February 2016 Newsletter
ISTE Inclusive Learning Network
Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!
And Family Day in Canada and President's Day in the US!
I've just ordered Todd Rose's new book The End of Average. I usually purchase my books as an ebook, PDF or as an audio file. Books I know I will reread, highlight and scribble ideas in, I purchase as a paper copy. This doesn't happen very often -- Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age, Understanding by Design and Professional Learning to Reshape Teaching are some of the "pivotal" books I have in hardcopy -- and now I'm sure I'll add The End of Average. Those of us who advocate for inclusion know that average just doesn't work. I can't wait to read, and then reread with a highlighter and pen in hand. :)
If you are an administrator (or hoping to be one) looking to learn more about Universal Design for Learning and how you can implement it in your setting, please join Mindy Johnson for an informative webinar on Tuesday, February 17th at 7 pm EST. Mindy's expertise, unique insights and engaging style always make for a worthwhile session. We hope you'll join us and share your thoughts and questions.
President, Inclusive Learning Network
[image: Photo of Kendra Grant]
Build Your #A11y PLN!
[image to the left: Twitter icon]
Did you know? There are 11 letters in the word "accessibility" between the A and the Y. That's why the official hashtag for accessibility topics is #a11y!
Follow these fantastic folks for resources on accessibility, accessible materials, and accessible technologies:
- AEM Center at CAST
- 3Play Media
- Luis Perez
- Greg Alchin
- Google Accessibility
- WGBH NCAM & MAG
- W3C Web Accessibility Initiative
- Twitter A11y Team
And follow these hashtags for even more accessibility resources:
Spotlight: AT Skills Inventory
The Assistive Technology Skills Inventory, developed by Alt+Shift of Michigan, helps educators and administrators understand the scope of knowledge that each profession has and can contribute to the consideration of a student’s assistive technology needs. Assistive technology is too broad to expect any single individual to have all the answers. The key to good coordination is to identify who can contribute what knowledge and skills to the process. The skills inventory guides the user toward identifying what skills and knowledge each profession can contribute to the Assistive Technology consideration conversation.
The skills inventory also has a self-assessment component that allows each professional to rate their proficiency level as it relates to each skill, helping district leaders identify who would be most beneficial to involve in the process and to identify the needs for professional development.
[image below: Screenshot of the AT Skills Inventory]
Thought Leader Spotlight: Melody Musgrove
Advocacy is an important part of ISTE Inclusive Learning Network and this month’s spotlight is on Dr. Melody Musgrove. In December 2015, Dr. Musgrove concluded a more than 5-year tenure as the Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in Washington, DC. Prior to her role at OSEP, Dr. Musgrove’s involvement in education included working as a classroom teacher, school administrator, assistant superintendent, and state director of special education in Mississippi. Her passion for students with special needs is evident in her substantial efforts to promote inclusion and inclusive educational practices that support learning for students with exceptionalities. In her leadership roles, Dr. Musgrove has consistently advocated for funding and educational policy efforts that support inclusive technologies and inclusive learning environments for students across the country. Though she is no longer in her role with OSEP, she remains a valued advocate for students with disabilities and inclusion. You can follow her on Twitter @MelodyMusgrove
Opportunities to Show Off Your Great Work!
Proposals Due: February 19, 2016
Institute: Traverse City, MI | June 20-23
Alt+Shift recognizes that solutions for every student come from every discipline. Rethink Possibilities seeks proposals from special and general educators that explore ways that every educator and service provider can be part of the solution.
Building UDL Community and Practice around Engagement
Proposals Due: March 1, 2016
Symposium: Cambridge, MA | August 8-10
What does student engagement look like? How does it impact learning? How can educators use the UDL Guidelines to design learning experiences that engage all learners in high-level content goals? What design or research are you doing around UDL and engagement? Add your voice to the conversation, and find out more about the Symposium on the CAST Professional Learning website.
Do This, Not That!
Latest News in Inclusive Learning
[image to the right: Book cover of The End of Average by Todd Rose]
Recently, the U.S. Department of Education released the 2016 National Education Technology Plan (NETP). The NETP highlights issues for education policy stakeholders. The plan makes a number of recommendations, including implementing education technology principles of Universal Design for Learning, training educators to be technologically literate, and supporting the development of open teaching tools.
In this post on the Brookes Publishing blog as part of their Fair Is Not Always Equal…Now What? blog series, Beth Foraker from the National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion answers questions and provides some very personal anecdotes on the power of inclusion for all. Hint: It doesn't just benefit the students who are included!
On the CEA blog, Stephen Hurley talks about Todd Rose's new book, The End of Average, and how the revolutionary insights presented in the book can be applied to education and our educational institutions.