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Educators from across New York take part in disability workshops on SU's campus

July 11, 2011

Anthony Adornato
(315) 443-6173

While their students are on summer vacation, 105 public school librarians, general educators and special educators from across New York state are spending time in a “summer school” at Syracuse University.

For three weeks, teams of educators are attending innovative workshops through Project ENABLE, which assists them to meet the library and information needs of K-12 students with disabilities. Project ENABLE is a collaborative endeavor of the Center for Digital Literacy at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) and the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University.

BBI Director of Legal Research and Writing William Myhill and iSchool Assistant Professor Renee Franklin Hill are teaching the in-depth training workshops focused on awareness, inclusive program development and accessible technology selection. Myhill and Franklin Hill will assist participants in the development of inclusive lesson plans and learning materials for their respective libraries and schools.

“I am very excited to collaborate with this talented group of education professionals toward ensuring students with disabilities fully access and benefit from the information age,” says Myhill, who previously served as a special education teacher, working with children having diverse special needs.

The iSchool will be video recording the instructional segments, and they will be part of a freely accessible website that provides online self-paced, interactive training that simulates the workshop content and activities.

“I am really looking forward to having a high level of interaction with K-12 educators who truly believe in and want to learn instructional strategies that will ultimately benefit all students,” says Franklin Hill, who has worked as a middle school special educator and school librarian. “Co-teaching the workshops gives me an opportunity put into practice the very topics I research and I’m excited about that.”

Project ENABLE is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The overall purpose of the project is to provide ongoing professional development to raise the level of librarians’ understanding of and sensitivity for the library and information needs of students with disabilities and their ability to develop programs and services, provide adequate facilities, and select appropriate resources and technologies to meet those needs.

“We are so appreciative of IMLS for recognizing the importance of this project and providing us with the funding needed to offer this critical training to New York state’s librarians that is certain to positively affect the education of students with disabilities throughout the state,” says Ruth Small, Laura J. & L. Douglas Meredith Professor at the iSchool and director of the Center for Digital Literacy.

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