources." The award winner will be honored at the 2016 ISTE Conference & Expo in Denver during a breakfast for leaders of the ISTE Professional Learning Networks, recognized on the ISTE website, and receive a plaque and free membership to ISTE for one year. Though it was tough deciding among the high caliber of nominated individuals who are doing great things in inclusive learning, we would like to recognize the three finalists and the winner of this year’s award.

2016 Finalists:

Mary Rowland teaches English at Crestview High School in Ohio. She was nominated by Crestview High School principal, Shannon Sprang, who commended Mary as a “thorough and outstanding teacher” who “uses blended learning opportunities to reach ALL learners.”

Kelly Pochop is the Virtual Learning Coordinator in the Racine Unified School District in Wisconsin. He is lauded by James O'Hagan, RUSD Director of Digital & Virtual Learning, for his efforts in expanding virtual learning opportunities for Wisconsin students, enabling them to “customize their learning and to take ownership of their educational goals.”

Debra Crawford is the Blended Learning Coordinator for Cincinnati Public Schools in Ohio. She is instrumental diversifying instruction for students through overseeing blended learning opportunities in her district and technology-infused professional development for educators.

2016 Award Winner:

And last, but not least, we would like to congratulate the winner of the 2016 Inclusive Learning Network Outstanding Educator Award - Luis Pérez! Dr. Pérez is a very active international speaker, writer, photographer, and advocate for accessibility and inclusive learning. He contributes to the Inclusive LN community through his leadership as Inclusive LN Professional Learning Chair, co-instructor of the annual Inclusive LN SOOC (Short- Small-Supported-Social, Open Online Course), and author of numerous books, including I Am More Powerful Than You Think: Changing Perceptions of Disability through Digital Storytelling.

Thank you to all of the award nominees! You are to be commended for your accomplishments.

~Susie Gronseth, Inclusive Learning Network President-Elect

ISTE entrsekt magazine features Luis Pérez

[image on left: Photo of Luis Pérez]

Don't miss this fantastic article in ISTE's entrsekt magazine featuring the Inclusive Learning Network's Professional Learning Chair, Luis Pérez in a story that documents his journey from the moment he was told he was going to lose his vision to his current work as an inclusive learning evangelist: Luis Pérez: Inclusive learning consultant brings extraordinary vision to ed tech (ISTE members only access to online articles).

Luis was also recently featured in an article in CNET focusing on the accessibility of the iPhone for individuals who have visual impairments.

We are inspired by you every single day, Luis!

CAST Professional Learning's Top 10 UDL Tips for Designing an Engaging Learning Environment

[image on right: CAST | Until learning has no limits]

In the most recent version of the UDL Guidelines, which appears in Universal Design for Learning: Theory & Practice, engagement appears in the first column, emphasizing its essential role in the perception and strategic action necessary for learning. In a UDL space, learners are engaged through deliberate design of the learning environment. How can educators design learning environments that support the growth and development of purposeful, motivated learners? Get some new ideas by checking out CAST Professional Learning's Top 10 UDL Tips for Designing an Engaging Learning Environment.

Latest News in Inclusive Learning

[image on right: Facebook logo]

Making Images Accessible for People on Twitter

Twitter recently announced image descriptions for images shared on the social network through mobile devices. This is a major step toward making social media more accessible in order to allow all individuals to have a voice in these new spaces for conversation and collaboration.

Facebook begins using artificial intelligence to describe photos to blind users

Rolling out this month, Facebook's accessibility team has developed automatic alternative text to identify the contents of an image and "read" it aloud. This technology has the potential to impact millions of users.

Waiting List for Inclusive Pre-School

The first fully inclusive pre-school in Singapore, Kindle Garden, of which up to 30 percent of its open seats are for children with special needs. The school focuses on personalization and developmentally appropriate instruction.

Upcoming Events

ASET of Ontario Conference

Kendra Grant and Luis Perez will be presenting a session on Interactive Video with TouchCast at the Association for Special Education Technology (ASET) of Ontario Conference in Niagara Falls, April 22nd.

CAST's 2nd Annual UDL Symposium: Building UDL Community and Practice around Engagement

August 8-10, 2016

Harvard Law School

Cambridge, MA

Engagement is essential for learning, so how do we design learning experiences that engage all learners? Join CAST and educators, administrators, curriculum designers, technology leaders, specialists, advocacy groups, and researchers as we explore the latest research and UDL strategies for motivating learners and helping them become more purposeful in high-level learning.

Register today!

CAST's Annual UDL Symposium

ISTE Inclusive Learning Network

We love to hear from you! Connect with us on social media and join us on ISTE Connects for more about inclusive learning. [image: ISTE Inclusive Learning Network logo]