“My students created games and a tour of a planetarium for deaf, hearing and hearing-impaired students. At the end of it, they had a better understanding of deaf culture, and they came away with their minds changed.” – Janadi Gonzalez-Lord, Trinidad and Tobago

Janadi Gonzalez-Lord, Teacher - Trinidad and Tobago
Sep 21

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.

Trinidad’s Janadi Gonzalez-Lord just won first-place here in the category “Innovation in Difficult Circumstances,” and she’s joining us for today’s Daily Edventure.

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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Innovate in the classroom, help your students build the skills they need for the future—such as problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity—with Partners in Learning.

You’ll meet other innovative teachers for collaboration opportunities, get access to free teacher resources, and learn about great ways to improve your personal teaching practice using technology.

Embraced by the theme ‘Your Ideas Matter’ the Partners in Learning Network is a community for you, by you, and further amplifies the great work that is being done every day by teachers and schools around the world.  With this idea in mind, we invite you to try out this global online resource and community designed to encourage collaboration and the spread of ideas for the betterment of education worldwide.

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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:

Guide –  Accessibility: A Guide for Educators available for download in English
and Spanish.

Curriculum Resources – Curriculum Resources for Special Education for Windows 7 and Office 2010

Workshop – Accessibility Teacher Training Workshop

Video – Best Practices of Accessibility in Schools

Case Studies

School Uses Accessible Software To Help Blind Student Reach The Top of Her Class (Chile)

Schools Use Familiar Technology to Make Learning More Accessible for All Students (USA)

Students at Abu Dhabi Center for Autism Use Assistive Technology to Communicate and Develop Language Skills (Abu Dhabi)

How-To Articles

Five ways to make a PC easier to see

Four ways to make a PC easier to hear

Four ways to help a student control the mouse

Six ways to help students stay focused

Five ways to help dyslexic students get organized

Three ways to create accessible teaching materials

Three ways to create digital talking books for students with disabilities using Microsoft Word

 

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