Freedom Scientific Learning Systems Group Presents
The WYNNing Word
How Do You Inservice a Large District?
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD has a Good Idea
Karie Lawrence, Special Education Coordinator of the
Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Houston, Texas has faced that dilemma. She has developed an effective plan to efficiently reach 7000 staff members spread out over 186 square miles at 74 campuses.
“My job is to research and find good learning alternatives for our special education population. If these alternatives require staff training, I need to make sure the training is user-friendly for the staff and that it is presented cost-effectively,” stated Ms. Lawrence.
What is user-friendly? Ms. Lawrence considers it to mean that her staff can access the training at their convenience, in their own time and place. “We realized that when considering the facts of distance and numbers, and we are the 25th largest district in the country, we needed to develop a unique delivery system for training. Staff needed to have choices.”
To accomplish this task, the district developed a blended model of training. “New technology has allowed us to use new tools to present training that is almost comparable to face-to-face. Since live trainings were not working for us, a change had to be made,” explained Ms. Lawrence.
CFISD incorporated Adobe® Connect™ videos into an Adobe portfolio in order for staff members to access training electronically. The main features of this plan are:
- Allows the training to be available at any time
- Is in a format compatible to all of the district's operating systems
- Can also be accessed at any time or place - at home or school
- Training can be broken into parts
- Staff development credits available
- Options that make the staff more amenable to participate in the training
Developing a Plan of Action
Now let's take a look at how they put their plan into action. We will use their WYNN training example.
Over the past 12 years, the use of WYNN at CFISD has evolved from one WYNN Wizard at each campus to 230 networked Wizards with concurrent licenses that allow students to access WYNN from any classroom. In addition to their flatbed scanners, they added two PEARL® cameras at each campus.
"The addition of the PEARL cameras has sparked a lot of renewed interest in WYNN. Even though I offered district and campus training after school, I could not keep up with the number of teachers wanting to be trained for adequate implementation of WYNN. I decided to use our Adobe Connect option."
To accomplish this task, Ms. Lawrence developed nine modules that are presented in a PowerPoint® presentation, a PDF document, or a video in Adobe Connect. This is what the modules include:
- Overview: How WYNN has evolved over the years and what we are currently using (PowerPoint)
- WYNN Installation: Directions on how to install WYNN over the network (PowerPoint and PDF)
- Creating Files and Folders: Information on how and where to save files and how to manage files on their campus. This module also includes copyright information.
- Blue Toolbar: This is a recording presenting the file management features of the blue toolbar in WYNN (Adobe Connect)
- Green Toolbar: This is a recording presenting the visual presentation features of the green toolbar (Adobe Connect)
- Pink Toolbar: This is a recording presenting the study skills features of the pink toolbar (Adobe Connect)
- Yellow Toolbar: This is a recording presenting the writing features of the yellow toolbar (Adobe Connect)
- Settings and Saving Settings: Discusses the options under Settings including saving settings for each user (PowerPoInt with screen shots)
- Using the PEARL Camera: Installation and directions for using the PEARL camera (PowerPoint with screen shots and images)
The Outline feature on the Writing Toolbar is demonstrated during the presentation. Ms. Lawrence and teachers already using WYNN find it to be exceptional for generating ideas randomly but in an organized fashion. This allows students to expand their ideas into well-developed papers.
Ms. Lawrence explained how teachers implement the use of the Outline tool, “We have purchased wireless keyboards for the resource classes so they can create small group or class outlines by passing the keyboard around the room. WYNN is projected on a SMART Board for everyone to see what is being typed. The outline can be expanded into paragraphs either as a group or individually.”
As she continued to elaborate on what is included in the trainings, Ms. Lawrence told us that since many of their students cannot generate text due to physical limitations, poor spelling skills, or processing difficulties, they have found that WYNN's Word Prediction tool has greatly helped these students to produce written work.
At the end of all modules, there is an assessment for teachers and paraprofessionals to complete in order for them to receive their staff development credit. Face-to-face training is offered for those who feel they may still need guidance after completing the module training. Ms. Lawrence explains, “While some teachers are still uncomfortable using technology as a learning tool, it is getting better with more and more staff development being delivered through technology.”
