All this week, we’ve been sharing the inspiring stories of innovators who work to make education accessible to all students, regardless of any physical or learning challenge they may face. Today, I am in Peru, where we just completed a great Latin America and Caribbean Partners in Learning Innovative Educators Forum, and I’m pleased to bring you yet another one of those accessibility innovators — (almost) live and in-person.
Gonzalez works in a country where inclusive education is not yet common. So when one deaf student was being excluded from activities, Gonzalez saw a perfect teaching opportunity. Her PiL project, The Solar System: Reaching for the Stars, a creative science project that allowed students not only to learn about the solar system, but to understand and appreciate the differently-abled (in this case, hearing impaired). In collaboration with members of the deaf community, students created games and a tour of a planetarium for deaf, hearing and hearing-impaired students. Students also created video journals of their journey. “At the end of it,” Gonzalez says, “they were able to communicate with ease in sign language, they had a better understanding of deaf culture, and they came away with their minds changed.”
Gonzalez made a keen observation: “We want to create 21st century learning, of course, but mind change is more important.” In terms of teaching students tolerance and understanding for their differently-abled peers , I’d say that Gonzalez absolutely succeeded.
I’m happy to share with you my conversation with Janadi Gonzalez-Lord during this week’s forum. Enjoy!
Janadi Gonzalez-Lord, Teacher, Bishop Anstey High School East
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Visit Microsoft’s Accessibility in the Classroom website
for more ideas on making education accessible to all. The following are just a few examples of the wide range of resources and tools available:
Curriculum Resources – Curriculum Resources for Special Education for Windows 7 and Office 2010
Workshop – Accessibility Teacher Training Workshop