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Current trends in Assistive Technology for Education

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  • Here are the five most significant trends in AT development, according to NCTI:1. Convergence. NCTI defines this as the consolidation of various technological systems into “a single platform to perform multiple tasks”–such as the iPhone and other smart phones or mobile devices.These devices have the ability to run multiple applications that can support and accompany students with disabilities throughout their daily activities.For example, the brief mentions that students in Taiwan are engaging in an after-school program with smart phones and the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) network. With this technology, students and teachers are able to interact to an extent that was not possible before.In the United States, an iPhone application called iSigns can facilitate communication between deaf students and others who do not sign. Other iPhone apps for students with disabilities include Picture Scheduler, which helps students with autism create and organize personal tasks, and iPrompts, which provides visual prompting tools to help students understand upcoming events and make choices.Other examples of convergent technologies include e-Book reader devices and online sites that cater to handheld technologies, such as Bookshare.org, which is an online library of digital books underwritten by the Education Department for students with qualifying print disabilities.2. Customizability and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). According to the brief, customizable AT is designed so that it “can be configured in different ways to meet the needs of individual users.”UDL simply means customizing software to meet the needs of a diverse group of learners. For example, a UDL curriculum should offer multiple means of representation (that is, it should give learners various ways of acquiring information), multiple means of action and expression (it should give students several alternatives for demonstrating what they know), and multiple means of engagement (it should motivate and challenge different learners appropriately).While much educational software has included customizability in recent years, NCTI urges developers to include elements of UDL to help all learners succeed.Gaming, another technology that recently has gained momentum in education, is also an area that needs work, says the brief. “Although game developers have not traditionally focused on accessibility and customizability, there is a growing movement to ensure that developers keep these features in mind as they design games,” it says.For instance, some organizations, such as Universally Accessible Games and the International Game Developers Association (IDGA) Game Accessibility Special Interest Group, have supported designing games with customizable features that will make them universally accessible.Some UDL features for gaming include the captioning of dialog, text-to-speech capabilities for on-screen text dialog and instructions, the ability to magnify areas of the screen, the ability to use an adapted controller in place of the standard one, and customizable colors for color-blindness.Other UDL recommendations include offering variations in the degree of difficulty and additional supports for users, such as guides and features that highlight important points or reward effective strategies.3. Research- or evidence-based design. With technology changing so rapidly, researchers are beginning to realize that studies of AT’s effectiveness should focus on features, usage, and the user population, rather than individual products, NCTI says.“As features beneficial to users with and without disabilities become commonplace on everyday electronics, AT researchers have found that to stay current, they need to recognize that state-of-the-art research and evidence may come from other disciplines or from consumer testing and demands,” the brief notes.Even without formal studies or market research, it says, AT specialists and developers can determine utility, interest, and efficacy simply by reading reviews, determining the number of downloads, and talking or chatting online with users.Currently, research that provides information on which features are most effective for which populations, under which conditions, and for which tasks is still in the early stages, especially for new technologies, the report says.Yet initial research in the area of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices has shown that AAC systems with static visual-graphic systems might be more effective for users with autism, whereas other users might benefit more from speech-generating devices.Also, “the advent of new technologies and multimodal communication abilities in both mainstream commercial communication devices and AAC devices has led to further confirmation of research that multimodal approaches (voice output devices, gesture, sign, facial expression, picture symbols, and computer-based technologies) are most effective in meeting a wide variety of communication needs in a variety of environments,” the brief says.4. Portability. To help promote independence, portability is critical, says the report. While the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires schools to educate students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment, portable technologies are helping to redefine the mandate of “least restrictive environment” and are boosting independence.One example of portable AT is a laptop computer, especially a netbook. Many of today’s laptops have a host of accessibility features, and netbooks allow for an even smaller, lighter solution.Taking the idea of portability one step further, says the brief, is a growing movement toward high-quality, fully portable, open-source AT. Under this model, students can carry AT software on their jump drive and use it whenever appropriate.CLiCk, Speak is one example of software that can be downloaded onto a jump drive and is described as “the only free, professional-grade screen magnifier that works across remote desktop software.”5. Interoperability. According to the brief, interoperability can mean many things for AT used in school, home, and community settings. It can refer to a device that can be used on multiple computer platforms, such as Windows or Mac OS X; or it can mean “the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged.”NCTI believes that as the technology industry moves toward software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing, the potential is growing for AT software applications that are not installed on a particular machine, but rather are accessed through the internet from any machine.“As ubiquitous internet access becomes a reality in schools, this trend may empower users of specific software licenses to use that software on whatever machine they are near, thus eliminating the need for resource rooms or specialized AT labs,” says the brief.Another example of interoperability is when programs can share and compile data. One example is TeachTown, a software program that provides autism services and coordinates data and communication among parents, teachers, and clinicians. Sharing data facilitates communication, boosts the effectiveness of the clinical intervention, and eliminates the need for teachers or clinicians to transfer data manually into the school’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) records, says the brief.According to NCTI, these five trends are critical to defining current state-of-the-art AT; however, technology developers must remember that “keeping it simple” is really the key to successful AT tools.“NCTI hears this plea from … parents and caregivers as well. Too often, the sophistication of the features or interface of new devices precludes easy use by direct consumers or their parents, teachers, and friends. With more students being served in general-education classrooms of up to 30 students, devices need to offer as little complexity and facilitate as much independence for the user as possible,” the brief says.“It’s not just about adding new features to the stuff we already have,” explained Tracy Gray, director of NCTI. “We must ask the question: What do we need to solve, and how can we do that?”The brief also underscores the importance of state-of-the-art AT training for educators, and it lists possible uses for IDEA-based stimulus funding for schools.
