Webinars for Teachers
Background on Webinars for Teachers
The Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities conducts annual nationwide surveys with various groups, including teachers, administrators, students and parents. In order to get surveys from each state, teachers from every state have volunteered to distribute the surveys to appropriate persons. As one way to express our appreciation to these teachers, we are providing live webinars on topics in which they are interested. These webinars will be archived and available on the Center’s website.
Our first of four webinars for teachers this year was presented by Dr. Sean Smith on ‘Social Skills and Apps for Students with Disabilities’. He described a plethora of tech tools, including many free or low- cost apps, which can be used with any student, but particularly with students with disabilities, to teach social skills. Many of the tools incorporate content areas such as English language arts.
On our second webinar for teachers this year we were fortunate to have two of our own Survey Facilitators, Tabitha Pacheco and Heather Goodwin, present on using the computer to adapt instruction. Our guest, Dr. Dan Pollitt, presented on ‘The Ins and Outs of iPads and iBooks for Students with Disabilities’. He discussed the background of traditional textbooks being poorly designed for certain populations who must spend much of their cognitive resources on finding information, leaving little for leaning the content. Dr. Pollitt found, among other things, that students’ comprehension on expository text was higher on an iBook than on traditional text and students appeared to feel more comfortable and relaxed using iBooks. He provides a number of interesting resources and ideas for the classroom.
During our third of four webinars for teachers this year our own Survey Facilitators, Tracy Parent and her colleage Venetia Vaselopulos, from Illinois presented on collaboration in online learning using Edmodo and Schoology. Then Skip Stahl of CAST presented on “Universal Design for Learning in Online Learning for Students with Disabilities”. He discussed some of the accessibility work that the Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities has been doing over the past two years; gave a mini-description of what UDL is; and used vignettes to describe how UDL could be used to support two disparate types of students. Skip provided some great tools and memorable examples how we can address student learning variability in our online classrooms.
The Center on Online Learning’s fourth and final webinar for the 2013-14 school year was presented by our very own Dr. Jamie Basham. He presented on “Tech and Apps to Address STEM in Online Learning for Students with Disabilities.” He described how Universal Design for Learning applied to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), can help teachers (and students) become “learning engineers.” He described the UDL instruction planning process and provided some great potential tools to use including iTunesU, iBooks, MyScript Calculator, Videolicious, and many other resources. Jamie left the audience with lots of tools, ideas, and directions to explore to move their STEM instruction forward.