Dear TVI or O&M Specialists,
We are a busy group; there is so much we need to accomplish and not enough time. You see your students and work with them on academics (ie., math or science) or their IEP goals, and can’t imagine having time to add anything else to the mix. The fact that you’re spending time to read this blog (THANK YOU!) is fantastic and you’re probably multi-tasking as it is right now anyway. If the concept of social media seems daunting, don’t run away when I say that social media is an excellent vehicle for learning and multi-tasking (not just for you, but your students too)! Blogs and social media are a great way to engage with your students on a level that they will appreciate (because it is current and relevant to their lives) and you can kill three birds (or concepts) with one stone in your job by encouraging blogging!
Technology. Braille. Social Interaction.
CTEBVI has set up this Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship blog featuring a new student recipient annually. Every few weeks, our recipient will blog or vlog (video blog) about an academic or social experience. This is a safe, moderated online environment where students can read the blog post and share their thoughts and experiences with others. The blog is accessible via computer, braille note taking device, tablet, smart phone. Use the blog in your technology lesson by navigating to different sections of the blog or writing comments tdo a post.
So your student isn’t quite experienced with technology to access the website? Copy and paste the text into Duxbury or Braille2000, emboss it and use the blog post with your student as part of their braille lesson or as their free reading material. Students can then use their Perkins or braille note taking device to write their own response to a particular blog post while working on spelling, contractions or formatting practice.
This is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle. Throughout my career, the common phrase I hear from students is that the are “the only kid who is visually impaired” (or at most, one of a few) in their school. Some of these students live in an area where they are the only ones for miles and miles who are blind/visually impaired while others might be fortunate enough to be a part of something like the Braille Institute Youth program and have peers in relatively close proximity. Though the blog doesn’t solve feelings of isolation or lonliness in their school, it will hopefully give them a way to interact with other young people by giving them a safe forum to share thoughts and connect.
We hope that as TVIs and O&Ms, you will read the blog and see the value in it for your students. Access it weekly, monthly or daily…whatever works for you and your students; we would love nothing more than to see a community for our students to share and interact and feel understood and inspired by one another.
What do you think? Realistically, is this something you have time for? Are you doing something similar? We want to hear from you! Comment below or connect with us on social media!