Remote Learning Resources


Available Resources

Educators and families want to support learners with disabilities throughout the school closure.

Alt+Shift is here to provide technical assistance and resources for families and educators related to:

Alt+Shift will continue to add resources as they are discovered.

If you have any questions or require additional support, do not hesitate to request technical assistance.


Accessibility of Digital Materials

The Challenge: Digitally created materials are inaccessible. For example, the learner cannot see, hear, or interact with them.

Learn How to Create Accessible Digital Materials Resource
Accessible Materials Made Right

Free online courses to learn how you can make your educational materials accessible to learners and families who rely on assistive technology for access.

Accessible Materials Made Right

Designing for Accessibility with POUR

A great resource to learn basic concepts of accessible content creation written in layman's terms. If you just started learning about accessibility in document and presentation creation, this is a great place to start.

Designing for Accessibility with POUR

Accessible Educational Materials (AEM’s) Best Practices for Educators & Instructors

Find helpful information to get you thinking about how you can make online courses and social media posts more accessible.

Best Practices for Educators & Instructors

Colour Contrast Analyser

A free program that can be used in MacOS or Windows to determine if there is adequate color contrast between the text and background when creating materials for your learners.

Colour Contrast Analyser

Streamer

A captioning, translation, and note taking service that can work with all online livestream platforms (eg. Zoom). Streamer is currently free to all new users for one month and about $10/month after that.

Streamer

Make Sure the Online Services You Use Are Accessible Resource
Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)

Many online platforms and resources will have published a VPAT. You can often find a simplified statement of accessibility features as well. These are helpful when determining how accessible different resources are. To find these, do an online search for the name of the resource and “VPAT”. Some examples are:

Understanding the VPAT


Assistive Technology (AT)

The Challenge: Lack of tools needed to access information, participate in activities, and complete tasks.

Learn How to Provide Assistive Technology Resource
Guidance for Schools Regarding Learner Access to AT During School Closure

This memo provides guidance and direction regarding learner access to assistive technology in the home he/she utilizes in the school setting.

Guidance for Schools Requesting AT During School Closure

Demystifying Assistive Technology (AT)

Explore the basics of assistive technology in 3 short videos. Within this page, learn more about what qualifies as AT, debunk common myths about assistive technology, and learn how your learner(s) could benefit from AT.

AT Journey: Demystifying AT

Connect with AT Professionals Resource
Michigan AT Contacts

Would you like to connect with someone locally? Use this page to find a list of Michigan’s regional Assistive Technology leaders and their contact information.

AT Contacts List

Assistive Technology Listserv

Join the Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT) Listserv to connect with other educators looking to support their learners requiring AT. Ask your own questions, respond to others, or search the archive for previous topics.

Join QIAT Listserv

QIAT Archives

Connect with AT Professionals, AT/AAC Users, and Families of AT/AAC Users

#ATchat is a Twitter hashtag and weekly scheduled chat revolving around trending AT topics. The moderators of this chat created a website to address how to support AT during distance learning. Archived Twitter chats and town hall recordings can also be found here.

#ATchat website

Examples of Tools and Supports Resource
Built-in Accessibility Features

Devices, such as phones, tablets, and computers, have built-in accessibility features that can enhance the learning of learners. Examples of features include: screen readers, display modifications (zoom, font size), and accessing apps using your voice.

iOS Accessibility Features

Android Accessibility Features

MacOS Accessibility Features

Windows Accessibility Features

Remove Ads and Distractions on Webpages

Some built-in features and Chrome extensions, such as Mercury Reader, Reader View, and Reading View, remove excessive clutter, which can make web pages easier to read.

Mercury Reader (Chrome Extension)

Reader View (Firefox feature)

Reading View (Microsoft Edge feature)

Modify PDFs with Kami

This free chrome extension allows the user to modify PDFs by:

  • adding text
  • inserting images, shapes, or signatures
  • collaborate and work with others in real time

Kami (Chrome Extension)

Announcify

This free chrome extension reads text aloud from any website without needing to highlight or select it. Announcify blurs the text in the paragraph that is not currently being read aloud.

