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Resources for Summer Staff Development

Many districts schedule staff development during summer vacation. Some teachers use the time independently for continuing education.  A good topic for this summer is accessible instructional materials (AIM) as these materials are rapidly finding their way into schools and classrooms.  Further, IDEA 2004 calls for use of AIM when indicated by a student’s learning style and IEP.

Accessible books from Bookshare for qualified students are a great way to start bringing AIM into your classrooms, and good tools and resources exist to help you get started:

1. There’s a wealth of information on Bookshare’s site and Training page.

2. A new online learning module called “Bookshare: Providing Accessible Materials for Students with Print Disabilities” guides you through digital accessible books and how to use them. This module was developed by the IRIS Center for Training Enhancements housed at Vanderbilt University for pre-service and in-service teacher training. It also has tremendous value for anyone unfamiliar with accessible books.

3. For a hands-on, leader-led approach, Bookshare offers on-site professional development workshops on “Aligning Assistive Reading Tools to the Needs of the Student” or “Bookshare in Depth.”    These fee-based workshops are highly interactive and offer hands-on practice and reinforcement.

The first, “Aligning Assistive Reading Tools,” will give your teachers a thorough grounding in the use of AIM for students with disabilities, and the second, “Bookshare in Depth,” will equip your teachers to use the free Bookshare library of accessible books for students with print disabilities.

These on-site workshops conclude with the development of action plans, so right away, teachers put into practice the content learned.

A principal from one of the workshops said, “The workshop sessions were wonderful.  I was able to participate along with my staff.  My teachers are excited about using this technology.”

With over 95,000 qualified students using Bookshare’s accessible books and textbooks and reporting that it is easier to keep up with their schoolwork, is this summer the time to learn about Bookshare and AIM? Any of these resources will help you get started.

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