[Dan and Amy are in Paris attending a conference organized by UNESCO and Microsoft entitled “Accessible ICTs and Personalized Learning for Students with Disabilities: A Dialogue among Educators, Industry, Government and Civil Society.”  Dan is writing a series of reports from Paris.]

I have to say we have made  a tremendous amount of progress with our navigation. We now have three points of reference, the Seine River, the Eiffel Tower and the elevated train. Using these landmarks we did not get lost so we are ahead of schedule. We walked to the Tower after completing the conference today and it was amazing. It is quite a sight to see. I will attach some pictures tomorrow as the memory card was full today. We are starting to get the hang of some basic phrases in French, such as: bonjour, merci, pardon, au revoir, cappuccino, espresso (oh wait are those French? Well, those are some very important words when trying to adjust to a different time zone that is 9 hours ahead).

We continued to have a great meeting today. The emphasis of our discussion was to go over what UNESCO had created for teacher competencies for information and communication technology (ICT) in the classroom. UNESCO spent 4 years developing a program to establish and check the competencies of educators around the world. They did a tremendous job creating a framework that I cannot wait to share with our facility. This framework was designed to be open and be adapted to the country in which it was adopted by. The challenge we faced was finding ways to include competencies of ICTs for individuals with disabilities. The group that I was  a part of noticed that because the document did not specifically include individuals with disabilities, we would generate an annex to the original document that would supplement the current document as it stands. This has created a new action for UNESCO and project that we hope to be able to collaborate on. Some of the main aspects of this annex include: online accessibility, that it will be a living document that has the capability of being updated as new technologies emerge, and that there would be a process by which a group or committee is responsible for updating and filtering the information available. Alright, that is enough technical jargon for tonight.

Posted by: Dan, Speech-Language Therapist

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