Current Trends in AssistiveTechnology for K-12 Settings Kirk D. Behnke, M.Ed., ATP CSUN Technology and Persons with Disabilities Annual Conference February 25, 2013 Electronic resources can be found at http://bit.ly/ATtrends Back channel: http://todaysmeet.com/ATTrends
Past Developments • Shift from a Medical to Social model • Universal Design • Professional development and endorsement of qualifications for AT providers • Technological Advancements 2
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 3
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 4
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 5
5 Key Issues in Assistive Technology1. Convergence2. Customizability and Universal Design for Learning (UDL)3. Research- or Evidence-based Design4. Portability5. Interoperability Reference: National Center for Technology Innovation (NCTI) conference November, 2009 Article by Meris Stansbury, eSchool News 12/2009 6
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. Run multiple applications that can support and accompany students with disabilities throughout their daily activities. iSigns communication between deaf students and others Picture Scheduler, which helps students create and organize personal tasks iPrompts, which provides visual prompting tools e-Book reader devices online sites for online library of digital books underwritten by the Education Department for students with qualifying print disabilities.
Customizability andUniversal Design for Learning 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. 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 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.
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 “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. 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 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.
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.”
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.” 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.
National Education TechnologyPlan (2010)1. Technology can fundamentally change the learning process2. Technology in the next generation of assessments3. Connect teachers with peers and experts for resources4. Build infrastructure to support access in and out of school5. Harness the power of technology
Sequestration of IDEA funds Under sequestration, federal funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act will be reduced by $1,053,600,000 in 2013, or 28 percent of the total reduction to education programs. A $1.1 billion reduction in IDEA federal funds in 2013 will put the federal contribution toward the cost of special education back to its 2005 level. As a result, this will force school districts to either reduce services beyond what is needed to provide a FAPE to students with disabilities or supplement the shortfall with local funds (not likely in this economy) Close to 15,000 special education teachers could lose their jobs Fewer support personnel and possibility of fur-lows Fewer resources to pay for assistive technology tools and services
Current trends K-12 settings are facing Aftermath of ARRA 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).” Provision of accessible instructional materials Students with Print disabilities who qualify Students who don‟t qualify as having a “Print Disability” Common Core Standards Teachers are preparing for a variety of instructional shifts with the introduction of the Common Core State Standards 15
Use of Mobile Technologies (and use of AT) Digital natives using and having built-in technologies readily available BYOT/BYOD/BYO-AT School or District Implementation examples Lewisville ISD Katy ISD Aldine ISD – android tablets BYO-AT -- Region 4 Education Service Center & Texas Assistive Technology Network (TATN) Survey and results 16
In conclusion…..The future of AT depends on:• a collaborative team effort to build networks• increase awareness of AT devices and services• the sharing of the common goal of providing the most appropriate technology intervention for the student. 17