  • NCTI defines this as the consolidation of various technological systems into “a single platform to perform multiple tasks”–such as the iPhone and other smart phones or mobile devices.Run multiple applications that can support and accompany students with disabilities throughout their daily activities.iSigns communication between deaf students and othersPicture Scheduler, which helps students create and organize personal tasksiPrompts, which provides visual prompting toolse-Book reader devicesonline sites for online library of digital books underwritten by the Education Department for students with qualifying print disabilities.
  • According to the brief, customizable AT is designed so that it “can be configured in different ways to meet the needs of individual users.”UDL simply means customizing software to meet the needs of a diverse group of learners. For example, a UDL curriculum should offer multiple means of representation (that is, it should give learners various ways of acquiring information), multiple means of action and expression (it should give students several alternatives for demonstrating what they know), and multiple means of engagement (it should motivate and challenge different learners appropriately).While much educational software has included customizability in recent years, NCTI urges developers to include elements of UDL to help all learners succeed.Gaming, another technology that recently has gained momentum in education, is also an area that needs work, says the brief. “Although game developers have not traditionally focused on accessibility and customizability, there is a growing movement to ensure that developers keep these features in mind as they design games,” it says.For instance, some organizations, such as Universally Accessible Games and the International Game Developers Association (IDGA) Game Accessibility Special Interest Group, have supported designing games with customizable features that will make them universally accessible.Some UDL features for gaming include the captioning of dialog, text-to-speech capabilities for on-screen text dialog and instructions, the ability to magnify areas of the screen, the ability to use an adapted controller in place of the standard one, and customizable colors for color-blindness.Other UDL recommendations include offering variations in the degree of difficulty and additional supports for users, such as guides and features that highlight important points or reward effective strategies.
  • Major features of the PlayStation 3 console include its unified online gaming service, the PlayStation Network,[12] and its[13] connectivity with the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita,[14]
  • 1 With technology changing so rapidly, researchers are beginning to realize that studies of AT’s effectiveness should focus on features, usage, and the user population, rather than individual products2 “As features beneficial to users with and without disabilities become commonplace on everyday electronics, AT researchers have found that to stay current, they need to recognize that state-of-the-art research and evidence may come from other disciplines or from consumer testing and demands,” the brief notes.3 Currently, research that provides information on which features are most effective for which populations, under which conditions, and for which tasks is still in the early stages, especially for new technologies4 “the advent of new technologies and multimodal communication abilities in both mainstream commercial communication devices and AAC devices has led to further confirmation of research that multimodal approaches (voice output devices, gesture, sign, facial expression, picture symbols, and computer-based technologies) are most effective in meeting a wide variety of communication needs in a variety of environments,” the brief says.
  • To help promote independence, portability is critical, says the report. While the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires schools to educate students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment, portable technologies are helping to redefine the mandate of “least restrictive environment” and are boosting independence.One example of portable AT is a laptop computer, especially a netbook. Many of today’s laptops have a host of accessibility features, and netbooks allow for an even smaller, lighter solution.Taking the idea of portability one step further, says the brief, is a growing movement toward high-quality, fully portable, open-source AT. Under this model, students can carry AT software on their jump drive and use it whenever appropriate.