Implementation of WYNN
Ms. Lawrence first saw WYNN at their Regional Service Center. “The Center provides excellent information to stay current with the latest tools in the field of instructional and assistive technology,” she told us. “When I viewed WYNN at the Center, it was easy to see that this program offered valuable features and ease of use, and that has been proven time and time again over the past 12 years.”
Ms. Lawrence went on to explain that WYNN is used in a variety of settings. WYNN is available on their COWs (Computers On Wheels) laptop stations that are in all resource rooms. Most of the scanning is done in a resource room and saved on a campus shared drive that could be opened in any classroom. “Now with the addition of the PEARL cameras, scanning can be done anywhere with immediate results. With this wonderful new tool, we have seen a drastic increase in the use of WYNN!” Ms. Lawrence exclaimed.
Results of the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Approach
We all know that proper training should enhance the implementation of a program, but in reality, we also know that isn't always the case. We were very interested in finding out the results of the Adobe Connect modules upon the use of WYNN in the classroom.
Ms. Lawrence told us that this combination of an excellent program and excellent training has been good motivation for increased involvement in incorporating technology as a learning tool. She went on to say that in the past their problem was getting training to a large population. “Now with the new training modules, coupled with the newest features of WYNN, especially the PEARL camera, I hear "ooh's" and "ah's" coming from teachers.” She continued, “The teachers are telling me about how they will be using WYNN with specific students. They are excited to see SUCCESS for their students. I am so happy that we were able to provide the training that enlightens our staff to the wonderful options of technology!“
Anyone who deals with Staff Development knows what a tough job that can be, but imagine dealing with providing training for 7000 people. We salute Karie Lawrence and the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Houston, Texas for a job well-done!
If you would like more information about the Cypress-Fairbank ISD WYNN training, please contact Karie Lawrence.
Coming soon from LSG, our updated WYNN 6 Training DVD containing several new in-depth training videos! Learn more in our next WYNNing Word.
Keep an Eye on the News
We are pleased to announce that we are the recipient of an eSchool News Readers Choice Award as one of the top educational technology products of 2011.
Last fall eSchool News asked their readers to nominate technology products that they use in their schools to improve teaching or learning. The publication received nearly 1,400 nominations. From this, about 100 products were selected for awards and honorable mentions; readers felt these products were the most effective in schools and colleges throughout the United States. WYNN was awarded an Honorable Mention in this category.
“We are delighted that readers of eSchool News not only recognize the importance of products for struggling students, but that they singled out WYNN as deserving special recognition,” said Roberta G. Brosnahan, Vice President and General Manager of the Learning Systems Group.
To see a complete list of the winners, please visit eSchool News.
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Tip of the Month
Voice Emphasis may be used to bring attention to words, phrases, or sentences that have been put in boldface type.
To initiate this feature:
- Choose Speech Settings in the Settings menu.
- Select "Emphasis Voice" in the Voice Selection list.
- To distinguish the Emphasis Voice from other voices, you can select a different voice in the Name list; modify the speech rate using the Rate slider; increase or decrease speech volume using the Volume slider; or select any combination of these settings.
- Select the "Use Emphasis Voice for Bold, Etc." check box.
As an example:
If you were trying to emphasize that a silent 'e' at the end of a word makes the first vowel long, you would bold each appropriate word and then follow the instructions above.
Take, make, date, and mate would be read by a different voice from the other words in the sentence thus emphasizing the phonics rule of vowel - consonant - e makes the first vowel a long one and the last one silent.
We are sure that you have many other ideas to incorporate this feature into your teaching with WYNN! Let us know about them so we may share them with our readers. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About Freedom Scientific LSG
Freedom Scientific, Learning Systems Group provides products that are acclaimed for their easy-to-use interface, innovative technology, and flexible but powerful features. Designed by educational experts to enhance the learning process for struggling students, WYNN provides reading and writing solutions. Freedom Scientific also is the leading worldwide provider of assistive technology products for those with vision impairments. To find out more about our products, please visit us at www.freedomscientific.com/lsg.
WYNN™ is a trademark of Freedom Scientific, Inc.
PEARL® is a registered trademark of Freedom Scientific, Inc.