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2010-11 Rainbow Creek - Digital Repository

Today’s schools must accommodate students from different ethnic groups, language groups, cultures, family situations, and social and economic situations, with different interests and purposes for learning, and different abilities and styles of learning. In the face of all this diversity, schools can no longer operate as if one curriculum and way of teaching will fit most of the students. Instead, students can pursue a common set of curricular goals or learning standards, accomplishing them in different ways and sometimes to different degrees of mastery.

-          National Institute for Urban School Improvement, 2000

Proposal

Diversity is a reality in all schools today. At Rainbow Creek Elementary School (RCES) where approximately 20% of our student population is English Language Learners, 5% require Individualized Program Plans, and at least another 5% benefit from adapted program plans, our teachers work hard to differentiate instruction, often in a reactive manner rather than in a way that is proactive.  For the teachers to be more proactive in the design of instruction, it is essential for them to have materials that will allow all students, regardless of their particular learning style or need, to have access to the curriculum.  In an educational system that continues to rely heavily on print-based materials, alternative resources are often difficult to find and must instead be created by teachers.  In Rocky View Schools (RVS) we are lucky to have access to Premier Assistive Technologies, a product which enables access to print-based material through text-to-speech technology.  What we do not have ready access to are the digital resources that could be used with this program.  It is with that end in mind, that we are writing this proposal.

At the center of RVS’ learning model is improving learning for each learner.  In order to address the needs of the diverse student population of RCES, we are proposing to create a repository of accessible instructional materials.  Following the principles of Universal Design for Learning, this repository would allow our staff to provide multiple means of representation and multiple means of engagement.  It would also allow for our students to be more independent learners and therefore better prepared for the challenges of learning in the 21st Century.

The repository would consist of materials that would provide options for perception through alternatives for auditory information and alternatives for visual information.  It would also house materials that would provide options for language and symbols through options for decoding text or mathematical notation; and options that illustrate key concepts non-linguistically.  Finally, there would be materials that provide options for comprehension including those that activate background knowledge, highlight big ideas, and relationships and support memory and transfer. The materials would be organized by grade level and curriculum.

To create the digital repository, we anticipate that materials will come from two different sources, those that are commercially available and that we would purchase through our school budget for textbooks; and those that would need to be created by staff.  To develop the teacher-created resources, we will require:

  • a high speed scanner with Optical Character Recognition.  This would be used to scan text-based materials including but not limited to novels.
  • digital video cameras.  We would use these to record teachers and/or students as then create videos that can be used to show specific knowledge or skills within a curriculum area.
  • recording devices.  These would be used in conjunction with our school’s digital still cameras and Macs to create enhanced podcasts that would illustrate specific skills and knowledge.
  • iPods Touches.  We would use these devices for recording adults and/or competent student readers to create audiobooks for our less capable readers and/or our English Language Learners.  We would also purchase translation software for both devices so that they might be used to translate materials for our English Language Learners and thereby make the curriculum more accessible.

 

We also anticipate that we will need a secure place to store the digital materials that we create. Initially we would house the materials on our school’s server but over time would foresee posting them to a secure section on our website where other elementary teachers in RVS might be able to access them and/or post other resources to share.  As with the digital textbook repository that has been developed by Alberta Education, we would expect that individuals who access the materials would abide by Canadian Copyright laws.

Through our proposed digital repository, accessible instructional materials will be readily available to our classroom teachers making it easier for them to appropriately differentiate instruction and thereby improve learning for each learner in their classroom(s).

 

Budget:

Description

Quantity

Unit Cost

Cost

Epson Expression 10000XL Graphic Art Scanner with

Automatic Document Feeder

1

1

 

$3000.00

$1500.00

Flip MinoHD video camera (2h)

- personalized for the school

5

239.99 USD

$1199.95

USD

Logitech ClearChat™ Comfort USB Headsets

- one per teacher

OR

Bluetooth Headset from Jabra or Plantronics

- one per teacher which would also allow for recording of lessons while teaching

18

 

 

18

49.99

 

 

49.99

$899.82

 

 

$899.82

Logitech USB Desktop Microphone

6

39.99

$239.94

8GB iPod Touch

6

249.00

$1494.00

iPod Applications – varying prices; specifics yet to be determined

unknown

unknown

in kind

In addition to these capital costs, we anticipate that we will require some substitute time to facilitate some of the initial work and we will provide that at the school level.

 

 

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