Announcify (Chrome Extension)

Snap & Read

Snap&Read levels vocabulary and text complexity, reads text aloud, removes visual distractions from text, allows for cover overlays, and translates text. 

Snap&Read (Chrome Extension)

Co:Writer Universal

Co:Writer offers word prediction, topic specific vocabulary, translation, and speech to text or speech recognition. 

Co:Writer Universal (Chrome Extension)

Read & Write

This Chrome extension offers speech to text, word prediction, dictionary, and a fact finder to search for additional information.

Read & Write (Chrome Extension)

Clicker 8/DocsPlus

This word processing software provides writing features such as word prediction, speech feedback, and graphic organizers. Clicker is designed for elementary learners, while DocsPlus is suited for middle and high school learners. Interested families and educators can fill out a form to access this program for free while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

Clicker

DocsPlus

Dolphin SuperNova

SuperNova is offering a free three-month subscription for learners learning at home. SuperNova supports learners with visual impairments by offering a screen magnifier and a screen reader as well as support for Braille displays.

Dolphin SuperNova 3-month Free Subscription


Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

The Challenge: No means, or inadequate means, of learner communication.

Learn How to Provide AAC and Support Language Development Resource
Ms. Marlowe's Music

Ms. Marlowe combines music and AAC to create fun, engaging videos for all learners. Check out her Youtube Channel for a variety of songs that highlight core vocabulary and more!

Ms. Marlowe's Youtube Channel

American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) Telepractice Checklist for School-Based Professionals

This checklist is designed to assist school-based audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists as they prepare to provide services through telepractice.

ASHA Telepractice Checklist for School-Based Professionals

Disinfecting AAC

During this pandemic, we must keep our AAC users safe by regularly disinfecting and cleaning devices. For additional ideas on how to minimize AAC users' exposure to germs, check out AssistiveWare in the Core Word Classroom.

Guidance from Apple

Guidance from Tobii Dynavox

Guidance from PRC-Saltillo

Universal Core Vocabulary

Universal Core vocabulary represents a subset of the words we use most frequently and in various ways. Focusing on these words with beginner communicators or learners with complex communication needs can enhance learner communication in all environments. Get started communicating today by printing a Universal Core vocabulary board and start modeling. To learn more about Universal Core vocabulary and how to use it, check out the link.

Universal Core Vocabulary Alt+Shift Quick Win

Supporting Communication for Learners who use AAC

The Project-Core website has short, easy to implement modules on a variety of topics including how to model the use of communication systems, how to teach communication during daily routines, and teaching communication during academic instruction.

Project-Core Homepage

Emergent Literacy for Students with Complex Communication Needs and Significant Disabilities

Emergent literacy learners are those who may not yet know most of the letters most of the time, participate/interact during book reading, have a communication system in place, or understand that writing involves letters and words. Project-Core modules are also available on emergent literacy practices including Shared Reading, Predictable Chart Writing, Alphabet and Phonological Awareness, Independent Reading and Independent Writing.

Project-Core

Conventional Literacy for Students with Complex Communication Needs and Significant Disabilities

Conventional literacy learners are those who can communicate meaningfully with others, identify most of the letters of the alphabet, and understand that print carries meaning. The Dynamic Learning Maps Professional Development (DLMPD) website offers modules on how to teach text comprehension through Anchor-Read-Apply, writing with alternative pencils, as well as a variety of other topics.

DLMPD Learning Modules Homepage

Tar Heel Reader

Tar Heel Reader offers a collection of free, easy-to-read, accessible books on a variety of topics. Books can be printed, read or listened to online.

Tar Heel Reader

Tar Heel Shared Reader

Tar Heel Shared Reader combines Tar Heel Reader books with a communication board that supports adults in modeling comments while engaging learners with significant disabilities during shared reading.

