It is the start of the school year and as an educator, you may be experiencing a myriad of emotions; optimism, trepidation, and even exhaustion left over from the last 2 challenging years. Hopefully, you are looking at this year as an opportunity for creating a learning environment that fosters belonging and inclusion, making school a place where everyone can be successful academically, socially, and emotionally.
As educators, we know that designing experiences that reach all learners is fundamental to this success. What we all need is practical strategies to make authentic inclusion feasible. We can do this when we employ strategies that are flexible, accessible to all and intentionally designed. Inclusive educational experiences rarely happen by accident. Designing for inclusivity acknowledges learner variability and focuses on strengths that promote engagement, success, and autonomy.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? The reality, however, is that as educators, we need a well designed, inclusive learning experience ourselves in order to most effectively meet the needs of the learners with whom we work. To that end, we would invite you to join us in a book study of Inclusive Learning: 365 Edtech Strategies for Every Day of the Year and become part of an inclusive learning community where we can share experiences, trials and triumphs.
We will begin by examining what having an inclusive mindset means, how being learner centered supports this and why we place an emphasis on strategies over technology (even though we share hundreds of different technology tools). Over the course of nine live Zoom sessions, we will examine strategies and tools across content areas specific to reading, writing, STEAM, studying and research, social emotional learning, executive function, and professional learning. The book study will last from September through May, with both live and asynchronous opportunities for discussion and learning together as a group. Check out the sampling of strategies from the book below to get a sense of the types of resources you will explore and jumping off points for discussion throughout the book study.
Strategy 26 – Discovering Hidden Artifacts Using Geocaching and Augmented Reality
An innate quality of learning anything is a sense of discovery! Uncovering information, items, or knowledge that is new to you spurs curiosity, imbues wonder, and brings out the joy of learning. Experiences where learners act as hunters of artifacts in either physical or virtual spaces provides an opportunity to unlock a passion for truth seeking, problem solving, and collaboration with others. Invite learners to use their individual abilities to unravel a mystery to find a hidden treasury by engaging in real world or augmented reality treasure hunting experiences. One tool to explore to help you create an immersive, augmented reality experience is Waypoint Edu.
Strategy 131 – Converting Analog Text to Read Alouds on the Fly
Encountering text in the environment occurs throughout our day no matter the location. In school, text is provided in books, posters on the wall, multiple learning materials and notices to share with parents. Beyond the school day, analog text is encountered in signs, menus, directions, magazines and leisure reading. Evolving or multilingual readers may benefit from the option to quickly convert analog text to a digital format and then attach a voice to listen to the audio. Learners now have a strategy that promotes independent access to content, no matter where they are. Microsoft Lens and Seeing AI, two free apps from Microsoft, offer this capability for independence.
We hope you will join us on our book study adventure and help us achieve our goal to help all educators discover that by promoting inclusive learning all learners can thrive.
Chris Bugaj (@attipscast), Karen Janowski (@KarenJan), Mike Marotta (@mmatp) and Beth Poss (@possbeth) are the authors of the book Inclusive Learning 365: Edtech Strategies for Every Day of the Year. To learn more about inclusive strategies and to order your copy of the book, visit inclusive365.com