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AIMing for Accessible Curriculum: Notes from the June 8th webinar

June 9th, 2011 2 comments
Student wearing headphones

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This webinar offered an introduction to Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM), a complex but necessary component of any curriculum. It is the first in a series of Maine AIM webinars that will continue in the fall. The objectives were that participants will understand the:

  • Barriers presented by standard print materials to some students
  • Definition of AIM
  • Relevant legislation
  • Steps to successful AIM implementation
  • Sources for more information

For the sake of simplicity, the focus of this first webinar was the common inaccessibility of standard print materials to some students. It’s important to recognize, however, that materials in electronic format can also present barriers (e.g., PDFs, podcasts, video, web sites, even word processed documents). Steps to making such media accessible for all learners will be the topic of future webinars in this series.

At the beginning of the webinar, we brainstormed and discussed the abilities needed to learn from standard print materials (this same conversation applies to electronic media). We then transitioned into the reality of copyright restrictions that interfere with our ability to convert many standard print books to other formats, such as digital text or audio. So we delved into the history of copyright exemption to come to the current-day Chafee Amendment, which is the foundation of the right to convert copyrighted material to specialized formats for students with print disabilities, such as specific learning disabilities, blindness or low vision, or physical disabilities. That’s AIM: “Specialized formats of curricular content that can be used by and with learners who are unable to read or use standard print materials.” Specialized formats are defined as:

  • Braille
  • Audio
  • Large print
  • Digital text

AIM is a legal mandate. A provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004), it requires schools to provide textbooks and related print materials in specialized formats to students with print disabilities — in a timely manner. In Maine, “timely manner” is defined as “at the same time as their peers.” Read more…

2011 MLTI Student Conference

June 6th, 2011 No comments

The 8th Annual MLTI Conference was a great success! Over 1000 participants converged on the UMaine’s Orono campus for a day devoted to inspiration and information. Highlights of the day included four powerful student voices in Block 1 – Joe Lien of Poland High School, Hannah Potter of Yarmouth High School, Chris Jones of Oak Hill High School, and Mike Rodway of Telstar Middle School. These student presenters held the attention of Commissioner of Education Steven Bowen and the 1000+ conference attendees as they made clear what can be done when the potential of the MLTI is fully leveraged. Don’t be surprised if you hear from these four – they have compelling stories to tell, and know how to get a message across. Visit the Student Conference Webpage and click into Block 1 and follow links for each to learn more about these amazing young Mainers, and visit other parts of the conference web site to learn more about this incredible event.

Maine DOE Newsroom

Mark your calendars! The date has been set for next year, the 9th Annual MLTI Student Conference Thursday May 24, 2012

 

An Introduction to Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) for All Maine Learners (June 8, 2011 at 3:15pm)

June 1st, 2011 No comments

Image of the Maine AIM project logoThis MLTI – Maine CITE joint webinar will introduce participants to accessible instructional materials (AIM), which enable students with print disabilities to access curricular materials in specialized formats, including digital text, audio, large print, and braille. This is important information for all educators who teach students with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and blindness. Topics include barriers presented by standard print materials, relevant legislation, and steps to successful AIM implementation in schools.

Please join us on June 8th at 3:15. To register for this webinar, select the Webcasts tab at the top of the http://maine121.org page and select the time to be directed to online registration.

April 27th – Myths, Legends, and Facts About Speech Recognition Software: A Demonstration and Discussion of Dragon Dictate

April 15th, 2011 8 comments

Speech recognition software converts spoken words to text and has been increasingly used in educational settings by students with varied needs and preferences. But what makes speech recognition a good match for a student? What are the situations and conditions under which students experience the most success? Join us as Ryan DeLone of Nuance Communications (http://www.nuance.com/) demonstrates, discusses, and answers questions about Dragon Speech Recognition.

Please join us on Wednesday, April 27th, at 3:15 PM. To register, click on the Webcasts tab at the top of this page and navigate to the calendar. This webinar will be recorded and archived.

 

Notes about the Maine Starter Program

March 31st, 2011 No comments

Thanks to our presenters from Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) for giving us a tour of their service, as well as outlining the details of the Maine Starter Program. This service will improve access to human-narrated audio books, including textbooks, for Maine students with print disabilities. The program includes:

  • A full access landing page for Maine
  • One level 3 membership for the state, which includes 100 books
  • 25 licenses for RFB&D ReadHear for Mac by gh
  • 5 training webinars
  • 1 professional development webinar

Please be sure to watch the recording to learn the details of the program (should be available sometime on 3/31). Contacts for more information include Jenn Dougherty (jdougherty@rfbd.org) and Jayme Cagliuso (jcagliuso@rfbd.org). Jenn and Jayme welcome feedback on the program and how to support the unique needs of your school.

