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Press Release

Monday, November 29, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

To The Core Podcast Features Equipment for Students with Disabilities

~ New podcast segment highlights IDEA 35th anniversary ~

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Education (DOE) today posted the next segment of To the Core, a podcast series hosted by Florida Teacher of the Year Cheryl Conley. In honor of the 35th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the segment features equipment that students with disabilities can use to increase their access to education.

“The services and equipment highlighted in this important podcast shows the ongoing efforts to put every Florida child on an even playing field,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “The resources needed could be as simple as a pencil grip or as complex as communication devices, but assistive technology can assist in making sure every child’s education is tailored to fit his or her specific needs.”

The podcast includes demonstrations of several customized computer stations, technological devices and software programs to increase accessibility, including ways teachers can provide the equipment to students with disabilities in their classrooms.

“We are excited to present this latest To the Core podcast to spread the word about the 35th IDEA anniversary,” said Cheryl Conley. “The importance of ensuring all children in our state have access to a meaningful education – and that teachers know how to obtain and use the available technology – is important to ensuring they have the tools needed for a brighter future.”

Based on the individual needs of a student, equipment may be accessed through a variety of resources. Schools may obtain equipment on a trial basis for the purpose of assessment through the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS) State Technology Loan Library. For more information on the FDLRS State Technology Loan Library, visit http://www.fdlrs-tsll.scps.k12.fl.us/. Teachers interested in professional development relating to the use of assistive technology, accessible instructional materials, or universal design for learning may contact their FDLRS Associate Centers at http://www.fdlrs.com/.

To the Core is a regular podcast produced by the DOE that provides an opportunity for teachers to learn about issues impacting their profession from Department leadership. The podcasts are housed on iTunes U, which provides free multimedia content to schools, parents, students, administrators and teachers both in Florida and around the world.

To download the To the Core podcast, visit http://deimos3.apple.com/WebObjects/Core.woa/Browse/inFlorida.edu.3353724031.03353724037.5314652260?i=2002833462.