Update: The Lesson Library is now LIVE under the Paths to Technology Resource Library. Here is the direct link to the Lesson Library. Note: The Lesson Library is still under construction and addition lessons are being added daily. Please share your lessons now!
What if . . . there is a place to find remote lessons for students who are visually impaired or blind? In July 2020, Paths to Technology launched the Resource Library with two types of resources: Book Library and Map Library. The Book Library contains accessible digital books currently in ePub, iBook, PDF, PowerPoint, YouTube videos, etc. The Map Library is accessible non-visual digital maps for both O&M purposes and maps used in general education classrooms. Many of these resources have associated posts with them that provide lessons and/or ideas on how to use/apply these resources. The materials in these libraries are crowd-sourced – meaning that they are created by individuals and shared. Anyone can create and share these materials – TVIs, COMS, gen ed educators, family members, groups/individuals, and students!
With remote instruction, online courses, and the new hybrid instruction, Teachers of the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility Specialists are learning a whole new way of teaching. Educators and families are actively searching for accessible digital materials and lessons that can be used immediately. Many digital resources available for general education teachers are not accessible for students who are visually impaired or blind. In addition, students with visual impairments or blindness have unique needs, such as learning braille or assistive technology. TVIs and COMS are working hard to create appropriate and accessible digital lessons for students with visual impairments and blindness. Individuals are creating wonderful, innovative lessons; what if those creative lessons were shared so that anyone could use them? Let’s build a Lesson Library with lessons specifically for students with visual impairments and blindness! If every TVI or COMS shared one lesson – we would have an enormous pool of lessons to choose from!
Everything! Any and all subjects are welcome! Currently, the Lesson Library has the following categories; although, additional categories can be added at any time.
Any format! Your lesson can simply be a written lesson, can have materials shared (or list of household/school materials used in the lesson) or can include a video. Many educators are creating video lessons that students and/or families watch. You can upload your video to YouTube and share the link (I can embed the video into the post) or send me your video and I’ll upload it our Perkins server. There are many simple ways to create a video, including using your smart phone, record using Zoom or other virtual meeting platforms (which allows you to show what is on your screen plus a window with your head (if you have your camera on), screen record just your device, or use your document camera. All of these are free options! Keep in mind that video lessons are wonderful for young students or students who are not reading or who have not mastered technology.
Lessons do not have to include a video. You can share your written lesson plan or lesson idea.
Share the digital materials that you use in a lesson; if using physical materials either sent home in a packet or that are commonly found at home, simply include a list of materials needed for the activity. If you used a braille resource, share the digital file of the brailled material. If you created a digital book (any format), non-visual digital map or other resource, that resource may also be included in the Book or Map Library with a link over to your lesson.
Lesson plans can be used by educators, parents and even students! The lesson can be geared for a preschooler, elementary student, middle school student, high school student or transition student. The lesson can be for students who are on or who are not in grade level. We are very interested in lessons for students with multiple disabilities and/or deaf-blind. Lessons can be for students with low vision, some vision and/or no vision. You are already creating lessons for your student – simply share these lessons and help grow our lesson library. Other students with similar needs can benefit from these lessons and YOU can benefit from lessons created by other educators!
Anyone and everyone! Many lessons are shared by educators in the VI field (TVIs, COMS and CATIS); lessons from general education teachers, family members, teacher prep classes, and individuals are also welcome!
Lessons can be any length and can be any appropriate format – whenever possible, the materials used should be fully accessible. (Not all lessons will be fully accessible – Example: A lesson to teach CVI visual scanning skills will not be accessible with a screen reader!) A progressive series of lessons is ALWAYS beneficial!
Send your lesson and any questions to [email protected]. We need YOUR lessons to generate and populate the Lesson Library!
By Diane Brauner