No and Low Cost Training Resources Every Educator Should Check Out Now

Reposted with permission from

In preparation for a new year many schools will begin with several days of on-site professional development for educators. While training is never a bad thing, much of the information gained prior to the beginning of a school year can go right out the window as soon as the craziness of the first few days of school occur.

Knowing this is likely to occur, it is a good idea to take advantage of additional professional development opportunities throughout the year. While conferences are great, time and budget constraints rarely permit for a week long trip to a conference across the country. If this is the case in your setting, I’ve listed a few alternative budget friendly options below.

For years individuals have rated online professional development lower than face to face training opportunities, but research continually suggests that they are equally effective. In many cases I actually prefer online training opportunities because a.) I can find specific training focused on the area I am interested in b.) it is frequently shorter and accessible 24/7, and c.) many are free or very reasonably priced.

Online training can take the form of a webinar, series of videos, case studies, or even streaming audio. For example if you are a Read&Write Gold user, Texthelp offers a variety of opportunities depending on your interest. These include (click hyperlinks to be taken directly to offering):

In addition to resources from Texthelp there are many additional low or no cost Assistive Technology related web-based training available. For example:

  • Ablenet offers many live and pre-recorded webinars on their website covering topics ranging from creating accessible content to switch access and much more.
  • Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) offers monthly webinars from top notch presenters on a variety of topics. While not free, the price is usually very reasonable for the content being delivered.
  • Similar to ATIA, Closing the Gap also offers quality monthly webinars related to Assistive Technology at a reasonable price. In fact, Texthelp is partnering with Closing the Gap to provide a free webinar on Using AT Accommodations to Assist with PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessments on September 4th at 3pm Central.

There are of course also many resources that go beyond Assistive Technology available. A few I recommend include:

Resources for quality web-based professional development opportunities could go on forever, but hopefully this gives you a good starting point for exploring what is out there. I would love to hear what other resources you find beneficial. Please share any that you recommend in the comments section below.

Jason Carroll

Jason first learned of Assistive Technology while working on his undergraduate degree where much of his spare time was spent assisting a regional education centre with basic technology needs. Amazed at how this technology could benefit so many students (particularly those he grew up with) he was hooked and immediately became an expert at the centre. After receiving his Masters, Jason returned to the coop to serve as a full time Assistive Technology Consultant serving over 200 schools in the central Kentucky Region. Since this time, Jason has trained thousands on Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning concepts throughout the United States and beyond. His focus is on integrating research based practices into the work he does and helping others ensure that what they are doing works. He specialises in assisting people to bridge the gap between operation of technology and actual implementation. Jason is a published author, has taught Instructional Technology and Universal Design for Learning at the University level, and spends a significant amount of time on e-Learning and blended learning initiatives. He is a graduate of the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP) from California State University at Northridge and holds a Masters in Business Administration. Currently Jason serves as Product Marketing Manager for North America at Texthelp Inc. where he oversees new product launches and speaks nationally on a variety of Assistive Technology topics.

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