October 2015 Newsletter

ISTE Inclusive Learning Network

President's Message


October is a busy time when IEPs are due and signs of the holiday season are beginning to appear. We hope you enjoy this month's newsletter filled with bite-sized information highlighting the tools, people and news related to inclusion, accessibility and UDL.

The post "What our kids are learning when adults are inclusive" resonated with me. We send powerful messages to all our students when we exclude learners (or limit their participation) based on their disabilities. Let's "presume competence". Rather than beginning from a deficit, let's begin by asking "What can they do?" and "What support do they need to be successful?" Presuming competence isn't naive, it's optimistic. Taking an "abilities first" approach builds inclusion and benefits all students.

Inclusively Yours,


President Inclusive LN

[image: photo of Kendra Grant]

Build Your PLN with the Inclusive Learning Network Board on Twitter!

Be sure to follow or subscribe to the Inclusive Learning Network board members list on Twitter! We share a lot of great resources regarding assistive technology, UDL and special education technologies.

[image: Twitter handle icon (@ symbol)]

AT Tool Spotlight: Apple Watch

The new Apple Watch has built in accessibility features that make it a watch to consider for people with disabilities. Much like the other iOS devices, Apple has focused on including accessibility in it’s design from the start. For deaf and hard of hearing users, Apple included a “Prominent Haptic” feature that notifies the wearer of incoming calls and texts via vibrational pulses to the wrist. It also gives vibrational cues for map directions and navigation. For visually impaired users voice over, speech to text, color contrast, zoom and large font are all available on the Apple Watch. And because the watch synchs with your iPhone, you can control the face setup and accessibility features from the larger iPhone screen.

[image: photo of an Apple Watch]

UDL Tool Spotlight: Actively Learn

Actively Learn is a new freemium service that allows educators and students to customize the reading environment to help all students learn from informational text. Teachers can add polls and chats, embed videos, chuck reading passages, and guide comprehension through well placed questions and modeled prompts. Students can use the built in text-to-speech and dictionary, share notes, contribute to discussions, annotate text and export their notes to Google Drive. Use the text provided or upload your own informational text. All of these supports are built into an easy to use platform in which teachers can set up their class, enroll students, assign text and monitor progress.

[image: Actively Learn logo]

Guest Blog Post - Luis Pérez - 7 Apple Watch Apps for Diverse Learners

Over on my YouTube Channel, I have posted a few video tutorials focusing on the built-in accessibility features of Apple Watch. I also discuss these accessibility features in more detail in my recently updated book on low vision supports for Apple users, Zoom In (available as a free download on the iBookstore). VoiceOver, Zoom and many of the accessibility features familiar to users of iOS devices are included in Apple Watch. These accessibility features ensure users with a variety of special needs can personalize and use their Apple wearables...

To read more go to The Website of Luis Pérez

Inclusive Learning Thought Leader Spotlight: Sharon Plante

If you tune into the #spedchat: Learning Differently podcast, you hear the voice of host Sharon Plante (@iplante), a classroom teacher and Director of Technology at Eagle Hill School in Southport, CT, an independent school for students with language-based learning disabilities. Sharon is also the co-founder of the popular #edtechchat, a weekly Twitter chat and podcast series on the use of technology in education. In the Learning Differently podcast, Sharon discusses practical tools, tips, and strategies that teachers can use to support students with varying learning needs. Each show is about 10 minutes long, and listening to the podcasts is a convenient way for educators to incorporate some targeted professional development that is enjoyable and mobile. In the episode Evaluating Chromebooks as an Assistive Device, for instance, Sharon spoke with Assistive Technology consultant and trainer Mike Marotta (@mmatp). One of the key takeaways from this episode was that when students learn how to use Chromebooks, they can essentially access cloud-based supportive tools from any device and are no longer tied to just a single piece of hardware.

[image: photo of Sharon Plante]

Latest News in Inclusive Learning

US DOT Officially Requires Closed Captioning on Airport TVs
The US Department of Transportation is requiring that televisions in airports have closed captioning turned on at all times. Not only does this increase accessibility for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, but has the potential to be better for all travelers.

Awesome Family Creates Incredible Halloween Costumes for Children in Wheelchairs

Visit the Magic Wheelchair website to see more epic Halloween costumes!

What Our Kids Are Learning When Adults Aren’t Inclusive

Read David Perry's heartfelt essay on what it means to truly walk the inclusive walk.

[image: photo of a child in a Magic Wheelchair dragon slayer Halloween costume]

UDL-IRN Website

Want to learn more about UDL? The UDL-IRN website focuses on UDL research and implementation.
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[image: UDL Instructional Planning process infographic. Steps include: set clear outcomes, anticipate learner variability, plan what & how to measure learning, sequence learning events, checkpoints for reflection & understanding, and review and revise planning. Proactive Backward Design is at the bottom of the list of steps. Source: Instructional Planning Process on the UDL-IRN website.]

Register for the Assistive Technology Conference of New England

The Assistive Technology Conference of New England features state-of-the-art workshops, information and exhibits on the technologies that enhance and change the lives of persons with disabilities of all ages. Register today!

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]