In 2014, Stephanie Caceres, a Bookshare Mentor Teacher, developed an online training course for middle and high school teachers in her district to learn about Bookshare and apps like Read2Go and Go Read. “It’s not what you know, but what you are willing to learn,” says Ms. Caceres, a former special education inclusion teacher and now an assistive technology specialist for Worcester County Public Schools, Maryland.
She developed her training module with the support of her district supervisor, Rae Record, who encourages innovation and the use of technology to make sure that more students can easily access the curriculum. This initiative also encourages special education teachers to dig deep into the benefits of Bookshare. “With Read2Go and Go Read apps for tablets, Bookshare is much more accessible in the classroom,” says this AT Specialist.
Teachers who complete her eight hour course receive a stipend from the district. They appreciate the incentives their district provides to enable them to work through the course on their own time schedule and to be reimbursed.
“When Stephanie contacted us about her training module, we thought what a great idea,” says Kristina Cohen, Sr. Education Manager for Benetech. “We were impressed by her creativity and initiative. This type of professional development can make a positive impact on teacher learning. We hope more educators will consider a similar initiative.”
Stephanie’s “All About Bookshare, Read2Go and Go Read” Guide includes information and videos on:
- Bookshare 101 for beginners
- How to use Read2Go on the iPad and Go Read on Android devices
- Advanced features
Criteria to complete her course includes:
- Watching videos and instructional webinars
- Meeting with students and their parents
- Enrolling a student for Bookshare
- Sharing the resource with a peer
“Too often professional development falls to the bottom of the list for teachers who are working hard to educate our students,” adds Caceres. “It’s a time and priority issue. Our district is involved in many new initiatives to support student learning. As a special education teacher, I recognize the importance of student accessibility and having as much success as I have with Bookshare, I knew I could create an effective learning module. It’s a beneficial educational resource and a win-win for our school, our teachers, and our students.”
Since her district has widely adopted Bookshare and mobile apps, Caceres has worked closely with many teachers and students to share the benefits of Bookshare. “My supervisor is excited about the module and believes it should be doable for teachers. In the long run, we will ultimately help more students with print disabilities enjoy an improved reading experience using accessible books and on-the-go apps. This can lead to opening the world of reading for the first time.”
About the Bookshare Mentor Teacher Program
Bookshare’s Mentor Teacher program supports the world’s top teachers and assistive technology specialists. It provides training tools to engage educators, parents, and students in the effective use of Bookshare’s online accessible library and reading technologies. Over 600 educators and specialists have now joined the network and work in their local communities and schools to advocate on behalf of students with print disabilities. Bookshare Mentor Teachers also develop and share best practices with other teachers around the globe. Join us!