• How classroom tech brings accessibility with dignity

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    What’s changed in special education and EdTech over your time in the field?

    It’s the attitude of the kids, and that’s because of the better tools we have. In the past, we had to give struggling students big, bulky laptops with accessibility tools—and they hated them because the laptops made the students look different than everyone else. Now laptops like Chromebooks are so ubiquitous; everyone has one. I love that students with disabilities can access the tools they need in a way that gives them dignity, and that doesn’t separate them from the rest of the class. Having a device in each student's hand has completely changed teaching and learning you’re seeing the value of the “accessibility for all” movement up close.

    I do a lot of training in universal design, which is about making everything more accessible. When you design things for people at the edges, everyone benefits—like how ramps help people in wheelchairs, but if you’re pushing a baby stroller, you’ll benefit too. How’d you get started in special education?

    I did my undergrad degree in psychology with grand plans to be a psychologist, but when I applied to some Ph.D. programs they told me to get some experience in the real world. My first job was working at a crisis shelter for teenage girls. Because of my work with the girls who struggled so much to learn, I took some courses in special education—and realized that was where I wanted to be.

    How’d you make the switch from special education to instructional technology?

    I’d spent the last several years working with a high Best International school in India students with an array of significant disabilities. I would try anything if I thought it could help my kids learn, so the technology office started throwing all the tech my way—everything from Chromebooks to iPads to Promethean boards—because they knew I’d give it all an honest try.

    I saw that when used with integrity, science and digital technology in school could really be a game-changer in helping kids learn. I distinctly recall a reading lesson where I recorded myself reading and shared a YouTube link, so students could pause and replay the video at their own pace.

    The timing was on my side, and when the instructional technology director position opened up at Highland Park, the thought of having a wider influence appealed to me. At the time, I was fascinated by all kinds of kids with learning challenges—not just the students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). No matter what challenges kids have, many often need some kind of special support and could benefit from the right technology.

    How’d you get began in particular schooling?

    I did my undergrad diploma in psychology with grand plans to be a psychologist, however, after I utilized some Ph.D. packages they advised me to get some expertise in the actual world. My first job was working at a disaster shelter for teenage ladies. Due to my work with the ladies who struggled a lot to be taught, I took some programs in particular schooling—and realized that was the place I needed to be.

    How’d you make the swap from particular schooling to educational know-how?

    I’d spent the final a number of years working with highschool college students with an array of serious disabilities. I’d attempt something if I assumed it might assist my youngsters to be taught, so the know-how workplace began throwing all of the tech my manner—everything from Chromebooks to iPads to Promethean boards—as a result of they knew I’d give all of it a sincere attempt.

    I noticed that when used with integrity, know-how might actually be a recreation changer in serving youngsters be taught. I distinctly recall a studying lesson the place I recorded myself studying and shared a YouTube hyperlink, so college students might pause and replay the video at their very own tempo.

    The timing was on my aspect, and when the educational know-how director place opened up at Highland Park, the considered having a wider effect appealed to me. On the time, I used to be fascinated by all types of youngsters with studying challenges—not simply the scholars with Individualized Training Packages (IEPs). It doesn’t matter what challenges youngsters have, many usually want some sort of particular assist and may gain advantage from the suitable know-how. 
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