Model and promote strategies for achieving equitable access to digital tools and resources and technology-related best practices for all students and teachersISTE Coaching Standards (2014)
In our role of Digital Learning Coaches, equitable access to technology is always top of mind. At our district, we use Microsoft Office products exclusively. Microsoft has made it their mission to increase the accessibility features in their products. A lot of our teachers and students are not aware of these features as they are updated and innovated quite often. One of our jobs is to make sure that we are highlighting accessibility features when we are providing trainings. One of our most popular trainings that we provide is Accessiblity Tools. Teachers are amazed by the immersive reader functions, the live captioning for PowerPoint presentations, and Math Assistant in OneNote. There are so many tools available for students and teachers and it is our goal to increase awareness.
In my Community Engagement Project: Amplifying Student Voice Using Flipgrid, I emphasize how Flipgrid is a tool that can be used with students as an equitable option for communication. Not every student is able to get their thoughts out on paper or able to answer a question with moments notice. Flipgrid is a tool that all students can use to show their proficiency on any given topic.
I was working with a 3rd grade class, and noticed that a student was struggling with writing. After finding out that the student had Dysgraphia, I offered to introduce Flipgrid to the class. The student was able to feel confident in his ability to express himself and his classmates were able to see that too. Another example shared to me by a librarian that received the Fipgrid training was about a student who was selectively mute. This student was mute both at school and at home; he rarely spoke. The librarian included him in the Flipgrid activity and was in tears when she saw him engaged and talking to the camera.
Going forward, I would like to figure out a way to share the accessibility features in context with all students and families so that they are aware of them as well.