Tar Heel Shared Reader

Aided Language Input (Modeling)

Modeling (i.e. pointing to one or more symbols while speaking) teaches learners how to use their AAC. Everyone can model AAC throughout the day. The first video illustrates how to engage in modeling in all environments. The second video describes the S’MoRRES mnemonic with steps on how to model to your learner. S’MoRRES stands for Slow down, Model, Respect and reflect, Repeat, Expand, and Stop.

Aided Language Stimulation (YouTube)

S’MoRRES (YouTube)

Build Communication Partner Skills

Everyone in an AAC user's life is a communication partner, (i.e. parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, etc.). Learn how modeling, waiting, making comments, avoiding prompts, and responding to communication attempts can make you a stronger communication partner.

Assistiveware: Build Communication Partner Skills

AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom

Create a free account to access printable core word displays, ideas/planners on how to teach core vocabulary during daily activities, and fun 5-minute communication activities.

AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom

Board Games and AAC

If you're looking for fun ways to model and use AAC, get out your games! AssistiveWare provides targeted vocabulary and communication examples for several games.

AssistiveWare: The Games We Play

Boardmaker Online

Boardmaker Online is currently offering a 30-day free trial. Boardmaker Online can be utilized to create materials such as choice or communication boards. Within Boardmaker Online, you'll also find Reading Avenue, an accessible program that focuses on emergent literacy skills.

Boardmaker Online

Boardmaker Student Center App

This free app for iPads, computers, and Tobii Dynavox communication devices allows individual learner access to interactive, fully accessible, activities via Boardmaker Online.

Boardmaker Student Center App

Boardmaker Activities-To-Go

A free collection of leveled thematic units that include books, games, communication boards, behavior supports, and more.

Boardmaker Activities-To-Go

Boardmaker Core First Learning

Access a variety of books focusing on each of the 36 core words as well as lesson plans for how to extend learning. Communication overlays for GoTalk, ProxTalker, QuickTalker, SuperTalker, Tech Speak, and Tech Talk are also available at the bottom of the link to the right.

Boardmaker Core First Learning

CoughDrop

CoughDrop provides the ability to access, personalize, and expand voice-output communication boards. CoughDrop is an open, flexible AAC application that can run on any system, including desktop computers and laptops, iPads and iPhones, Android tablets and phones, Kindles, Chromebooks, and Windows devices. CoughDrop is offering a free two-month trial period.

CoughDrop


Mathematics for Learners with Disabilities

The Challenge: Math activities are confusing or uninteresting.

Strategies to Make Math More Interesting and Less Confusing Resource
Learning Trajectories (Birth to Grade 3 Content, applicable to a wide range of learners)

This resource can help people better understand the natural learning path a learner follows when developing math concepts. By understanding the small learning steps a learner needs to take, you can support them reaching larger mathematical goals. If learners struggle, at any level, it may be caused by missing skills within the trajectories that require more time and support to develop.

Using the trajectories can:

  • Help you recognize what your learner is currently capable of and how to support him/her to reach the next developmental level.
  • Help you to find areas for growth that can be further developed.
  • Give you ideas for activities to use at home.

Accounts are free and resources are currently being developed for at-home use. For more information on how to use this resource, use the Alt+Shift Quick Win.

Number and Operation, Fractions, Measurement, Geometry, Algebra

Learning Trajectories

Alt+Shift Learning Trajectories Quick Win

Doing Math at Home with Learners with Complex Communication Needs, sensory impairments, and physical impairments (Elementary - High School)

This document provides guidelines on how to engage in math activities with a variety of learners.

Number and Operation, Geometry, Algebra

3 Steps for Doing Math at Home with Learners with Complex Communication Needs, Sensory Impairments, and Physical Impairments

Development and Research in Early Mathematics Education (DREME) - Family Math (Birth to age 8, applicable to a wide range of learners)

Family Math prepares professionals who work with families to support parents and caregivers in promoting children’s development of early math skills.

