Ruth Scott, Content Specialist

Where to go and who to see at Closing the Gap 2020

Are you virtualling heading to Closing the Gap (CTG) this year? Whether it’s your first time attending or you're a CTG pro, there’s a lot to take in over the course of the online conference. To help, we’ve put together this guide of recommended sessions. And if you find yourself needing a break from the sessions, be sure to stop by our virtual booth during the Exhibit Hall Hours to chat with our Texthelpers in one of our live demo or meeting slots!

Closing the Gap: recommended sessions

Texthelp sessions

Math Made Accessible in an eLearning World
Speaker: Louis Shanafelt
Category: Mathematics

Join our math expert Louis Shanafelt to learn how EquatIO has helped millions of students and educators successfully move away from inaccessible, paper-based math and STEM worksheets to the accessible, collaborative, and engaging digital world. Students and educators will be shown how to create digital and accessible math in GSuite, Learning Management Systems, Word and more with EquatIO.

Worksheets: Accessibility in a Remote Learning Environment
Speakers: Debbie Shaw and Kathleen Colburn 
Category: Accessibility and UDL

In this session you’ll hear from Texthelpers Debbie and Kathleen as they navigate the rapid changes in the landscape of education across the U.S.. In a brick-and-mortar classroom, worksheets and PDFs are central instructional materials. However, how does this type of pedagogy effectively get moved online? Join the session to learn how Texthelp’s literacy support tool Read&Write and accompanying PDF Reader can support teachers, educators, and administrators as they create and move content online.

Debbie and Louis will also be delivering a live Q&A at CTG on Tuesday Nov 10, 3.00pm-4.00pm CST. You can find out more and join here. We hope you can make it!

Closing the Achievement Gap Before and After COVID-Plymouth-Canton’s Winning Strategy
Speakers: Stacey Banks and Marc Callahan 
Category: Accessibility and UDL

Join Stacey and Marc as they take you on Plymouth-Canton’s journey to full district implementation of Read&Write as a UDL tool for all students. Stacey will detail the impact of using Read&Write within her district over the past four years as well as sharing the instrumental role it played in a successful transition to remote instruction during the COVID-19 crisis. In this session, you’ll hear how Stacey uses MAP data to track student growth with Read&Write, the Pre- and Post-COVID impact on students, and how we’ll continue to support in-person and remote learning for 2020/21.

The best of the rest

Accessible Math Instruction for Early Learners
Speakers: Tiffanie Zaugg and Beth Poss
Category: Mathematics

This session from Tiffanie and Beth will help educators to understand the development of conceptual mathematical skills, how to build a foundation for mathematical thinking and how to adapt mathematics instruction to make it accessible and meaningful to early math learners. Participants will leave with an understanding of the progression of math skill development in young children, and how to foster this in children with disabilities. A variety of low and high tech resources aligned with foundational mathematics skills will be explored along with best practices in using these resources.

Conquering Villains and Myths
Speakers: Rachell Johnson and Barb Kelii
Category: Assessment & IEPs

This dynamic Speech and OT duo will be presenting from a unique relatable perspective, common misconceptions in the field of AT, a review of research regarding AAC myths, and examples from their own practice where these villains were defeated. This presentation will help educators on their quest to squash AT villains from practices, school, rehab, and community. Join their session to help you and your team don your superhero capes and guard your AT galaxy!

Tips for Designing Online Learning Opportunities That are Accessible to Students with Disabilities
Speaker: Sheryl Burgstahler
Category: Accessibility and UDL

In today’s new normal of social distancing, hand sanitizers, and facial masks, much instruction at all levels and around the world is being offered online. In this rush to digital learning, there is little evidence that teachers are offering their online content and methods in such a way that they are accessible to students with disabilities. This presentation shares 20 tips for the delivery of online courses and links to technical details that can help them get started. 

UDL: It Starts with Access
Speakers: Janet Peters and Susan Shapiro
Category: Accessibility and UDL

Join this CAST pairing as they explore the ways that UDL implementation cannot happen without equity in access, including the use of accessible educational materials and assistive technology, which are foundational to the values of inclusion on which UDL is based.

See Texthelp tools in action!

There’s also lots of live product demonstrations going on throughout the conference so if you’d like to see Read&Write, EquatIO or WriQ in action check out the schedule of live demos and pop along! 

Are you planning to check out any of these sessions? Are there any others you’d recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments below! And if you’re attending Closing the Gap, don’t forget to drop in to our virtual booth to say hi to our Texthelpers, attend one of our live demos or meetings, and share some of your key learnings from the sessions. We look forward to seeing you there!


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