Ideas on Building On-Demand AT Supports

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This document shares ideas on building online resources.  To build capacity, staff need quick and efficient access to the resources needed to provide AT support in the classroom.  Quick guides, video tutorials, implementation guides and other materials need to be available online so that staff can get the information they need “just in time”. 

Multiple individuals have contributed to this list of ideas about documentation and accountability to enhance AT services and supports. If you have an idea that you would like to share, please contact the NATE Network at info@natenetwork.org  .

 

DESIGNING ONLINE RESOURCES 

Getting Started Creating Online Resources

The first step in building your on-demand resource bank is to examine the resources you have already developed.  These may be in a handout format, or a pre-recorded webinar or a video. Build on what you already have on hand and create multiple formats for these resources.  For example, if you have a workshop handout already developed, turn this into a Quick Guide that can stand alone on your AT website. If you have a workshop Powerpoint developed, add narration so that it can serve as a stand alone resource.  And if you are planning on presenting a live webinar, take the time to create a recording before or after the live session.  

Use the Online Resources Matrix in the Resources Section to identify the resources that you have already developed, resources that school staff need more of and the formats that are needed.  Prioritize their development, and identify who will draft the new resources. Also consider the length of these resources. Pre-recorded webinars and videos can be divided into short segments that staff will be more likely to view.  

Aim for each person on the team to create 1 to 2 resources per month.  Proactively schedule time for members of the AT team to work on them. If you wait until you have extra time, it never gets done, so put it on your work calendar.  Expect that you may not be able to get these done at your office– there are just too many distractions. The best way to do this is to go to a library, or work from home, or at a coffee shop– anywhere you can work efficiently.  Once you’ve drafted a new resource, share it with a fellow professional to make sure it makes sense, and to edit and revise as needed. Then you are ready to upload your resource to your website. Don’t let “the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  Resources do not have to be perfect, but they do need to provide useful, accurate information. Make sure your website is designed in a way that staff can easily find these resources. Think up front about how it will be organized. (Contributed by Denise DeCoste, MA)

 

Recommended Resources for District AT Websites

  •     Quick Tip Emails placed in archives
  •     Accessibility features of Mainstream Devices
  •     Step by Step Guides for specific apps or software
  •     Lesson Plans to teach Software and apps
  •     Webcasts and recorded videos of webinars using software or apps
  •     Short videos focusing on the use of AT tools or implementation
  •     Classroom implementation roadmaps
  •     Removing Backgrounds of Photos and Pictures for CVI
  •     Keystroke Cheat Sheets (Jaws, Braille Note, ZoomText)

 

Lessons Learned About Creating Online Resources

I want to share a couple of things we’ve  discovered over the 15 years we have focused on learning new tools and creating resources:

Time: Even when you recognize the benefit of spending time up front to create resources, it still is hard to find that time! One important thing we’ve learned is to have a more streamlined system for creating those resources. 

  • Have a template and a standardized  way of creating a quick guide.
  • Buy Snagit licenses for everyone on the team and keep them updated to help staff create quick guides
  • Create a YouTube channel with an AT team login address so that all of your videos will be housed in the same place. (We found that we were duplicating videos because we didn’t know that one of our teammates had already made one!)

Think:  The most important thing I’ve learned is to THINK before creating a resource. Technology tools change fast and if you make too many screenshots, add too many details, or make videos that cover multiple topics in one go, then you will find yourself mired in editing them. I lean toward the following:

  • Create resources in small informational chunks that you can string together so if something changes in step 2, I can just replace that one part and not the whole thing.
  • Make sure not to make overlapping resources. Combine all the pieces and create a “whole” resource that meets different needs. Otherwise, when something changes you have to figure out how many resources need to be fixed.
  • Have a landing space for district staff that is consistent over time. If you use  Livebinder one month, and a Symbaloo for three months, then no one will be able to find resources or remember how they are organized.
  • Using Google Docs changed EVERYTHING. Instead of making edits and re-saving things as a PDF for uploading to our website, we make Google Docs which can be changed on the fly when we see the need for an update. The important feature is that the links to the google docs stay static on your website so people don’t lose track of resources they need to go back to. (Contributed by Linda Bastiani Wilson, HIAT Team, Montgomery County Public Schools, MD)

 

Ensuring Good Quality Resources 

If we are creating or referencing a ton of recorded on-demand options, I still think we need to reflect on how/when educators will access and view these resources.   Are they expected to watch on their own time? If we create hours and hours of content, what is the expectation for the educator? On the quality of the on-demand resources? Is the video good enough to warrant 30 minutes of a teachers’ time, or could it have been a different format? I think adding a google form asking for feedback on some of these videos would be a good idea to see how they are being received. (Contributed by Aaron Marsters, DODEA Germany)

 

Bringing Resources to Teachers

I started a Canvas course (which is what all teachers use to post their documents for their classes). I am going to create a one-stop shop for all AT resources. I will have sections for: training, Quick guides, forms, newsletters, Bookshare etc.

 For my trainings, I usually use Screencastify. This is a program that allows me to record my screen while it records my voice. I use this for trainings on extensions. I also use a QR Code to access AT services. The code brings teachers to my Google form where they can request a service. I have used iMovie in the past to edit presentations I have done. While my voice it going, I edit the movie to show a slide. All of these tools are very helpful in making a robust resource guide.

 Now I am motivated to expand my library with the help of staff! One thing I have been thinking about it highlighting a teacher who is using some of the cool tools in their classroom. I thought about adding this to my monthly newsletter. This could be a fun video using something like Photo Peach or even a video of the teacher explaining cool things going on in their room.(Contributed by Riley Pec, IL)