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Learning Ally Blog: Access and Achievement
Now more than ever, people with learning and visual disabilities are flourishing in the classroom, launching productive careers and becoming assets in their communities. This blog spotlights remarkable individuals who demonstrate that having a visual or print disability is no barrier to educational success.
New Ideas for Teachers Promote Collaboration
On July 15, 2014 in
Education & Teaching
Jenny Falke (LAE)
What is the best way for teachers to spend time collaborating and learning from each other? According to educator
, professional development workshops help nurture relationships between teachers and carry new ideas into classrooms. Educators can use Learning Ally workshops to bring teachers together while learning how to meet the needs of each student despite various learning styles. “Many of our teachers do not get the professional-to-professional contact or the ability to share ideas and methodology very often,” says Sharon. “Learning Ally’s presenter strives to make the teachers feel good about what they are currently doing and highly encourages collaboration between teachers in all presentations.” Sharon is an exceptional student education specialist and has used Learning Ally audiobooks at her school in Florida's
Monroe County School District
for ten years.
In the past two years, the school has also participated in professional development workshops. “We have completed workshops with Terrie Noland (Learning Ally professional development presenter) and the teachers rave about her presentations that instill a sense of confidence and importance to them personally,” continues Sharon. “Her degree of knowledge in general education, exceptional student education, and differentiated instruction is the very best.”
Learning Ally professional development workshops
are available as live presentations and
. Read a
Q&A with Terrie Noland
to learn about favorite techniques and see some of her
tips on Pinterest
. “These workshops brought new ideas to all teachers who participated,” says Sharon. “The program offers tips that can be implemented the very next day, including activities through higher tech that can be used daily for students of all ages. Terrie has been a huge boon to our district and we hope this degree of presentation will continue.”
Working With Teachers in Her District
Learning Ally workshops do not focus solely on audiobooks, but do provide many tips on catering to different learning styles. Audiobooks can help teachers meet the needs of students with specific learning disabilities and keep them reading alongside their peers in the mainstream classroom. Sharon helps teachers in her district implement audiobooks, set up student accounts and provide listening devices for students.
“Personally, I have seen the kids enjoying the highlighting abilities and bookmark feature,” explains Sharon, “but from an administrative viewpoint, my favorite part is the management portion,
-- because we can view how many books the students have added, how much they have read, and the types of books that are interesting to them, including what grade level books they are downloading. We use it as a measure to determine if the program is successful and where we need to improve to meet the students’ needs.” The resource teachers at Sharon’s school have commented about how fiction titles engage students who otherwise would not be able to read a 300-400-page book and create excitement for reading.
“Listening to audiobooks is leveling the playing field for many kids. Additionally, we are tapping into a population of students who rely on the auditory component for learning and comprehending information – they truly feel a power with their devices,” says Sharon. “They are students who are reading well below their reading level, and Learning Ally affords them the opportunity to be able to listen and talk about books with their teacher, classmates and friends and feel a part of the class again.”
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