UDL & Special Education Considerations for Continuous Learning
It's important to remember that we are all in this together, and that it's okay to feel nervous. Start small with the tried and true tools and strategies you are comfortable with and build on them slowly. Continued communication with your colleagues, students, and their families is essential to keeping everyone informed and connected.
Environment / Parent Support
- Guide parents in creating comfortable, yet structured learning environments
- Be transparent with parents; ensure they feel heard, validated, and “in the know”
- Offer regular virtual or phone-based office hours; may need to create a sign-up sheet
- Create a Facebook page or other resource site where parents can go for the latest information
- Invite parents to a Facebook Live or other live video platform to hear direct info from administrator
- Resources for Students using AAC, including communication partner training
Communication with Students & Families
The more you can communicate with students and families, the better. Keep lines of communication open and be transparent with information. We are all in this and learning together.
Backchannels for communication & questions after office hours or instruction
Translated & Interpreted Communication
- Try out Microsoft Translator at Translator.Microsoft.com or download the app (Demo videos on teacher and student use in the classroom)
- Consider turning on subtitles in Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac & PC (Video demo)
- Paid Microsoft 365 subscribers can use Present Live in PowerPoint (Demo videos of Present Live)
- When providing remote American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters or remote speech-to-text professionals through the video platform, it's necesary to test various view options and features to ensure interpreters or real-time captions are easily seen on screen, and that any other accommodations work properly.
- For interpreting services, does the platform split the screen view or pin a video in order to permanently keep the interpreter’s video feed on screen?
- For speech-to-text services, does the platform have the ability to connect and sync the real-time captions on screen?
- If the view is not conducive within the platform, are there other programs or equipment that can be considered for separately casting interpreters or captions? For example, provide an iPad to a student to cast interpreters through FaceTime, Whereby, Skype or other video software.
- Have you considered your clothing or lighting? Video conferencing etiquette recommends clothing that is not “busy” and provides ample contrast with your skin, and making sure there is enough light in the room that is sufficiently diffused to reduce or eliminate shadows.
- Provide grade level material with an appropriate level of challenge
- Ensure clear expectations and objectives paired with detailed instruction
- Offer live and/or recorded instruction
- Create materials ahead of time and be prepared
- Use expressive body language and change your tone of voice
- Try out virtual backgrounds
- Provide synchronous (live) and asynchronous (captioned & recorded/self-paced) opportunities
- Use captioned videos - live or recorded
- Clips (iOS) live captions videos and you can edit any mistake
- Provide prompt, corrective feedback
- Implement student choice
- Use Google forms or other survey tools to assess student needs and/or understanding before and after lessons
- Include student interests
- Consider how the student(s) can act as teacher
- Employ digital tools:
- Implement choice boards
- Video instruction (comparison guide of Zoom, Hangouts, & Skype)
- Loom, Screencast-o-matic, Zoom, Hangouts, Skype, Screencastify, etc. (**remember to make sure that you’re platform is included in your district’s acceptable use policy)
- Provide multiple examples Offer digital and paper versions of printed text
- Shared Google Docs, Drawings, Sheets, Slides
- Edpuzzle - curate videos and build in checks during video playback
- Boom Cards
Action & Expression
- Allow for students to respond in multiple ways for each assignment
- Offer choice in the way they respond
Special Education Continuous Learning Considerations
- Utilize built-in accessibility features in Microsoft, Google, iOS, Canvas
- Provide guidance and train parents & students on how to use these features
- Be Proactive! Create accessible documents and materials for adding to Canvas either in Word, Docs, or in Canvas - Accessible Digital Content Information
- When sharing printed packets, ensure the font is clear, sans-serif, high contrast, and large enough to be read. Digital formats with accessible text should be available.
- Utilize 1:1 breakout rooms in Zoom
- Ensure families & students know how to implement built-in accessibility features in Microsoft, Chrome, iOS
- Have needs changed per a new environment for students?
- Train families on how to create and use visual schedules
- Instruct families on how to use AAC
Closed captions and automatic subtitles - Captioning Resource
- Ensure all videos are closed captioned
- Turn on closed captions in Google or PowerPoint
- Students can turn on closed captions to gain a transcript at home at translator.microsoft.com
- Login with Google or Microsoft or set up a free Microsoft account
- Choose start a conversation
- Toggle on presenter mode
- Before closing, save the transcript by clicking on the Settings Cog (upper right-hand corner > Save Transcript
- Can be running in the background or used with a split screen to view captions while also viewing audio presentation
- Live Transcribe app for Chrome & Android
- Provides automatic speech to text
- Can save a transcript
- Book bags that include guidance for families that can include questions to ask, objects to support reading, ideas for connecting the book to their personal lives
- Actionable tasks like “find & photo,” find something related to your objective and take a photo
- Utilize student logins if using News2You, Unique, or other curricula.
- Choice boards
Office Hours & Virtual Instruction:
- Create a schedule for open office hours, check-ins, instructions, etc and stick to it.
- Use Zoom, Hangouts, Skype, Facebook or other platform (**ensure that your platform falls under acceptable use for your district & collect parent signatures when necessary)
- Send out reminders and follow-up information.
- Document happenings and collect data.
- Remember *wait time!!
- Watch the pace of your virtual instruction or office hours; offer lots of opportunities for questions
- During instruction provide narrative descriptions of important images, charts, tables, etc.
- Provide slides and/or notes for instruction
- Build in continued opportunities to support relationships with students