  • Can mean many things for AT used in school, home, and community settings. It can refer to a device that can be used on multiple computer platforms, such as Windows or Mac OS X; or it can mean “the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged.”Cloud computing, has the potential is growing for AT software applications that are not installed on a particular machine, but rather are accessed through the internet from any machine.“As ubiquitous internet access becomes a reality in schools, this trend may empower users of specific software licenses to use that software on whatever machine they are near, thus eliminating the need for resource rooms or specialized AT labs,”Another example of interoperability is when programs can share and compile data. The brief also underscores the importance of state-of-the-art AT training for educators, and it lists possible uses for IDEA-based stimulus funding for schools.
  • Goal #1: Learning: Engage and EmpowerAll learners will have engaging and empowering learning experiences both in and out of school that prepare them to be active, creative, knowledgeable, and ethical participants in our globally networked society.Goal #2: Assessment: Measure What MattersOur education system at all levels will leverage the power of technology to measure what matters and use assessment data for continuous improvement.Goal #3: Teaching: Prepare and ConnectProfessional educators will be supported individually and in teams by technology that connects them to data, content, resources, expertise, and learning experiences that enable and inspire more effective teaching for all learners.Goal #4: Infrastructure: Access and EnableAll students and educators will have access to a comprehensive infrastructure for learning when and where they need it.Goal #5: Productivity: Redesign and TransformOur education system at all levels will redesign processes and structures to take advantage of the power of technology to improve learning outcomes while making more efficient use of time, money, and staff.
  • "We have to expect the very best from our students and tell the truth about student performance, to prepare them for college and career,“ "That means no longer allowing the achievement of students with disabilities to be measured by these alternate assessments aligned to modified achievement standards. This prevents these students from reaching their full potential, and prevents our country from benefitting from that potential.“Arne Duncan. On Friday, the administration posted a proposal to roll back the rule which would let states already administering alternate tests use them for the last time this school year. The administration can act on its own accord and is gathering feedback from the public until Oct. 7 before making a final decision.
  • Purchases of assistive technology through stimulus funds is a doubled-edged sword… if you jus purchased the technology but no professional development, where is the device?? Sitting on a shelf somewhere I bet. If you didn’t purchase technology, well, you still don’t have it. Consider purchasing technology as an investment for your teachers AND your students. The NCTI brief also underscores the importance of state-of-the-art AT training for educators, and it lists possible uses for IDEA-based stimulus funding for schools. (remember stimulus funds??) - did we learn anything?
  • AIMAIM Navigator (if time) http://aim.cast.org/navigator/page/Accessibility of online materials. PALM initiative – Purchasing Accessible Learning Material http://aim.cast.org/learn/practice/palm
  • Speaking of using technology for the sake of using technology… Consider the SETT framework when working with students – S E T T
  • BYO ATPolicies and opinions surveyShow results of survey at http://www.epsilen.com/Groups/Public/CustomTab.aspx?ToolID=3449&GroupID=TATNGroup
  • The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are an effort by states to define a common core of knowledge and skills that students should develop in K-12 education, regardless of the state they live in, so they will graduate high school prepared for college or careers.The standards were released in 2010 and are divided into two categories:K-12 standards, which address expectations for elementary through high school.College and career readiness standards, which address what students are expected to know when they graduate from high school.
  • The biggest acronym in higher education right now is MOOC, or Massively Open Online Course, which is a non-credit course made available online for free. Their popularity is making traditional higher education reconsider its online offerings. Because colleges and universities can no longer control who takes their classes, you will see a lot more secondary students taking advantage of MOOCs, either for themselves or because a teacher is using the content and adopting their professorial colleagues’ lectures in order to flip their classrooms.
  • Educational software has been trying to make activities more like the games kids play at home for years. They have also been trying recently to recreate social networking in their own safe, secure sandboxes. Both of these efforts  have met unpredictable success. Instead, more teachers are trying to meld their educational goals with the games and social networks that the kids already use in an effort to make the learning more authentic to them. While it takes a very creative teacher to tie “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” to their curriculum, anyone can start using Twitter with great results.
