Students in today's classrooms are using digital educational materials - especially now with remote instruction, online courses and virtual classrooms. Mainstream classroom teachers have access to a plethora of online activities and curriculums which, unfortunately, these often include materials that are not accessible for students with visual impairments. Teachers of the visually impaired spend significant chunks of their time recreating/modifying to make an accessible version of the material, creating a tactile version, or substituting the material with a different resource; occasionally, the inaccessible activity is skipped.
What if . . . every TVI had instant access to accessible digital materials?
What if . . . each TVI shared a recreated digital material? This will decrease the amount of time TVIs spend creating/adapting resources.
Paths to Technology has created the Resource Library - a place where TVIs and families can simply select an accessible digital resource. Since these are digital, the resource can be used on a variety of devices running a variety of accessibility options; and, most of the materials in the Book Library can also be printed using the desired size or embossed for a braille copy! The goal of the Resource Library is to provide free accessible digital materials which enable students with visual impairments and blindness to gain access to the same 21st century educational materials as their peers. In addition, each TVI will not need to spend time and energy recreating the same materials. The Resource Library also includes resources to teach VI-related skills and concepts that are not apart of the standard curriculum.
What is it?
A library with various accessible digital resources that educators and families can select and immediately use. Many of the resources are linked to associated posts that include educational activities, teaching hints, goals and suggestions on how to use the resource to teach specific skills. Currently, the Resource Library has two sections: The Book Library and the Map Library.
The Book Library currently contains resources in various formats: ePub, iBooks, PDFs, and PowerPoint presentations. There are books which have been specifically created for emerging readers and early readers, that can be accessed visually, tactually and/or auditorily. Some books were created to teach specific skills such as braille contractions. Books can be used to teach general reading skills (in any format) and can also be used to teach technology skills. There are emerging reader books that use sound hints associated with the words/illustrations on each page. The CVI-friendly books help students with visual processing skills. Some books are O&M-related while other books contain core curriculum content. Many of the books have related posts with specific teaching activities and goals. Each book can be used to teach a variety of skills or can be read just for fun!
One issue with the accessibility of mainstream materials is how to make visual information accessible - in particular, how to make maps accessible for students with visual impairments and blindness. Publicly released in the spring of 2020, SAS Graphics Accelerator is a free Google Extension that creates accessible non-visual digital maps. These digital maps enable students to actively navigate and interact with the map! Create your own customized non-visual digital map and share the map with others! The Map Library currently includes college campus maps (specifically created for remote instruction O&M lessons for students transitioning to college) as well as educational maps (such as the State Capitals map), and maps for leisure and travel. There are related posts on using the non-visual digital map software, how to create a customized map, and posts about using these maps for remote O&M lessons. Be sure to check out the series of lesson posts on John, a 4th grade student receiving progressive remote O&M instruction about his town.
What types of maps are being used in classrooms? What activities and lessons are being taught with these maps? We need your input to develop more classroom maps and activities!
- 21st century classroom mirror 21st century work places (paperless!)
- Current remote instruction, online courses and virtual classrooms
- No tactile materials needed
- Easy to create and share
Who is it for?
The Resource Library is for mainstream educators, teachers of the visually impaired, orientation and mobility specialists, families, students and adults with visual impairments.
Who contributes to the library?
The Resource Library is crowd-sourced: anyone can contribute to the library, including educators, family members, students, or any interested group/individual. The Resource Library will only grow with active participation from the VI community! Educators, you are already creating materials - please share these accessible materials through the Resource Library!
How can YOU contribute?
Simply email your resource to Technology@Perkins.org. Please contact us with any questions or suggestions. You can also share your thoughts or questions in the Comment section below.
What do you want?
This Resource Library is for YOU - what kinds of materials do you want to find in this library?