Wednesday, January 29, 2014

AIM, CAST, and Audible

We have had several encounters this past week with different ways to access books and curriculum in ways that benefit learners of all kinds. 

First, Dr. Yellin has been "reading" a new book, League of Denial, about the role of the NFL in denying the dangers of concussions among football players. Long a reader of e-books on his iPad, he is accessing this book via, which is an Amazon subsidiary that provides audio versions of popular books. There is a membership fee, which entitles members to one "free" book per month, and there is a free 30 day trial. 

Yesterday's mail brought the Winter issue of the magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, ED. The cover story was about CAST - formerly The Center for Applied Special Technology - and how Dr. David Rose and CAST's other founders forever changed the conversation about how books and other educational materials can and should be made accessible to all learners and created the field of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  It's a fascinating and well-written piece and is available online. Dr. Yellin is a proud member of the CAST Board of Directors.

Finally, a colleague shared a resource from the National Center for Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM), a CAST initiative. This resource, an extensive article entitled, An Educator’s Guide to the Acquisition of Alternate Format Core Learning Materials for Pre-K–12 Students with Print Disabilities, includes detailed information on resources teachers and administrators can use to locate and obtain materials for all kinds of learners, including those who need large print, Braille, and audio materials. The article describes the needs of teachers at specific levels and in specific situations and contains extensive discussions of the benefits of each resource and how and where it can be obtained. 

Whether you try an audio book, gain a better understanding of UDL, or learn how to obtain a book for a child who has difficulty accessing print materials, we hope our encounters this week prove helpful to you and the students you care about.

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