Sunday, June 9, 2019

A Guide to Sharing Positive Education Stories in Social Media

Haben Girma and Lisa Nielsen
Accessibility Expo 2019
Haben Girma, the first deaf-blind student to graduate Harvard Law spoke at an Accessibility Expo to a New York City Department of Education audience about the importance of sharing positive disability stories and services available. 

At the Expo attendees saw amazing work happening in schools with students. If you did not have the opportunity to attend, you don't have a way to find out about what's happening. That's because schools, districts, government agencies, and those who use their services, often can do a  better job of sharing. They forget about sharing their QR codes and hashtags and websites. They forget to celebrate on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.

As a result, important stories and services are not widely known. Haben Girma has useful advice for how educators about how they can do a better job of posting positive stories. 

Girma advises the following:


  • Frame the story in a respectful, positive way. 

Post accessibly

  • If you're posting a video, make sure the video has captions. 
  • If you're posting a photo, add an alt text.

You can learn from Girma directly in the video below. You can also find out how she is able to communicate with hearing person communicate. When you visit the video, turn on the captions. You'll see why they are helpful for people with and without disabilities. 

Want to know more? Check out Girma's Brief Guide to Producing Positive Disability Stories.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

#NYCSchoolsTechChat on Our Annual Summit: July 31st

Logo for the #NYCSchoolsTech Summit on July 31, 2019 at LaGuardia HS | 100 Amsterdam Ave | New York, NY 10023

During this month's #NYCSchoolsTechChat we will discuss how what we are going to share and learn at this summer’s #NYCSchoolsTech Summit.

Participants can join us for the chat, then come to our in-person Summit on Wednesday, July 31st.The Summit is free to educators.  You can visit the #NYCSchoolsTech Summit site to register and get more information.

#NYCSchoolTech teacher Eileen Lennon moderates with me (Lisa) throwing in my two cents. 

You can prepare for the conversation by thinking about answers to these questions:

Q1 Let’s get newcomers excited. What advice do you have for newbies? What makes the trip worth it? Refresh your memory. See past workshops at  #NYCSchoolsTechChat

Q2 At the #NYCSchoolsTech Summit you get to connect with vendors f2f. Who do you want to talk to? What do you want to learn? #NYCSchoolsTechChat

Q3 What are you most excited about learning at this year’s #NYCSchoolsTech Summit? #NYCSchoolsTechChat

Q4 We want you to submit poster sessions! What are you doing in the classroom that could be a poster session? #NYCSchoolsTechChat

Q5 What is something you immediately put into practice after last years #NYCSchoolsTech Summit or hope to learn at this year’s Summit? #NYCSchoolsTechChat  

Q6 Go into those archives and share some photos from last year’s #NYCSchoolsTech Summit. #NYCSchoolsTechChat  

Chat details are below:
Date: Thursday, June 6
Time: 7:00 pm
Topic: #NYCSchoolsTech Summit
Your Host: @eileen_lennon (@NYCSchools)
Co-Host: @InnovativeEdu (@NYCSchools)

Remember to respond using the hashtag #NYCSchoolsTechChat and include the number of the question you are answering in your response i.e. A1 and your answer.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Lessons for Teachers about The World's Largest Minority Group

Student art at the ocean with a girl standing with her hands on the wheelchair with a boy sitting in it. There are birds and a rainbow in the sky. In the rainbow these words are written: Nothing about us without us.
Student art featured at the
NYC DOE Inclusion Expo 
Victor Calise, Commissioner at the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities and Haben Girma, the first deaf-blind person to graduate from Harvard Law, shared several lessons about the world's largest minority group with attendees at the NYC Department of Education's Accessibility Expo. The Expo was held at Brooklyn Law School on May 31st. 

Don't know what the largest minority group is? It is people with disabilities. They make up about one billion people world-wide.

Lesson's about the world's largest minority group

  • Innovation
    • Disability is an opportunity for innovation.
  • Accessible environments
    • People with disabilities are not disabled. The only thing that disables people is their environment. If we make the environment (physical, social, digital) accessible, we enable the person.
  • Special needs
    • When describing people with disabilities, you may want to rethink the term "special needs." We all have special needs.
  • Hold the mic
    • If a microphone is available when you are speaking, use it. Someone may need you to use it so they can hear better. Don't make them ask or stand out.
  • Employment
    • 75% of people with disabilities are jobless. Communities do a bad job of transitioning disabled youth from school to college or career.
      • Communities like New York City are getting better at addressing this need with programs such as NYC: AT WORK and Access VR. These programs help match people to jobs.
  • Overcoming disability
    • Reconsider thinking about how successful people with disabilities "overcame" their disability. Victor Calise said he would never trade in his disability. His disability is not to be overcome. Instead communities must help to remove digital, attitudinal, and physical barriers so those with disabilities can do whatever they want. 
  • Nothing about us, without us
    • Do not create, decide, build, name, make policies about something affecting disabled people without their participation and input. 
  • Don't be grateful

    • Non-disabled people should not feel grateful about not having disabilities. Haben Girma explains that this perpetuates hierarchies of us versus them. This continues the marginalization of people with disabilities.

  • Just ask
    • If you are unsure how to refer to someone's disability, ask them.

Want more?

You can watch an amateur Facebook livestream of each speaker. Unfortunately, captions are not automatic on Facebook, so the videos are not completely accessible. However, I did try to capture the sign language interpreter as I captured the videos, so there is some accessibility available. 

Victor Calise

Watch the 11-minute livestream.

Haben Girma

Part 1: 29 minutes. Haben begins at at 10:00
Part 2: 4 minutes
Part 3:  25 minutes