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BrainWorks Conference 2013

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  1. 1. Assistive Technology: Lowering Barriers Brain Works 2013
  2. 2. November 2, 2013
  3. 3. The bias toward “naked independence” Education places a premium on knowledge that is contained in one’s head The AT world termed this form of bias ‘naked independence’, as it exults the performance of able- bodied individuals and devalues the performance of others who must rely on external devices or tools.
  4. 4. Remediation vs. Compensation How do we decide if the best course of action is remediation (i.e., additional instructional time, different instructional approaches) versus compensation (i.e., recognizing that remediation has failed and that compensatory approaches are needed to produce the desired level of performance)?
  5. 5. Purpose of UDL Purpose of ATL To proactively design learning To retrofit learning environments (goals, materials, environments to reduce or methods and assessments) to remove barriers to student reduce potential barriers for a learning which increases, wide variety of users which improves or maintains the supports access to and functional capabilities of progress in the Programs of individual students with special Study for all students. needs in educational settings. Both UDL and ATL support increased educational participation and achievement!
  6. 6. Assistive Technology What is it?
  7. 7. Alberta Definition Assistive Technology for Learning (ATL) is defined as the devices, media and services used in learning environments to overcome barriers for students with physical, sensory, cognitive, speech, learning or behavioural special needs to actively engage in learning and to achieve their individual learning goals.
  9. 9. AT services are... • are the strategies, ideas, supports and personnel that are necessary to make the device(s) work functionally for the person and include: • knowledge and expertise about the student • the assessment process • evaluation of the tools • training • strategies for implementing the devices
  10. 10. Making Differences Ordinary
  11. 11. “Barriers to learning are not, in fact, inherent in the capacities of learners, but instead arise in learners’ interactions with inflexible educational materials and methods.” Rose & Meyer, 2002
  12. 12. A mash-up from
  13. 13. A mash-up from
  14. 14. A mash-up from
  15. 15. The Average Student • Doesn’t exist
  16. 16. From DIS-ability to VARI-ability From Average to Unique
  17. 17. Animal School
  18. 18. Dear Teacher, I want to learn, I want to be independent, but sometimes your curriculum is the disability. When you give it to me in paper form, I can’t access it. When text is digital, I can manipulate it. I can make it bigger, pick the right font, add more white space – it’s easier to read. When text is digital, I can add a voice and listen to it. I don’t have to struggle with reading each word. Please don’t make me read outloud; I work so hard to avoid humiliation. Do you know,  I have great ideas…but I can’t get them down on paper? Please give me another way to share them. Paper just doesn't work for me. I need you to know……I’m  not stupid……I want to learn You just have to remove the barriers for me. I can’t read my own writing but there are other ways…..  Give me other ways to show what I know. I can’t sit still….so let me move. Do you know, I really, really want to learn? If you make videos of your instruction, I can review them at home….as often as I need to. I want to learn, I want to be independent.  Will you teach me                         Reach me                                    Engage me                                 in a way that works for me?
  19. 19. The big worry...
  20. 20. UDL and Assistive Technology for Learning
  21. 21. How to determine appropriate AT?
  22. 22. The SETT Framework The SETT Framework is a tool that helps teams gather and organize information that can be used to guide collaborative decisions about services that foster the educational success of students with special needs.
  23. 23. Critical Elements • Collaboration / Teaming • Multiple Perspectives • Creating a Shared Knowledge/Understanding • Communication • Pertinent Information (making decisions based on information/ data) • Flexibility & Patience • On-Going, Iterative Process
  24. 24. Think Differently Theory: “Reading is getting information from some ‘recorded’ source into your head: Writing is getting information from your head into a ‘recorded’ form which others can access.”
  25. 25. Cognitive Energy motor comprehension decoding working memory attention anxiety motor planning sensory organization processing speed
  26. 26. Toolbelt Theory Ira socol
  27. 27. What’s in Your Tool Belt?
  28. 28. Text to Speech Text-to-speech would benefit students: • with a reading disability related to decoding • who decode below grade-level expectations and/or struggle with typical grade-level materials • who are emergent readers who would benefit from accessing text above their current decoding level • with a visual processing difficulty • learning English as another language • who would benefit from hearing written text read back during the editing process of a writing assignment.
  29. 29. Word Prediction • increase writing fluency, allowing students to generate more writing • provide auditory support to confirm word selection • lessen the gap between potential and achievement as demonstrated through written expression • allow students to develop their written expression skills by freeing up cognitive energy previously devoted to spelling or fine motor efforts • reduce frustration with writing • support vocabulary development and increase variety and complexity of words used in writing • reduce the number of keystrokes needed and reduce writing fatigue • provide spelling assistance • improve legibility of written products • improve overall quantity and quality of written work including sentence structure and grammatical accuracy of text • support reading (of words on screen) as an integral component of the writing and revising process (when the text-to-speech function is used) • increase independence in producing written work • build writer confidence and increase engagement through the ability to produce written output with less energy and frustration.
  30. 30. Speech to Text • shift the focus from the physical act of writing to that of expression and organization of thoughts and knowledge • enable students to generate written output that better represents their true oral language skills • increase written output and legibility • allow students to alternate between typing and speaking as needed • support students in working independently within grade-level expectations enabling them to experience and participate in the writing process (planning, composing, revising and editing written work) • improve writing products across all subject areas • improve endurance and reduce writing fatigue by eliminating the physical act of composing to paper or keyboard, and by decreasing the memory demands of spelling • decrease anxiety associated with mechanics, organization and editing, and increase learner engagement • allow for increased independence in writing • provide pronunciation practice in a safe, lowstress environment for students learning English as a second language.
  31. 31. Visual Thinking Tools • focus attention on key elements • integrate prior knowledge with new knowledge • integrate new knowledge • enhance concept development • visually represent their thinking process • visually build conceptual understanding of new concepts and see how ideas are connected • clarify thoughts • prioritize, sequence, organize, analyze, and synthesize information and ideas • enhance note-taking through the recording of information using symbols or pictures • create memory prompts by reducing cognitive load through the use of visual images • support their personal learning preferences (e.g., visual, auditory, text, video).
  32. 32. Volume Demands • Readability turns any web page into a clean view for reading now or later on your computer, smartphone, or tablet • Simple English in Wikipedia reduces the amount of content
  33. 33. Decoding Challenges • built in text to speech (almost all devices) • free software like NaturalReader • Digital Repository • PDF Readers like GoodReader • e-books and audio books
  34. 34. Alternate Books • Bookflix • Tumble Library • Tarheel Reader
  35. 35. WatchKnow • 3000 categories • vetted by teachers • free • app & web based
  36. 36. 60 Second Recap
  37. 37. 10 X 10
  38. 38. Glogster
  39. 39. Educreations turns iPad into a recordable whiteboard (screencasting) voice recording, realistic digital ink, photos and text create a free account on and choose who can view your lessons simple sharing through email, twitter
  40. 40. Notability annotate PDF’s handwriting recording organizing media insertion
  41. 41. Strip Designer & Comic Life Creative writing/representing knowledge Comic templates, talking bubbles, stickers, email Can import own photos
  42. 42. ThingLink Create interactive images App & web based
  43. 43. •“The success of technology has more to do with people than machines. All the right parts and pieces together won’t work miracles by themselves. It is people who make technology powerful by creatively using it to fulfill their dreams.” Alliance for Technology Access, 1996