The Maine Starter Program (March 30, 2011 at 3:15pm)

March 28th, 2011 2 comments

Students in your school who have difficulty reading print materials may qualify for a program being offered to Maine schools by Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D). RFB&D is a national organization that serves people with learning disabilities and visual impairments by providing audiobooks, including textbooks and literature titles. RFB&D is offering a one-year program at no cost to Maine. In an effort to increase awareness of RFB&D programs and materials for K-12 students who have print disabilities, Maine will receive 100 audiobooks and 25 ReadHear Mac Software licenses good for one year. RFB&D also developed a full access web page for Maine schools and will offer 5 webinar-based trainings during 2011 and 2012.

On March 30, 2011 at 3:15 PM, Jenn Dougherty and Jayme Cagliuso will be facilitating a webinar to introduce the program, explain to use the web site and how students with print disabilities in your school can benefit from RFB&D’s audiobooks with playback equipment and software programs, including iPad/iPod Touch and iPhone applications.

Please join Jenn Dougherty and Jayme Cagliuso (from Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) on March 30, at 3:15. To register for this webinar or view our calendar, select the Webcasts tab at the top of the Maine121.org page and register for the time desired (clicking on the time will direct you to online registration).

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Going Multimodal: Notes from the March 17 Webinar

March 18th, 2011 No comments

Concept map of North American trees - ConiferousMany thanks to the good folks who came out for yesterday’s webinar, “Multimodal Strategies for Communication & Expression.” Ann Marie and I appreciated the contributions made, which I’ve incorporated into our notes below.

The content of the webinar was based on a 2008 white paper that was commissioned by Cisco and written by the Metiri Group, titled Multimodal Learning through Media: What the Research Says. I liked this report when it was published and decided to resurrect it as the subject of a webinar because, at just 24 pages (including appendices), it’s a bite size synthesis of the research behind multimodal learning and how it can inform the use of multimedia for instruction. The framework of the paper centers on three key aspects of multimodal learning:

  • The physical functioning of the brain (neuroscience)
  • The implications for learning (cognitive science)
  • What the above means for the use of multimedia

So, we set out to define multimodal learning, to summarize the research behind it and, most enjoyably, demonstrate and provide examples of how it can be accomplished through multimedia applications on the MLTI MacBooks. Read more…

The Maine Starter Program

March 16th, 2011 2 comments

Students in your school who have difficulty reading print materials may qualify for a program being offered to Maine schools by Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D). RFB&D is a national organization that serves people with learning disabilities and visual impairments by providing audiobooks, including textbooks and literature titles. RFB&D is offering a one-year program at no cost to Maine. In an effort to increase awareness of RFB&D programs and materials for K-12 students who have print disabilities, Maine will receive 100 audiobooks and 25 ReadHear Mac Software licenses good for one year. RFB&D also developed a full access web page for Maine schools and will offer 5 webinar-based trainings during 2011 and 2012.

On March 30, 2011 at 3:15 PM Jenn Dougherty and Jayme Cagliuso will be doing a webinar to introduce the program, explain to use the web site and how students with print disabilities in your school can benefit from RFB&D’s audiobooks with playback equipment and software programs, including iPad/iPod Touch and iPhone applications.

Please join Jenn Dougherty and Jayme Caglius (from Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) on March 30, at 3:15.  To register for this webinar, select the Webcasts tab at the top of the http://maine121.org page and select the time to be directed to online registration.

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March 17 Webinar: Multimodal Strategies for Communication and Expression

March 14th, 2011 No comments
Cartoon image of left brain-right brain concept

Image by vaXzine, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license

Multimodal strategies can be used by teachers and students alike to convey information, ideas, and concepts, as well as to express knowledge and understanding. Because each individual student effectively responds to unique inputs, such as text, audio, and visual (among others), combinations are essential to successful teaching and learning experiences.  In this webinar, we’ll review the research behind the need for multiple modes (multimodal) learning, as well as examine applications on the MLTI MacBooks that support related strategies. Comic Life, Freemind, GarageBand, iPhoto, OmniGraffle, and Photo Booth will be featured.

Please join Cynthia Curry and Ann Marie Quirion Hutton on Thursday, March 17, at 3:15 or 7:15 PM. To register, click on the Webcasts tab at the top of this page and navigate to the calendar of webinars.

 

January 27 Webinar: Responding to Students of Diverse Cultures

January 21st, 2011 No comments

As schools across Maine welcome increasing populations of students from other countries, educators need to be prepared to respond to their cultural and linguistic differences. For many students who are newcomers to the U.S. and learning the English language, or whose home cultures vary from the majority of  their peers, challenges to learning can be unique and isolating. At the same time, we have a responsibility to ensure that students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds are making progress in meeting standards of the curriculum.

This webinar will introduce participants to the intricacies of teaching students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in general education classrooms. We will be joined in conversation by Maureen Fox and Tom Talarico, both teachers of English Language Learners in the Portland Public Schools. They will share their knowledge and expertise, drawing on personal experience, to provide a background and understanding of the issues facing English Language Learners in our classrooms. We will also look at how technology, specifically applications on the MLTI devices, can be used to support multilingual and multicultural learners.

The webinar presenters will be Jim Wells and Cynthia Curry.

Image from the Kentucky County Day School on Flickr, used with an Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license.