The At-Home Early Math Kit is a printable PDF offering ideas for families to engage in math discussions with their children in different ways (e.g., meal prep, reading time, games to play, discussions to have). It is available in English and Spanish.

The Family Math site is an online resource bank that can be used by educators and families. The site offers more activities like those found in the printable kit. Be sure to explore the Community board for more ideas as well.

At-Home Early Math Learning Kit for Families

DREME Family Math

Intervention Strategies for Learners Who Struggle (Elementary - Algebra)

Sarah Powell, one of the principal investigators of Project STAIR (Supporting Teaching of Algebra: Individual Readiness) has a collection of videos categorized by topic on her website that offer instructional practices that support students with learning difficulties. Many videos use manipulatives in the demonstration. You can find manipulatives below in the tools section for at-home use.

There are more resources for educators on the Project STAIR website under the Educator’s Resources tab.

Number and Operation, Fractions, Algebra

Intervention Strategies

Project STAIR

Math is Visual (Elementary - High School)

This website was designed to help build a deeper understanding of math using pictures and videos. Learners develop mathematical understanding first by seeing and building mental models. Learners who struggle can be supported using this visual strategy.

Number and Operation, Fractions, Measurement, Geometry, Algebra

Math is Visual

Tools to Make Math More Interesting and Less Confusing Resource
Manipulatives (Elementary - High School)

These learning tools (e.g., blocks, counters, coins) can be used to help learners build number sense by seeing and touching the math. They support mathematical thinking and problem solving through a multi-sensory approach.

Number and Operation, Fractions, Measurement, Geometry, Algebra

Free Math Apps K - 6

Virtual Manipulatives and Activities

Toy Theaters Virtual Manipulatives

Printable Manipulatives and work mats

Delta Math Visual Fluency Cards (Elementary - Middle School)

Visual fluency cards help learners strengthen and maintain basic fact fluency using visual models for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Directions are provided to guide the exploration and use of the cards with learners.

Number and Operation

Visual Fluency Cards

Digitally Accessible Mathematics (Upper Elementary - High School)

Equatio offers the ability to create digital equations, formulas, graphs, and functions and insert them into Word and Google documents. It is compatible with many operating systems and allows screen readers to access the math notation.

Texthelp offers Equatio to educators for free.

Number and Operation, Fractions, Measurement, Algebra

Get started with Equatio

Desmos (Upper Elementary - High School)

A free online graphing calculator that includes accessibility features for learners with visual impairments. There are also activities learners can engage with and an activity builder where educators and families can build their own.

Number and Operation, Fractions, Measurement, Geometry, Algebra

Graphing Calculator

Desmos activities

Alternative Paper and Pencils (all grades)

A number of applications have been created to allow students to show their math work using alternatives to paper and pencil. All of the apps linked here have symbols for elementary through high school math, and allow students to save and share their work.

There are three main formats for alternative paper/pencil apps:

  • A calculator or keyboard type experience where users select buttons to make numerals and symbols appear on the “paper.”
  • A blank area on the screen where learners use their mouse, finger, or stylus to write their math and and their writing is turned into typed math, and sometimes into graphs and tables.
  • A desktop experience where users “write” by typing and mouse-clicking

Fluid Math (free trial)

Math Type (free trial)

ModMath (free)

MyScript Math (Word Add On - free)

Panther Paper ($19.99)

At Home Ideas from People on Twitter

Investigations, a math resource website, has put together an ongoing collection of tweets from people doing math at home called “Suggestions from the Field.” The tweets are some examples of how you might address a variety of learner needs while reviewing and strengthening key math concepts. In addition to the original Tweet (with a photo), the authors of the site suggest ways the activities can be done with learners of different ages.

Suggestions from the Field


Learner Engagement

The Challenge: Learning opportunities are confusing or uninteresting.

