Accessibility for Equity

Disability Awareness Month

Did you know that October is Disability Awareness Month? This month's newsletter provides accessibility resources. If you want to learn more about these resources and how you might leverage them for your own classroom, connect with the IDS Innovation Team.

IDS Innovation Email:

💻 Accessibility Ideas 💡

Google Slides Closed Captioning

The What:

Google is releasing the ability for you to present with captioning in Google Slides. You can check out their blog post about it here.

In a Nutshell:

You put your presentation into present mode. You will see a "CC" icon in the bottom left on the toolbar. Providing you are using a device with a microphone, once the "CC" is clicked, it will start captioning your words as you speak.

Note: This is gradually being made available to Google End Users. At the time of writing this, the captioning feature was not yet available in the Iowa City Google Domain.

Read and Write for Google

The What:

Read&Write for Google Chrome is an extension that makes the web, Google Docs and files more accessible for everyone. Check out this short video tutorial for an overview of its capabilities. The premium version has already been pushed out to students. Teachers should check out this post by Adam Kurth about teachers getting premium access.

Note: Google Read & Write now checks spelling! Read about it here.

Flipgrid Immersive Reader

The What:

Flipgrid was recently acquired by Microsoft. This partnership has allowed Microsoft's Immersive Reader to be integrated with Flipgrid. You can read more about it here.

In a Nutshell:

Students will be able to do the following with Immersive Reader:

  • Read text aloud
  • Change text size, font, spacing and color
  • Highlight parts of speech
  • Break words into syllables
  • Provide line focus
  • Improve word understanding with picture dictionary


The What:

Creatability is a set of experiments made in collaboration with creators and allies in the accessibility community. They explore how creative tools – drawing, music, and more – can be made more accessible using web and AI technology.

In a Nutshell:

Check out the experiments that students can control using their faces and/or bodies.

Newsela, TweenTribune, Wonderopolis

The What:

Wonderopolis--> Is a fun-filled destination that provides a fascinating outlet for curious kids of all ages. Learning, discovery, and curiosity, as well as the concept of sharing the experience with family members, are strongly encouraged throughout.

TweenTribune--> An online newspaper for kids, aged 8–15. It is updated daily with stories from the Associated Press that are chosen based on relevancy to pre-adolescents.

Newsela--> Is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme, stories are both student-friendly and can be accessed in different formats by reading level.

In a Nutshell:

All three of the resources provide scaffolds for readers of all skill levels. From reading the text aloud to changing the complexity of the text, students have many options to tailor the passages to their needs.

💻 ITEC Conference Des Moines 🏫

Some of your colleagues were able to attend this year's conference. Below is a summary of their big takeaways.

Virtual and Augmented Realities

Virtual (VR) and Augmented (AR) realities are becoming hot topics in education. Teachers and students can not only immerse themselves in virtual realities, they can also start creating their very own with some free and easy to use tools such as CoSpaces EDU and Google Tour Creator.

Here are a couple presentations over VR from ITEC:

Create Your Own VR Adventure

VR - Consumer to Creator

Did you know that ICCSD has their own Virtual Reality Kit that can be checked out? Check in with your librarian for more information. They will be given the resources for check out on Nov. 1st.

Building Rapport

What are some of your strategies for building rapport with your students?

The keynote, Rushton Hurley, shared how powerful a simple phone call home or even attending a students extracurricular event can be on building relationships with students.

👇 Reminder Below 👇


The district is using Clever for a single sign on tool. It is predominately for elementary students. Make sure to check out this Clever Website with all the important information you will need to integrate Clever with your students.

Clever Website-->

📱 Stay Connected 💻

Innovative Sparks

Love the monthly newsletter, but wish you had more frequent information? Each week the Innovation Team has been curating trending ideas worth trying. You can see some previous shares below. Want to see them immediately? Connect with the team on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Remind to get the latest Innovative Sparks.

Innovative Sparks 10/9-10/12

Innovative Sparks 10/15-10/19

Innovative Sparks 10/22-10/26

Remind Group

Want to receive some periodic messages about new and innovative ideas? Consider joining our IDS Innovation Remind Group.

Directions to Join

Simply text @idsinn to the number 81010

👇 IDS Innovation Team 👇

Instructional Design Strategists Tech & Innovation

Interested in learning more about something you saw here? Want to find new ways to engage students? Contact your IDS Innovation team!
Miss a previous newsletter? Find it here!