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Channel Your Inner Nerd Workshop

Page history last edited by Mallory Burton 7 years, 8 months ago

Workshop Background

I created this workshop to employ more of the ideas of UDL, Backwards Design, Cooperative Learning and Inquiry.  I had tried to UDL-ize my existing demo and practice workshops by gearing the activities more toward implementation and adding alternative materials/choices within the workshop but that just didn't go far enough.  I was still just adding better ramps to an outdated structure.  I felt I needed a completely different approach to planning, one that would get participants doing something more similar to what I do in my work as an AT consultant.  After all, if I want participants to think the way I think they have to experience doing what I do:  look first at a combination of student need and tasks to be completed and then go searching for tech or non-tech options that address that need. 


In this workshop, participants go back in time and meet Ray Kurzweil who has invented a reading machine and is about to create a piece of software that improves on the reading machine concept.  Participants role-play software designers/evaluators/field testers to learn the features of Kurzweil software. I have taught this workshop successfully and would love to hear from anyone who tries it. I feel this workshop particularly addresses UDL Guideline 7 under engagement:  options that enhance relevance, value, and authenticity because it resembles what I actually do as an AT consultant more than demo/practice.


Mallory Burton


How to View/Download the Documents 

Click on the link and then on the Download Tab to view/download the documents.

 Everything except my introductory Notebook presentation (20 MB!) is posted here and licensed as CC Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike. 


Sample Agenda and Preparation Tips


Channel Your Inner Nerd Agenda.doc


It works well if you coordinate the colours for the team signs and all the handouts related to that topic. It was also fun to have some nerdy Star Wars and Angry Birds flash drives for the electronic versions of the handouts and the two KESI files that are needed in the presentation.


I found that groups of 2-3 work well so if you have a group larger than 9 just have multiple teams for each topic.  You will need one computer for each group.


Handouts for Software Design/Evaluation Role-Play section of workshop. 

Participants look at student need and come up with a wish list of features they would like to see in the software.  Then they explore the software to determine whether their features have been included, rate how user-friendly the features are, and record where help can be found about the features.  They also learn as much as possible about the features using the Help index and How-to videos in order to report back to their colleagues.


Be sure to monitor the teams during this activity to make sure they're just sticking to the basic features you are going to ask them to report back on later.  This activity takes about 15 minutes and provokes a lot of interesting discussion as participants recognize students who are similar to theirs.  


Team Reading - Wishlist - Revised.doc

 Team Study Skills - Wishlist - Revised.doc  

Team Writing - Wishlist - Revised.doc



Handouts for use by participants to follow along when teams report back to the group about their features. 

Participants can make additional notes on these handouts as their colleagues present on the features. The Wishlist column has been transformed to "how do I"  questions.


The teams should only present on features 1-5.  This takes about 15 minutes for each team.  I found they need a bit of coaching during their presentations to clearly show where the features are located and how to use them.  I found it's better for the teams to present just before the corresponding hands-on activity rather than have all the presentations at once so participants get a chance to try the features right away.

Teacher Reading - Handout - Revised.doc

Teacher Studying - Handout - Revised.doc

Teacher Writing - Handout - Revised.doc



Hands-on Tasks for Field-Testing the Product

I recommend you give a short demo of these activities before the participants try them on their own. Participants complete all 3 tasks.  

The activities should follow the team presentations.  For example, Team Reading presents and then do the Reading activities.

Activity  Beginner  Experienced 
Reading (15 minutes) Reading Activity Channel Your Inner Nerd.doc   Alternate Reading Activity Channel Your Inner Nerd.doc  
Studying (30-45 minutes) Studying Activity Channel Your Inner Nerd.doc   Alternate Studying Activity Channel Your Inner Nerd.doc  
Writing (30-45 minutes) Writing Activity Channel Your Inner Nerd.doc   Alternate Writing Activity Channel Your Inner Nerd.doc  


These following file is needed for the above activities.

Call of the Wild.kes (8 pages of the first chapter)


If there's time I do another little session on other ways to get files into Kurzweil and have the participants bring in an article from World Book Online and a graphic organizer from Education Oasis using the KESI Virtual Printer.  Also have participants use the Text or Sticky Note Tool to write on a graphic organizer once it's been imported. 

Scanning, Importing, and Converting Documents.doc




How Kurzweil Supports UDL (nice document summarizes UDL and shows how Kurzweil features support the UDL Guidelines)

CAST UDL Edition: Call of the Wild (excellent example of e-text with embedded supports) 




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