  • http://thejournal.com/Articles/2014/02/03/10-Major-Technology-Trends-in-Education.aspx?Page=1
  • Transcript

    • 1. Current Trends in Assistive Technology & Education Electronic resources can be found at http://bit.ly/ATKern Kirk Behnke, M.Ed., ATP
    • 2. Outline • Past developments for Assistive Technology (AT) in Education • 1975 – 2004 Legal Evolution of AT • 2009 NCTI brief : “5 Key Issues in Assistive Technology ” • 2010 National Education Technology plan • 2014 Current Issues • • 10 Top Tech Trends In Education Survey (Project Tomorrow, Feb 2014) • Current Issues & Trends: – – – – – – – – – – Student Assessment Funding Digital Instructional Materials Built-in Tools and Scaffolds Use of Mobile Technologies BYOD and flipped instruction Apps Common Core Curriculum MOOCs Authentic Gaming and Social Networking
    • 3. Past Developments • Shift from a medical to social model • Shift from professional driven to consumer driven services • Universal Design • Professional development & qualifications for AT providers • Continuing technological advancements 3
    • 4. The Legal Evolution of Access • EHA 1975 Access to schools • IDEA 1990 Access to classrooms • IDEA 1997 Access to general education curriculum • IDEA 2004 Access to instructional materials 4
    • 5. 2004
    • 6. Congressional Intent of IDEA 2004 • • • • Improved student performance Increased accountability Strong parental participation High expectations for student achievement • Linked to the general education curriculum • Accessible instructional materials 6
    • 7. Congressional Intent of IDEA 2004 IDEA 2004 affirms emphasis on Assistive Technology as a means to support educational achievement • Requires consideration of AT in the IEP process • Places responsibility for decision-making with IEP committees • Requires accessible instructional materials 7
    • 8. 2009
    • 9. 5 Key Issues in Assistive Technology (2009) 1. Convergence 2. Customizability and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) 3. Research- or Evidence-based Design 4. Portability 5. Interoperability Reference: National Center for Technology Innovation (NCTI) conference November, 2009 Article by Meris Stansbury, eSchool News 12/2009 9
    • 10. 1. Convergence • Single tech platform to perform multiple tasks • Run multiple applications – Application for access & accommodations – Application for productivity • Accessible e-book reading devices • Online sites for digital libraries/repositories
    • 11. 2. Customizability and Universal Design for Learning • Customizable assistive technology • Flexibility in software and applications to meet the needs of diverse learners • UDL strategies to offer variations for challenges and additional supports
    • 12. 2. Customizability and Universal Design for Learning (cont.) • Accessible gaming and “edutainment” • Some UDL features and access for gaming should include: – captioning of dialog – text-to-speech capabilities – ability to magnify areas of the screen – ability to use an adapted controllers – customizable colors for color-blindness. PlayStation Network
    • 13. 3. Research or Evidence-based Design • Assistive Technology effectiveness should focus on features, usage, and the user population, rather than individual products • Inherent accessibility on everyday electronics • Research needs to provide user information of technology re: – Features – Conditions – Tasks
    • 14. 4. Portability • To help promote independence, portability is critical – Least restrictive environment definition – portable technologies are helping to redefine “least restrictive environment” and are boosting independence. • “netbooks” – portable technologies • Open-source AT – Carry AT software on their jump drive and use it whenever appropriate.
    • 15. 5. Interoperability • Between operating systems • Exchanging information • Integration of “adaptive” software on a main drive for access throughout the campus • Cloud computing (sharing software applications)
    • 16. 2010/12
    • 17. National Education Technology Plan (2010-12) 1. Learning: Engage and Empower 2. Assessment: Measure What Matters 3. Teaching: Prepare and Connect 4. Infrastructure: Access and Enable 5. Productivity: Redesign and Transform Reference: http://www.edudemic.com/thisis-the-official-u-s-nationaleducation-technology-plan/
    • 18. 2014 Identified Current Trends in Assistive Technology and Education
    • 19. Moment for reflection… Student educational needs come first The SETT Framework S = Student/Skills E = Environment T = Tasks T = Tools Adapted from Joy Zabala www.joyzabala.com
    • 20. Assessment • Academic standards • Accountability of schools and teachers • Doing away with alternative assessments aligned to modified achievement standards • Public feedback • In Texas, “Life without a STARR-Modified”
    • 21. Stimulus Funds – Aftermath of stimulus funds and the “big spend down” • “…to consider investing in ‘state-of-the-art assistive technology and training’ affords the field a rare opportunity to define and shape (implementation).” • Note: NCTI brief also underscores the importance of state-of-the-art AT training for educators, and it lists possible uses for IDEA-based stimulus funding for schools. 21
    • 22. Digital Instructional Materials • Provision of accessible instructional materials – Students with Print disabilities who qualify – Students who don’t qualify as having a “Print Disability” • Publishers who offer online materials • Schools and Universities who offer online learning • Online repositories of instructional materials 22
