Karen Narvol

Back-to-School Resources

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Going back to school after summer break is exciting, stressful, and hectic for many teachers. Fortunately, Bookshare has some great back-to-school resources that educators can use as they begin a new school year - https://www.bookshare.org/cms/help-center/training-and-resources/back-to-school

What tips or strategies do you have for back-to-school with Bookshare in your school district? How do you plan to communicate with other educators and parents about Bookshare? What are some of your biggest challenges? How will you meet these challenges?

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I hope to offer an inservice training to the staff who will be working with my student (6th grade, low vision, integrated) who uses Bookshare (among other assistive technology tools). His parents will be invited to attend and I can send home the PDF guides from the Bookshare website. My biggest challenge is not knowing how the technology will be welcomed by each new teacher. It can be challenging for teachers to understand how to include the student if not all students are using Bookshare or AT. At this age especially, the student does not want to appear different. I will continue to provide support to teachers and offer suggestions for how they could incorporate audio supported reading into class lessons.

Edited by Lauren Coen-Iltis

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I will put a presentation for a staff meeting to explain why we chose to use Bookshare  and how it can benefit our students. In the Special Ed services office I will work with them more in depth on how to use Bookshare, as they will be the people working directly with the students utilizing Bookshare. I will put together a brochure about Bookshare and all it has to offer to send to parents of our students.  On it will have a place for them to contact me if they have any questions or would like to meet. We will need to have their signatures since most of our students are under 18 yrs old. I will meet with students and explain the features and benefits of Bookshare. I will put together a check sheet, to make sure I cover all the features and benefits for each student and have them sign it. That way we can show we went over it with that student  It is all going to take time and patience.

Lauren, I agree with you about how students don't want to appear different. Working with 11th & 12th graders and mostly boys (sorry gentlemen) in trade classes, not wanting to stand out is a big issue. We did find working with technology worked to our advantage, if students are working on a computer you can't tell if someone has an ear bud in. My students would rather do that then be taken to an alternative site to be read to.

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I have already reached out to the principal of the school that I am based out of and requested some time during the first early release day to give a quick demonstration to the teachers on the benefits of Bookshare. This school is the vision elementary school for the district and I have many great teachers who have already had a student with a visual impairment but every year we get new teachers and a reminder of what we can provide is helpful.

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I will reach out to the middle school and high school principal librarians as well as the language arts teachers where I have students by the end of the first grading period. I will ask to give out information and point the team to the videos on How to Get started. After buy in, I will set up individual accounts for my students and work on purchasing Read 2 Go on their iPad or laptop.I will also contact the area rep and the campuses Instructional Technology Specialists to work with me on a presentation.

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Hello Marcia, the vision teacher before me was instrumental in setting up the "vision" school idea as it is also the school that children with any hearing issues attend. I work in Lowell, MA and I am going into my sixth year in that district.  

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Bookshare is pleased to share some new resources that you might find helpful during Back to School Time!:

The Quick Start Guide for Organizations, https://www.bookshare.org/cms/sites/default/files/quick_start_guide_final.pdf and Quick Start Guide for Students, https://www.bookshare.org/cms/sites/default/files/quick_start_guide_for_students_august_9th_2016.pdf

 

 

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I plan to use a lot of the information from the Bookshare class to introduce teachers to Bookshare. It is always difficult to start the new school year with new teams of teachers because I'm never sure how each teacher views technology and how comfortable they are with it. Hopefully this  information will help make the ones who aren't comfortable realize the advantages to using technology.

the other difficulty is that some of my low vison students don't want any one to know they have a disability. I have a few students who refuse to use any technology. I struggle with this because taking advantage of this technology can make their life so much easier!!

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Even though there are plenty of book in accessible format in bookshare library, many teachers are not using this resource because of lack of awareness. It is extremely important to share this information to all school community. Therefore, I will talk about bookshare library in all available format including morning collaborative meeting, and formal and informal meeting. Moreover, I will prepare a presentation that cover how to search and download digital books, how to assign books to eligible members, and how to read books using adaptive product.

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Hi Ketema,

We definitely agree that awareness of Bookshare is a weakness in general, simply because far too often as we talk to teachers we always hear our favorite question "why didn't I know about this before?" Do you have any ideas for how we can better reach out to as many teachers as possible?  

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>Do you have any ideas for how we can better reach out to as many teachers as possible?

 

It's really important to get information about bookshare to people who present regularly at the kinds of conferences that ordinary teachers, who work with able-bodied students attend. Because so many pupils are now mainstreamed they may have minimal contact with a special ed teacher especially if they are working at grade level.

 

So though bookshare gets heavily promoted to special ed, any teacher should actually know about it, even when a print-impaired pupil is not on their radar.

 

Librarians who are already info junkies need to know about bookshare. When I go to a library for any purpose I always track down the reference librarian and tell them about bookshare and take them to the site. It's surprising how many never heard of it. So conferences attended by librarians are also a vital place to spread the word.

 

If bookshare hired an outreach intern who could spend a summer simply visiting every bay area library, that would be a start. I'd have loved that job when I was a high school senior! And it's a perfect job for a bvi college student who feels comfortable riding public transportation.

 

Another idea is to give volunteer credit to bookshare members on fixed income (seniors perhaps) who make a presentation about the service to a local library and can send you a confirmation from its head librarian that the presentation was actually made.

 

Lastly, I'd have a simple PdF brochure on the site that anyone can download and easily email to friends. It should be short, filled with pictures and a coupon for a free membership for a few months for anyone qualified.  

 

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Thank you Debee, these are truly great ideas.  Library outreach is one that has interested us recently and something we have begun putting more emphasis on, it will definitely be interesting to see how much traction we get across the country on that front.

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I have been working as an Itinerant Teacher for 4 years. Every year I have received a new caseload in new locations. It takes time to learn the school districts and to locate the IT people and the Special Education Supervisor. There are numerous meetings at the start of school and IT is running around troubleshooting problems. We are into week three of this school year and I have been able to track down one IT person and no Special Education Directors. Students should have access to their Bookshare on the first day of school. I travel during the summer and usually learn my caseload on the first day of work. Is their a process that allows Vi Teachers to transfer their Bookshare student account to a different sponsor?

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Hi Ken,

With Bookshare accounts all of the students are on a shared central roster for the account.  Any teacher added as a sponsor will have access to access or assign books on behalf of any of those students.  So in theory all that would need to happen is ensure the new sponsor the next year is added to the existing Bookshare account for the school or district so that they can begin assisting students on day 1.

That being said we do know each district implements Bookshare differently to match their own needs.  We have some that have one central district wide Bookshare account, and others that will actually make a new account per classroom or special education teacher.  If you're working in a district where they only allow a single sponsor or teacher per account this becomes a little more difficult, but you can always have the new incoming teacher create a new account to use with their specific caseload.  

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