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Assistive Technology Tools and Resources for WCSU Educators

Last summer I had the opportunity to sign up for an online course called “Spreading the Word about Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning: Tools and Strategies for ALL students.” The Education Cooperative (TEC) and The Reading Institute (TRI) provided two blended thirty-hour professional development courses in Eastern and Western Massachusetts to help educators explore their own use of technology and use technology more effectively in the classroom. The course included 2.5 face-to-face days and monthly online sessions and it was facilitated by two professional instructors, Jennifer Edge-Savage and Mike Marotta.

I took the opportunity to take this class with the sponsorship of the Windham Central Supervisory Union and Special Education Department. In this course, we have been studying and exploring different teaching strategies for Assistive Technology (AT) and Universal Design for Learning as well as assisting and peer-to-peer collaboration on many individual and group projects for our school districts.

As part of my coursework, I asked several of Leland and Gray and WCSU teachers to fill out some evaluation forms for assistive technology needs and projects on specific students. I would like to thank all who assisted me, but more specifically I thank Bruce Rosow, Joyce Meehl, Eleanor Kearney, Michele Monks-Manton and Kevin Burke, for their help and collaboration.

In the past year, in addition to my IT job at Leland and Gray Union Middle and High School, I have been an Assistive Tech for our Special Education program. In my role as an Assistive Tech, I have been administering the Bookshare account, setting up computers, projectors, and printers, assisting and overseeing the Presence Learning program, and helping with SBAC testing.

This week marks the end of my course. I have created an informational and live PREZI Presentation for all educators to use for their classrooms in the future. Please feel free to ask questions and contact me if you would like to implement any or all of the resources I have put together.

Thank you, and best of luck!

Sincerely yours,

Asadullah Akhlaqi

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