30 September 2013

Assistive Technology team's Fall P.D. Offerings

Fall into A.T.!

This fall a block of 80 curriculum and software training sessions are offered by the A.T. team.
"After attending an introductory session to learn about "OneNote", I am truly inspired by the opportunities that his program can provide to Special Education Students, to enhance their learning. Assistive Technology, Smart Ideas, Read and Write Gold 10, Adobe Pro and Student Share have become an integral part of 21st Century Learning in my classroom and we can now add 'OneNote' to our learning toolbox. My students can throw away their binders and use their digital devices to access and organize information. Eventually, we may be able to move forward to a 'paperless classroom'.
- Miriam TaylorTecumseh Senior Public School, 7/8 Behaviour ISP

In software training, three new workshops and popular S.E.A. & O.S.A.P.A.C. (Ontario Software Acquisition Program  Advisory Council) Ministry-licensed software session are back for TDSB staff to learn assistive technology this fall. Among the new courses involves Microsoft OneNote - a digital binder programme that helps the user organize material (documents, images, and recordings) all in one place. 
The other new courses are concentrated on the peripherals used with the Promethean Interactive whiteboard - ActiView document camera and the ActivExpressions (Learner Response Systems).
Sessions fill up quickly so don't forget to sign up on Key to Learn.

 Key to Learn: http://zweblms/users/index.aspx 

Read more about some of the Fall software sessions below:

Curriculum P.D.

For more experienced users of assistive technology software such as Read and Write Gold and Promethean ActiveInspire, the A.T. team also has a number of curriculum or exceptionality linked sessions. Increasing Student Engagement and Differentiating Instruction in your Literacy Program, Making Math Mathemagical: Using the Interactive Whiteboard to differentiate Instruction and Support Student Learning in Your Math Program, and Using the Read and Write Gold Picture Dictionary Tool to Create Visual Supports for Student Learning are new, among the many curriculum PD sessions offered.

The TDSB A.T. training centres can be found on the interactive maps below:

View Larger Map

View Larger Map
Terraview Learning Centre, 1641 Pharmacy Ave.
Burnhamthorpe Adult Learning Centre, 500 The East Mall (West)

26 September 2013

Job Embedded Professional Learning with the A.T. team

The Assistive Technology Team is a coordinated, multidisciplinary team supporting the needs of schools with assistive technology.

Part of our role is to provide Job Embedded Professional Learning to incorporate assistive technology into teaching and learning activities in special education classrooms and to build capacity among in-school staff to share excellent practices.  A basic knowledge of the software program(s) is needed, as software training is not part of the individual classroom support.

We are pleased to offer individual classroom support which focuses on co-planning and co-teaching. The special education teacher and itinerant resource teacher collaborate in the planning and teaching of a lesson(s) to differentiate learning through the use of assistive technology such as Read and Write Gold, Clicker 5, SMART Ideas, SMART Notebook, and ActivInspire for Promethean Boards.

This is a wonderful opportunity to gain first-hand experience using assistive technology in your classroom in an authentic and meaningful way for you and your students.

The Itinerant Teacher Referral can be accessed on the Forms page of the SEA website. 


Check out a past post about a referral at Muirhead P.S. (Click on the image.)

23 September 2013

Read and Write Gold lesson ideas

Click on the pictures on the right hand side in chart below to link to lesson activities using Read and Write Gold and Ontario curriculum.

Read & Write Gold tools
and their Curriculum connections

Grade 1 
Canada & World Connections:
The Local Community

Grade 2 
Canada & World Connections:
Features of Communities
Around the World

Grade 3
Heritage & Citizenship:
Pioneer Life

Grade 4-6
Persuasive Writing: Speech Arts

Grade 6 
Writing &
Physical and Health Education


Grade 6
EQAO example:
Supporting an Answer with Details
from the text 

Grade 7
Conveying a poem's tone
and message using visuals

Grade 7-8
Point of View: Podcasting/Video

Grade 9 
Human-Environment Interactions

Grade 10 
Biology-Ecosystem and Change 

If you are logged in to the TDSB's internal site on your electronic device, you can use your QR code reader to go to the Assistive Technology team's Read and Write Gold resource page.

19 September 2013

So, you inherited a whiteboard, now what? project overview

The Inherited an Interactive Whiteboard project

We are happy to announce that once again we are running our Inherited and Interactive Whiteboard learning community!

These sessions  are designed to support Special Education teachers whose classrooms have an interactive whiteboard. The goal of this project is to share strategies and features of the interactive whiteboard (IWB) to support special education students and to create networking opportunities among special education teachers. 

The learning community runs from November to April with four sessions on:  Getting Started with your board, Visual Literacy Strategies, Student Engagement and Multimedia and Mathematics.  There is also job-embedded professional development provided for these teachers through co-planning and co-teaching opportunities.

If you are interested, go to DirectLine http://tdsbweb/directline/ for September 9 to download the proposal form.  All proposals need to be submitted by Friday, September 20th.

