My Education “D” Word: Engaging ALL Students in Their Work (and through Apps!)

I am a principal working with a disability… Actually, multiple disabilities… (depends on who you ask!)

My educational D word is disability. Slowly, language is changing in the educational realm, and they may be small differences, but I believe they have huge implications for the way we help students to learn.

As to me, I am working with a vision impediment. I wear glasses. They are very strong glasses and there is no way I could work or drive or read without them. Thankfully, there is a good solution to my impediment now. I have good glasses… If I was born 2000 years ago, I think I would have quickly been eaten by a wolf or starved because of my hunting skills would have been sadly lacking when you can’t see the target! (Sounds like a topic for an assessment blog…)

We have many kids who are working with impediments as well. Some may be working with impediments to their learning, some with impediments to abilities around executive functioning, some with physical impairments, somewhere else…

My grandmother, who is one of my heroes, has since passed but had polio. She was in a wheelchair but did not ever let that stop her. She had an impediment, but boy did she find ways around things.

I love the language of “I am somebody working with ______________.” Rather than saying I am visually challenged, or sight impaired, or just plain nearly blind, I am a person working with a certain impediment to my learning. I have to figure out how to overcome that…

One of the things that I love is that, like my glasses, we have many more tools to assist kids with some of their learning challenges. I love how far assistive technology has come. In fact, I am dictating this whole blog on my iPhone. BTW, I am also working with typing impediment, which is that I am a slow typist…

This afternoon I got to hang out with my good friend and colleague, Steve Clark (@stevewclark), and learn more about his “AppSmashing” work utilizing iPads to enhance learning with students. A link to his work is below, and you will notice the apps are extremely open ended and focused around learning versus worksheet apps…

Steve will only use “Creative” apps, rather than “Consumer” apps which are made for limited purpose. He shares the essential iPad apps that he believes teachers and students need to know how to use. They all utilize the powerful tools iPad has to offer and focus on creating or adapting.

Check out his site and let’s keep supporting our kids to work with whatever challenges they are facing!

Work hard and learn tons!


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