    • 23. Built-in Tools and Scaffolds • Co-digital natives using and having built-in technologies readily available • Some schools and districts do not have the “just-in-time” supports that digital natives are used to at home • Website accessibility requirements – per section 508 and ADA requirements for receiving federal funds • School campus and district internet access • “Cloud” access and building capacity and infrastructure 23
    • 24. Use of Mobile Technologies • School or District Implementation • Platform specific or variety • Management of devices • Teacher training 24
    • 25. iPad introduced April 3, 2010 26
    • 26. Bring Your Own Device • BYOT, BYOD, BYO-AT • Bring Your Own Device issues: – Policies – Practices – Insurance/liability 27
    • 27. 5 Trends in Education for 2013 January 8, 2013 by Scott Sterling http://www.scilearn.com/blog/201 3-trends-education.php
    • 28. 1. Marriage of BYOD and flipped instruction • BYOD will lend itself to a flipped instructional classroom • Flipped instruction demands access to technology outside of school
    • 29. 2. Where are the apps? • Tablet devices acquired, check • Apps to run them, not checked (??) • Everyone has their favorite apps • Go back to SETT framework • Use the right app at the right time, for the right reason keeping in mind the educational goal of the student
    • 30. 3. Educational Companies and the Common Core • • • • Standards have been identified Knowledge and skills based K-12 and College and career readiness Recognize that implementation requires providing students with disabilities with a range of needed supports • Companies need to provide technology options and flexibility Reference: http://www.corestandards.org/in-the-states
    • 31. 4. MOOCs and secondary education • MOOC – Massively Open Online Course • Higher Ed efficacy of online learning vs. traditional face-to-face instruction • K-12 needs to prepare students going into higher ed on technologies, LMS and other technology competencies
    • 32. 5. Authentic gamification and socialization • Building in a “game” atmosphere for learning (engagement) • Building social networking platforms for education (e.g. edmodo) • Making learning more authentic and personal • Use of social media for your own professional development (Twitter, just sayin’)
    • 33. 10 Tech Trends Students Say Are Changing Their Education, Feb 5, 2014 • 2013 Speak Up Survey from Project Tomorrow, which CEO Julie Evans – preliminary survey results The 2013 results : • 400,000 surveys from 9,000 schools and 2,700 districts across the country Respondents included: • 325,279 students • 32,151 teachers and librarians • 39,986 parents • 4,530 district administrators
    • 34. # 10 What Devices Belong in the "Ultimate School" • Ranking of the relative importance of devices in their classroom experience: – Laptops (56%) – Digital readers (51%) – Tablets (48%)
    • 35. # 9 Social Media in Schools • Student use of twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outweighed Administrators, Teachers and Parents. • Students are looking at social media as a pervasive part of the way they are living
    • 36. #8 Gaming is growing; and the Gender Gap is Closed
    • 37. #7 An Increased Interest in Online Learning • Students desire to have more control over their own individual learning
    • 38. #6 Paying Attention to the Digital Footprint • 64% of HS students admitted to being careful about the things they post online • 39% said they advise friends about the content they post -- 32% saying they stopped interacting with friends who post inappropriate content • 44% of high school students said they believe a positive digital profile is an important part of their future
    • 39. #5 Using Different Tools for Different Tasks “They like the devices, but they are more focused on using the right tool for the task at hand,” and many times tablets don’t seem to fit.
    • 40. #4 Mobile Devices for Schoolwork • Use mobile devices for day-to-day tasks and leverage their learning process • 12% of respondents said they used their mobile device to text their teacher during class
    • 41. #3 Use of Video for Classroom and Homework • 46% of teachers are using videos in the classroom • 33% are using video to supplement their own learning – “Kahn Academy effect” • 23% of students are accessing video created by their teacher
    • 42. #2 Internet Connectivity • 64% using a 3G or 4G enabled device to connect to the internet at home • and 23% additionally through internet enabled TV or Wii console
    • 43. #1 Personal Access to Mobile Devices – 62% wanted to bring their own devices to the classroom
    • 44. Discussion: The future of AT is… • to improve student performance on a variety of technology and non-technology tools • a tool to lift student educational and life expectations • built-in features access for everyday technologies • to prepare our students to advocate for their own accommodations in a digital world • addressing student needs which are foundations for good AT implementation 46
    • 45. Kirk Behnke, M.Ed., ATP Senior Education Specialist, Special Education, Region 4 ESC kbehnke@esc4.net Private consulting contact http://MAKtechsolutions.net kirkatp@outlook.com Twitter @kbehnke