Mackie P.S. Inherited IWB in-class session report

Read last year's blog post report about an Inherited IWB Learning Community teacher's in-class session held at Mackie P.S. last May. Click on the photo to get to our archived story.

Margot McFarlane (teacher) showing her student how to use the
Ladibug Document Camera to capture an image.

12 September 2013

Latest OneNote project launch & Connect with the A.T. team!

OneNote project launch - follow us through Facebook

Check out our new site!!!
It's the new home of the Toronto District School Board's Assistive Technology department's OneNote pilot project. Get updates on project progress, tips on how to make the most of your OneNote application and share your thoughts with other users!

How else can you connect to TDSB A.T. team?

You have many different ways that you can keep up to the activities of the busy TDSB's Assistive Technology team!

You are already reading this blog - a great way to access profiles, project summaries and get a weekly snap-shot of what Assistive Technology actions are occurring around the TDSB. Entries may include photos at our latest curriculum professional development or Learning Community sessions at Terraview Learning Centre (East) or Burnhamthorpe Adult Learning Centre (West) or school-based in-class observation classrooms to name a few. We profile teachers and teaching networks through photos, sound and text as well as share resources with you.
Don't forget to look around at our archives too. Try clicking on our label cloud (top left of this page). We've tagged our blog entries and have be building our archives for the past four years.

     Want to see a tutorial of how specific software tools help to accommodate Special Education students? Our YouTube channel is for you! We continue to    add our "tech tip tutorials" lauched in early Spring of this year. Each tech tip  connects software tools to a specific exceptionality. It's a great multimedia way  to build your A.T. toolbox. Just click on the icon to the left of this blurb.

We continue to build community on our Facebook page as a professional learning network. Have you liked us? Click on the image to the left. 

See who else is connecting with the TDSB's Assistive Technology team.

On Twitter, the A.T. team has quite a few tweeps and hashtags that we follow. If you're a veteran or new to the twitterverse, follow us @AssistTech. Our posts often with hashtag #tdsb #AT #sped if you're new to following hashtags - a powerful tool to keep track of similar content and conversations that are of interest to you.

The S.E.A.side News newsletter is published three times a year. It provides an overall picture on the team's accomplishments and activities during the year. Don't miss out on getting the latest copy fresh "off the presses". You can subscribe to the newsletter by clicking on the image on the left, which takes you to the subscription page. We won't be using your e-mail address to spam any information - just provide you with your copy of the newsletter three times a year.

If you want an in-depth overall explanation of our A.T. team also check our our A.T. magazine "A.T. Today." The Spring 2013 A.T. Today is a digitally interactive magazine thanks to the Flippingbook program it was created in. You can access the A.T. Today at the top right corner of this blog main page. 

Click on the image and you can resize the page, zoom in, explore by scrolling left to right, top to bottom or just download a copy of the magazine to enjoy offline as well.

Now, whether you attend one of our Read and Write Gold training sessions, submit an individual referral for Job Embedded Professional Learning with one of our itinerant teachers, or are an interested educator or parent outside the TDSB, keep in touch with the A.T. team by connecting with us on the social media vehicle of your choice! 

TDSB staff: Remember you can access resources, timelines and sign-up for Key to Learn training via our Board's internal web site. (Key to Learn: http://zweblms/users/index.aspx)

Read and Write Gold
Our A.T. public web site is currently under construction. Still, our Read and Write Gold information and resources are available at the links below:

Spec ED – Read Write Gold Home Use

5 September 2013

Assistive technology team gears up for another year - it's September!

Another school year has begun and the Assistive Technology team is busy. The differentiated professional learning tasks they are fervently preparing include curriculum, Learning Community and technical software files and workshops to support special education staff at the Toronto District School Board.

The following blog entry is a snapshot example of what a Learning Community member experiences during one of the in-class sessions at Terraview Learning Centre (East) or Burnhamthorpe Adult Learning Centre (West). While the four 2013-2014 Learning Community sessions are limited to teachers, whose programmes received the Special Education Amount (S.E.A.) Interactive Whiteboard  group claim this year, the Learn 360 website highlighted in this entry, is one of a number of digital resources that can be found on the TDSB's Virtual Library.

Supporting Teachers through Multi-Media 

Teachers at the second Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) Learning Community (LC) session last year were very excited to learn about and receive an ActiView Document Camera. They explored how to show live displays of various materials, from literature to 3D objects. Then from these images they created higher level thinking questions to scaffold their students learning. Along with this, they also discovered how to use the ActiView to make videos. They practiced using video to model things such as: task completion, self-regulation strategies, introducing new concepts, etc., as well as to use video to capture student learning. Finally, they were taught how to insert video, both their own and videos acquired from www.learn360.ca, into their lessons.
Learn360 is a ministry licensed multi-media educational site that “supports the learning and interests of students within a wide range of ages and grades. “ On this site, they have over ”63 000 media resources from trusted educational publishers and producers, which will ENGAGE your students, ENRICH their learning experiences and drive them to EXCEL both inside and outside of the classroom.”

ActiView camera
Teachers being shown the use of the document camera.

Teachers exploring the use of the ActiView Document Camera at a Learning Community Session.