Learn Strategies That Increase Learner Engagement Resource
Engaging with learners and families during remote teaching

The Michigan Low Incidence Work Group convened to build a resource that would be relevant and responsive, and could be used any time, anywhere, by learners with significant disabilities and their families. Click through to the resource, find your major challenge, peruse some promising practices, and then click through to promising practices to learn more about them.

Supporting Students with Significant Disabilities During Remote Instruction

Online Learning Plan Template

A user on Twitter shared this Online Learning Plan and Letter to My Teacher template to help students reflect, strategize, and communicate their needs during online learning while also being proactive in her planning for potential challenges that could arise with distance learning. Credit: Isabel Morales, EdD (@isabeljmorales) on Twitter.

My Online Learning Plan

Best Practices for Teaching Learners with Disabilities via Distance Learning

This information from the Council for Exceptional Children provides tips and ideas for teachers who are engaging in distance learning.

Best Practices for Teaching Learners with Disabilities via Distance Learning

Learner Engagement

Each idea is divided into What Teachers Can Do and What Parents Can Do. The article also includes a link to a Slack community for teachers and parents to talk about how they are supporting learners with disabilities through remote learning.

Ten Ideas for Keeping Students with Diverse Learning Needs Engaged at Home

Choice Boards

Choice can motivate learners by allowing them to direct their own learning. Choice boards help teachers and parents address individual needs of learners and differentiate lessons for diverse groups of learners. Note, the link in the article to examples is no longer active, but a Google image search for “choice boards” will yield many examples.

Using Choice to Motivate and Differentiate

Visual Schedules

A visual schedule uses pictures to assist learners in processing verbal information, decrease anxiety, assist with transitions, and increase independence. Visual schedules can be written on a whiteboard, piece of paper, or created using pictures or an online tool.

Visual Schedules

Supporting Individuals with Autism Through Uncertain Times

The free online toolkit consists of evidence-based, ready-made resources that include social stories explaining COVID-19, strategies to calm and cope with increased anxiety, visual supports, and choice boards.

Toolkit for Supporting Individuals with Autism During COVID-19

Accommodating Learners with IEPs during the Emergency Remote Instruction Phase

When transitioning to Emergency Remote Instruction, all learners should have an equitable opportunity to learn. This reference sheet helps guide teachers, learners, and parents through the transition to home-based learning when working with an education plan to support learners with disabilities.

IEP and 504 Plan Reference Sheet

Distraction Free and Safe Video Sharing

Safe YouTube and SafeShare are two free services that let viewers watch and share videos safely. Turn YouTube and Venmo links into “safe” links that open the video in a window with a “pure view,” free from ads, links, and comments that might be distracting, offensive, or inappropriate. Each service has its own set of features that are similar, but different.

Safe YouTube SafeShare

Family Guide to At-Home Learning

This digital or printable guide has practical strategies that work for helping children of all ages who may be struggling with an at-home learning task. Families may find these strategies useful when helping their children complete various tasks at home.

At-Home Learning Guide


Guidance from the Michigan Department of Education

Downloadable guidance documents

Description Resource
MDE COVID-19 Education Information and Resources

The Michigan Department of Education provides information and guidance to assist local school districts, educators, and families in providing education during the pandemic. Those resources are all linked on this page.

MDE COVID-19 Education Information and Resources

MDE OSE Special Education Guidance

The Michigan Department of Education Office of Special Education houses guidance documents on the Special Education Guidance page of the MDE website. Information on this page is intended to support school districts by providing information and guidance in response to the impact of COVID-19 school building closures on students with individualized education programs (IEPs).

Special Education Guidance

Strategies to Use During Extended Time Away From School

This Family Matters Fact Sheet from the Michigan Department of Education Office of Special Education provides strategies to support children with intellectual and developmental disabilities during extended times away from school. Strategies can be used at home to help learners with new routines and to reduce worry and anxiety. The strategies are universal, meaning they work for learners with and without disabilities.

Navigating Extended Time Away From School: Information for Families With Children Receiving Special Education Services