Staff Explores Assisted Technology Tools

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Faculty members in the district’s special education department expanded their knowledge of assisted technology tools with a professional development workshop led by Don Johnston representative Mike Marotta on Oct. 4 at Washington Avenue School. Don Johnston is a software company that provides different educational technology tools to benefit both students and staff. District 30 faculty have participated in professional development trainings from Don Johnston for the past three years.

New faculty members joined the workshop to learn more about the tools accessible to them to help their students, while continuing faculty members were introduced to new software features to better their lessons and assessments. 

“Assistive technology are tools to level the playing field for our students with disabilities,” said Director of Special Services Nicole Schimpf. “They are quick, easy and accessible for our students here at Valley Stream 30.”
 
For the first time, speech pathologists in the district were invited to the workshop to see how assisted technology tools could assist them in the classrooms. Marotta shared several tools with the faculty such as Snap&Read, a reading tool, Co:Writer, a writing tool and Quizbot, a quiz generator on Google Chrome. Continuing faculty members shared their experiences with some of these tools to the newcomers. They collaborated and spoke about what worked successfully for them and their students. 

Fitting with the district’s theme of You and MEdia and the strategic plan of developing students into 21st-century learners, the professional development workshop allowed the special education faculty members to turn key what they learned to the general education staff. The goal was to transform faculty members into experts, applying what they learned into the classroom setting. 

“Today’s professional development was a refresher for our seasoned teachers who are already embracing the Don Johnston software with their struggling writers and readers and taking their implementation practices to the next level,” said Schimpf. “Our new teachers and speech pathologist’s learned with their colleagues about these powerful tools and supercharged to bring them into their classes.”