Benetech is pleased to introduce Marcus Green, Benetech’s Outreach Coordinator based in Atlanta. Marcus is a technology educator in Dekalb County and an Instructional Designer (Digital Learning Innovations (DLI) at Kennesaw State University. We are thrilled to have him as part of the Benetech and Bookshare team. Please read below to learn more about Marcus and the work he is doing in Georgia to further equity in education.
How does Benetech’s mission align with your career and work you do?
My passion is helping others reach their potential through learning. One thing that drew me to Benetech was the model around “Software for Social Good”. The ability to help students achieve their goals and improve their quality of life is one my greatest drivers.
What do you believe is the greatest barrier to literacy for students?
I believe one of the greatest barriers to literacy for students is engagement with quality reading material. We are inundated with so much media that it can be hard to find quality materials specific to a students’ needs and interests. This is even more apparent with our students who have special needs, and because of this may miss opportunities to find and use reference and other educational materials in ways that work for them. Benetech addresses that gap by providing our students with the means to learn and enhance their lives with free access to quality media in a range of accessible formats.
What does education in Atlanta look like right now?
“Schools in Atlanta have an average ranking of 4/10, which is in the bottom 50% of Georgia public schools” (publicschoolreview.com). For me, this means our students need additional help including both internal and external support and tools; There is a lot of work to be done to help our students. As an educator for over 20 years, I can say that students who are not able to read will have academic, emotional and social issues if not remedied. The services that Benetech’s Bookshare platform offers, helps level the playing field for our with disabilities, and gives them the opportunity to raise the bar on their academic aspirations, improve their current capabilities, and succeed both at school and in life.
How do you think a technology platform like Bookshare can best help students develop a love of lifelong learning?
Naturally, when students are able to easily and readily access books and other materials they enjoy, they will become lifelong learners. Becoming a lifelong learner requires that you read and learn – enabling new mindsets and skills.
Could you share an example of how you have seen Bookshare inspire and help a student or teacher have a breakthrough moment?
I had the opportunity to see Bookshare in action when I watched the excitement in the eyes of a student who wanted to read a book but was unable to read because of barriers. Bookshare allowed the student to access the same book with the barriers removed so they could read the same book as their peers in a way that worked for them, I knew it was empowering for the student.
What advice do you have for administrators, teachers and care givers who aren’t sure if Bookshare is right for their students or available in their district?
My advice to administrators, teachers, and care givers who aren’t sure if Bookshare is right is to try it out. No other organizations offers what Bookshare opens up for our students. From my perspective, if it helps our students learn and grow then it is a no brainer to adopt and encourage its use to make learning more inclusive for all students.
Are you a teacher or educational specialist based in or around Atlanta? Do you want to learn more about how you can work with Marcus and Benetech to help eligible students get access to Bookshare? Reach out to Marcus at [email protected].