SXSWedu 2013

What Invasive Species Taught Me About Dyslexia

The Giant Reed and Elephant Ear. It was a lot easier to take down these invasive species than to read about them. I longed to battle these exotic plants in nature than confront them on the printed page, where they had the advantage. Rather than give them the upper leaf, I embraced technology to discover more about my opponents and learn how to defeat them.

Join me as I share my journey as Commander Ben, The Invasive Hunter, and describe the tools and techniques I use to protect my native ecosystem and tackle my dyslexia. I'll describe:

(1) Learning: Speech and audio technologies.
(2) Creating: Blog and video series.
(3) Teaching: Multisensory Invasive Hunter Academy.

It's been a hard path, but I've learned to work with my dyslexia and use my strengths and unique teaching style to help others and our native ecosystem at the same time. I'll share with you new ways to help your dyslexic students, so they can become Invasive Hunters both on and off the printed page!

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  1. What tools and technologies do you find the most effective for learning? Listening to the spoken word is a great way for dyslexics to learn. I'll talk about the text to speech technologies that dyslexic students can use to make web content accessible when classroom teachers or books from Learning Ally are not available. Fieldwork and action also play important roles in the learning process. I'll show how to use accessible mobile apps when working with invasive species in nature.
  2. How can you create compelling content with dyslexic friendly programs? Speech to text technologies have helped me write blog posts and translate my stories to the written word. I'll show how using these features on mobile devices help dyslexics easily capture their thoughts. I also create videos about invasive species for learning and entertainment. I'll show you tools that helped me bring my scripts to life and that will help bring your dyslexic student's creativity to the next level.
  3. What techniques do you use to teach kids with different learning styles? As a dyslexic, I understand how important it is to use different mediums and experiences for teaching kids about invasive species. In addition to my videos, I'll show you how I created the Invasive Hunter Academy as a multi-sensory experience for budding invasive hunters. I'll talk about my adventures presenting at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and at the US Botanic Garden in Washington, DC.



Benjamin Shrader, Commander, Invasive Hunter Academy

Meta Information:

  • Tags: environment, accessibility
  • Event: EDU
  • Format: Solo Presentation
  • Track: Accessibility and Special Education
  • Session Focus Area
  • Level: Beginner
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