- Sponsorship -

Advice to Educators: Take Your Tech in Sips, Not Gulps


When it comes to researching new assistive technology strategies online, time-pressed educators often feel like they’ve been hit with a fire hose. A more effective way is akin to sipping from a garden hose, said Chris Bugaj, a sought-after assistive technology strategist.

Bugaj spoke recently at the AssisTechKnow conference, a collaborative of Kent ISD, Michigan’s Integrated Technology Supports, Michigan Council for Exceptional Children and Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning. The conference drew more than 250 educators from across Kent ISD and beyond.

Participants included special education and general education teachers, speech, occupational and physical therapists, school psychologists and school administrators. There also were parents hungry for the latest in tips and technologies available to educate special-education students, English-language learners and at-risk students.

A hallmark of the conference: All the presenters walk the talk, said Kindy Segovia, Kent ISD’s assistive technology supervisor.

“All the presenters are practitioners,” Segovia told the group. “They’re teachers coming out of classrooms and therapists. People are getting practical hands-on ideas for tomorrow.”

Too Much Information

While iPads, Chromebooks and interactive whiteboards are indeed educational allies, when it comes to researching for new ideas online, educators often just do a Google search. The problem is they are inundated with everything related to the topic, said Bugaj, a host of A.T.Tipscast podcasts and member of the Loudoun County, Virginia Public Schools’ assistive technology team.

That’s what Bugaj called the fire hose. A better option than that frustration, he said, is to think of professional development as micro-moments that make information easier to intellectually digest — the equivalent of sipping from a garden hose.

Bugaj offered some ways to achieve that goal:

  • Email signatures. Instead of signatures that simply indicate you’re away from your computer, provide appropriate links to websites, podcasts and YouTube. “If someone is emailing me, chances are they need something, usually resources,” said Bugaj, who offered his email links as an example.
  • Websites. Some educators prefer websites that are “static” so they can count on finding the resources they want when they want it Bugaj said. Others prefer those that regularly update with new hyperlinks. A way to bridge the two is through a social networking service such as Diigo.com that enables users to add new hyperlinks, comments and share bookmarks of web documents. “Why is Diigo so cool?” Bugaj asked. “Because the next time they need something, they can find it themselves instead of emailing me or you.”
  • DVDs. They are a great resource when educators live in areas that do not have high-speed Internet, but he recommends keeping videos to around eight minutes.
  • Podcasts while driving to work. “How many times can you hear Taylor Swift say, while driving to work, she’s ‘never, ever getting back together again’ over the radio?” Bugaj said to laughter. “I challenge you to, one day a week, listen to a podcast.”

Podcasts address three needs, Bugaj said: limited time, ease of use and no need for high-speed Internet. “More importantly, you can share them with teachers,” he added.

  • Strategy-a-Day calendars that include hyperlinks to innovative initiatives. Instead of setting such calendars on an already cluttered desk, Bugaj recommended posting each day’s strategy where it stands a chance of getting read: inside the bathroom stall.

CONNECT

Kent ISD Assistive Technology

Strategy-a-Day calendar

- Sponsorship -

LATEST ARTICLES

Fourth-grade hockey fan gets a magical hour on ice: ‘I made the shot!’

Raised as a Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey fan, Jackson Solow lights up while skating on an ice rink wearing his favorite hockey jersey...

‘This time it is continued learning’

One school’s switch from in-person to virtual education last week was nearly seamless, especially when compared with the forced school closure in March...

Foundation grants $28,285 in fall funding requests

Virtual phys ed and art experiences, materials to improve classroom focus and books on social issues aimed at middle-schoolers are among the grants approved this fall...

Latest school closings expand on state-ordered high school mandate

More Kent County districts continue to announce temporary school building closures, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Have cart, will travel

A Southeast Kelloggsville Elementary music teacher has a new cart for her ukuleles, thanks to her school, her husband and the Kent Career Tech Center...

KCTC and KTC Core students roll up their sleeves to help reduce water runoff at Kent ISD

The water from the Kent ISD area feeds into the Lamberton Creek watershed. The plants will aid in reducing the amount added to the creek...

Essential workers get high school diplomas thanks to state program

Futures for Frontliners offers free community college tuition to essential workers. The program also helps people earn a high-school GED...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS