Tips For Itinerants

The beginning of the school year means scheduling, organizing and inservicing – oh my! For itinerant teachers, one of the biggest tricks to starting the school year is getting to everyone in a timely manner to educate them on their student – hearing loss and its impact on learning, accessibility, and technology needs. At best, this can be overwhelming and difficult as one tries to do this with an entire caseload of students, spread around different levels and different schools and, for many of us, even different cities! Couple that with the general education teacher’s beginning of the year schedule, to-do list, and general overwhelm. It can be a recipe for failure! One thing to remember: Inservicing is an ongoing process. It does not happen once at the beginning of the year and then not again until next school year. The beginning of the year is only an introduction – effective inservicing should be ongoing.

How can you get important information to everyone in a timely manner in a way that people can absorb it? How does one efficiently provide ongoing inservicing and support in an already tight schedule? Consider sending a video that can be emailed and accessed when convenient and revisited when needed. This can be an introduction to a topic or need, letting an individual know you’ll be back and will follow up, or can be a short inservicing or follow up on its own. At the beginning of the year, a video can be used to introduce yourself and give immediate “Need To Knows” to teachers, administration and others.

Below is a list of possibilities in using such technology throughout the school year:

  • Introduce yourself to staff, families, administration, and new students.
    Send student reminders about skills they are working on, upcoming visits, or just to check it.
  • Create tutorials such as “Hearing Loss 101” or “How to Use an FM System.” These can be made once, saved in your account, and sent however often you need to send them.
  • Have students create their own teacher inservices about their hearing loss and their needs. While some students are not yet comfortable approaching a teacher to advocate for themselves or to explain their needs, often times they are more comfortable making a video.
  • Interview students and “introduce” them to other DHH students so students realize they are not alone in their hearing loss. (Of course get parent permission before you share their video with others.)
  • Sign language tutorials for parents, teachers, and the students themselves
    Show and tell of what a student is currently working on. This can support the general education teacher as well as families in knowing current skills and expectations as well as help them support skill development in the general education classroom and at home.
  • Troubleshooting tutorials for the FM system and other technology.

Of course this is not an exhaustive list. There are many more ways to utilize video technology in building capacity in working with your students as you work to enlist the village.

Consider the use of the Chrome add-on LOOM (useloom.com). This easy to use free Chrome add-on simply requires an easy download, a laptop or desktop computer and a webcam. You then record your message which is saved in your Loom account. It takes about 30 seconds to download and save the video. A link is then given for a specified recipient to access your recording. To show you how easy it is to create and share videos in Loom, I have provided a short visual tutorial. View a LOOM video version describing how to create a video here.

 

To get Loom on your desktop or laptop (unfortunately, it is not yet available on your tablet or smartphone), go to www.useloom.com. You need a google account to access this add-on. After you have downloaded Loom, you are ready to record a video.

From here on out, you will notice that you now have an icon on the top of your tool bar. This icon looks a little like a flower. From almost any webpage (there are a few exceptions), you may click on that icon and Loom will automatically launch. There is no need to sign in to your account each time or even go to a special webpage.

At this point, you will have the opportunity to choose how you want to use Loom. You may utilize the camera only, your computer screen only, or both. It depends on your goal as to which one you will use. If you are making a tutorial from something on the web, then you probably want to view the screen. For example, suppose you want to review key vocabulary and concepts from a science video for a student who signs and read lips. You have the ability to capture the science video and as well as yourself, emphasizing key concepts and vocabulary during the video. On the other hand, suppose you want to do a trouble shooting tutorial for staff for when the FM isn’t working. In a situation such as this, you would only need the camera and not the computer screen. Therefore, you would want to utilize the camera only. Click on your choice of recording style and click “record now.” Loom will give you a countdown prior to recording.

Link is ready to share!

Once you have completed your video, Loom downloads it into your account in about 30 seconds. From there, you can send it out immediately if you so choose. However, you also have some fantastic options prior to sharing it. For example, you can mark spots in the video for quick reference. For instance, if you are sending home a book for a family to read with their child, and have recorded signs for vocabulary and concepts, you can mark where each sign is shown in the video. Simply pause the video, type the desired word, and hit return.

Loom automatically saves the spot in the video at the exact time you have referenced it. The viewer can click on the word on the side, and the video will automatically jump to the right spot. Videos may also be trimmed if desired. When you are ready to send the link to others, you can either automatically send it from Loom, or you can copy the link and send it yourself in an email.

This Chrome add-on can save you hours of emailing and travel time, reduces the need to go to a classroom for quick check-ins and reduces emergency visits to fix a “broken” hearing aid that simply needed a new battery.

It can also provide more education, ongoing support and feedback for families, staff and even students. This allows you to have more quality time when face-to-face, providing a stronger and more consistent impact as you work to raise up a village that can support your DHH students.

When you need to be 4 places at once and there is no time in your schedule, this Chrome add-on is a life saver. If you need to connect with 10 teachers in a single day and educate them on your student – hearing loss and its impact on learning, accessibility, and technology, by using an add-on like Loom you can do it, no problem!

For more tips and tools for those who work with DHH students, check out the professional trainings available at The Online Itinerant’s website at www.TheOnlineItinerant.com.

By Stefanie Kessen, The Online Itinerant for Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss, © 2018

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