Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Learning On the Go: Podcasts and Webinars and You Tube, Oh My!

I love to learn and share what I have discovered with others, hence the blog.  And there is ALWAYS something new to share.  This time, I wanted to divulge some of the favorite ways I learn on the go.  

Podcasts are digital audio files available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically. (Thank you Google for the definition).  With the Podcast App on an iOS device, you have access to an immense amount of downloadable information.  But be aware of your internet connection during the downloading process.  If you are not in a wifi zone, downloading will eat your data on your phone.  I download and update at home before I leave for work and then just hook it up to my blue tooth in the car to listen.  Here are a few of the podcasts in my listening bank:

  • A.T.TipsCast: SLP Chris Bugaj provides tools and tips for implementing assistive technology in the K-12 setting
  • Assistive Technology Update- Wade Wingler at the INDATA Project of Easter Seals Crossroads of Indiana hosts a weekly series that highlights the latests news and technology as it  relates to assistive technology and those who use them
  • Accessibility Online Webinars Series- Accessibilty Online is a collaborative training program between the ADA National Network and the US Access Board providing webinars and audio conferencing discussing topics related to accessibility.
  • Accessible Technology Webinar Series- The Great Lakes ADA Center discusses the access issues related to technology and communications technology, especially at the workplace and social media level.
  • ADA Audio Learning Series- The Great Lakes ADA Center provides in-depth information related to the American with Disabilities Act.
  • The Web Ahead- Though this is an IT forum, host Jen Simmons dedicated 3 shows specific shows (#64, #69 and 77#) related to Accessibility and WCAG- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
webinar is a live meeting that takes place over the web. The meeting can be a presentation, discussion, demonstration, or instructional session. Participants can view documents and applications via their computers, while shared audio allows for presentation and discussion (again, thanks Google for the definition).

If you have wanted to stay in your pajamas while drinking your coffee AND getting continuing education credits, webinars are the way to go.  Generally, less than 2 hours in duration, and hopefully interactive, webinars often go through Power Point slides while hosting a discussion via a feed of some sort.  Here are some I have venues I have taken advantage of:
  • Center for Technology and Disability Institute: Provides an array of FREE webinar and post-webinar chats on assistive and instructional technology concepts for special education.  You may receive a certification of participation for your records.
  • AOTA:  The American Occupational Therapy Association has webinars and online course that are approved for Continue Educational credits.  They range in price and if you are a member, sometimes they are discounted.
  • RESNA: The Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America provides courses related to all sorts of assistive technology related information from powered mobility to positioning and augmentative alternative communication.  There are Member and Non-Member prices.  They are also accredited to provide CEUs.
  • ABLENET University: AbleNet, a well known source for a variety of therapeutic and educational products, has a collection of live and recorded FREE webinars.  You may receive a certification of participation for your records.
You Tube:
Yes, you can watch Talking Animals (which I do, and I am proud of it) but did you know you can often find tutorials on assistive technology devices and strategies?  Just search the device you are looking to get help on, and chances are someone has created a video.  Or subscribe to YouTube channels like:
  • INDATA Project: Easter Seals Crossroads provides video reviews and how-to tutorials on a variety technology
  • ATinNH The A.T. Macguyver herself, Therese Willkomm and staff provide how-videos on low tech  adaptations.
On Line Modules:
Sometimes you can find courses that chunk out information a little at a time, like on-line modules. 
Assistive Technology Internet Modules: Each module gives you information with pre and post- topic quizzes.  And you can earn continuing ed credits.

So, if you are looking to broaden your knowledge base in the comforts of your own home, or on the go, try your hands at some of these resources.  And if you know of any good sources of information, please share in the comments section, and I would love to add it to my list!

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