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Integrating Developmental Assistive Technology Education Into Special Education Programs At East Carolina University Dr. Melissa Engleman Professor, Special.

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Presentation on theme: "Integrating Developmental Assistive Technology Education Into Special Education Programs At East Carolina University Dr. Melissa Engleman Professor, Special."— Presentation transcript:

1 Integrating Developmental Assistive Technology Education Into Special Education Programs At East Carolina University Dr. Melissa Engleman Professor, Special Education East Carolina University Greenville, NC 27858 englemanm@ecu.edu 252-328-6828; 252-328-5324

2 Professionals have been successfully trained to use best assistive technology practices through East Carolina Universitys special education programs for over a decade Undergraduate and graduate courses in assistive technology, offered as part of the special education degree programs; and A Graduate Certificate Program in Assistive Technology. This presentation is about a revision of our undergraduate approach to AT training.

3 In a recent self-evaluation… We decided that the single-course method of teaching assistive technology in our degree programs could be improved upon by integrating assistive technology training into all of our special education courses, in a sequential and developmental order; and redesigning our single assistive technology course offerings to cover more advanced applications and topics.

4 Recent Literature There are few definitive recommendations for how assistive technology training should be offered (Smith, Kelley, Maushak, Griffin- Shirley & Lan, 2009; Brady, Long & Richards, 2007), But recent literature suggests special education teachers in the field who have been prepared using single-isolated-course training are not as well prepared. Most recommendations are that professionals in special education might be better served during their pre-service training by a developmental assistive technology skills and knowledge sequence, beginning early in their degree programs (Marino, Sameshima & Beecher, 2009; Judge & Simms, 2009; QIAT, 2005).

5 In 2010, we made the decision to integrate assistive technology with other special education topics and courses in our programs in a way that represented a developmental trajectory.

6 Examples We believe a developmental trajectory for pre-service teachers makes the training more meaningful and applicable to their everyday practice. This helps students make connections they have not previously made between what they do in the classroom and special education technology Assessment in Special Education Course Assistive Technology Assessment Communication in Special Education Course Augmentative and Alternative Communication Collaboration in Special Education Course Collaboration in Providing Assistive Technology Services

7 We kept the AT Course, but changed focus. We continue to offer a course dedicated entirely to assistive technology just before students enter into the full-time teaching internship. Instead of being an introductory course as before, this course now enables students to synthesize all that they have learned and helps them think across the curriculum and school day to ensure that assistive technology is a natural and pervasive part of the classroom environment and school day for the students who benefit from its use.

8 The Assistive Technology Center at ECU Our university-based assistive technology center, the Irene Howell Assistive Technology Center, has existed mainly in support of our special education programs. During self-examination during 2009-2010, plans were made for both program improvement and program expansion. First, the mission of the AT Center was redefined, and restructured. The primary purpose remained professional development in assistive technology, but the scope of the Centers influence was broadened. Also, we re-organized and moved things around…

9 Changes to the Center: We moved from rows of tables with machines like a computer lab, to interactive exhibit areas.

10 A Five Year Plan Began Year One: Infuse AT competencies into special education programs Year Two: Infuse AT competencies, where appropriate, in Curriculum and Instruction courses Year Three: Infuse AT competencies, where appropriate, in College of Education courses. Years Four and Five: Seek other courses on campus where infusion of AT competencies would be appropriate and work to support faculty.

11 IMPAcT! Instructional Model for Partnership with the AT Center: A five step process is being tested. Step One: Identify specific AT competencies relevant to the discipline; Step Two: Identify course(s) within the program where competencies may be infused; Step Three: Design activities and strategies to be accomplished in class meetings or in the universitys AT Center; Step Four: Identify evaluation strategies and products to confirm that competencies have been achieved; and Step Five: Provide intensive training to faculty who teach assistive technology topics.

12 SO, WHERE ARE WE NOW? Year One: The Special Education Program Area: The B.S. in Special Education

13 Step One: Identify specific AT competencies relevant to the discipline; We undertook the task of identifying Council for Exceptional Childrens (CECs) Competencies for Special Education Technology Specialists that would be important for graduating special education teachers receiving their initial license.Competencies for Special Education Technology Specialists Original Step Five was moved to be concurrent with Step One.

14 Sample Competencies from CEC Special Education Technology Specialists Standard 1Leadership and Policy Knowledge ACC1K1 Needs of different groups in a pluralistic society ACC1K2 Evidence-based theories of organizational and educational leadership ACC1K3 Emerging issues and trends that potentially affect the school community and the mission of the school ACC1K4 National and state education laws and regulations ACC1K5 Current legal, regulatory, and ethical issues affecting education ACC1K6 Responsibilities and functions of school committees and boards TE1K1 Concepts and issues related to the use of technology in education and other aspects of our society TE1K3 National, state, or provincial PK-12 technology standards Skills ACC1S1 Promote a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment ACC1S2 Promote high expectations for self, staff, and individuals with exceptional learning needs ACC1S3 Advocate for educational policy within the context of evidence-based practices ACC1S4 Mentor teacher candidates, newly certified teachers, and other colleagues TE1S1 Use technology-related terminology in written and oral communication TE1S2 Describe legislative mandates and governmental regulations and their implications for technology in special education TE1S3 Write proposals to obtain technology funds TE1S4 Advocate for assistive or instructional technology on individual and system change levels (AND SO ON)

15 Original Step Five, Became Part of Step One We had to begin this as soon as possible because 1. We would ALL be teaching AT topics in the new curriculum plan; and 2. Some of the faculty needed an update on what was even available in AT applications before we could finish the process from Steps Two through Four. We began to implement a weekly training series and the Atomic Learning System.

16 Step Two: Identify courses within the program where CEC competencies for special education technology specialists may be infused PART ONE. We looked at core (non-SPED) courses in our curriculum, and compared them with the CEC competencies. We began by identifying those basic educational technology competencies in the list that were already being addressed in other courses students take outside of special education (For ex., in Education Technology Courses).

17 Step Two: Identify courses within the program where CEC competencies for special education technology specialists may be infused PART TWO. We examined the courses in the special education curriculum, and decided where we might insert training in the various competencies. The Undergraduate Task Force worked with the AT Center Director to create a grid that showed all of our courses cross listed with CEC competencies.

18 Step Three. Part One: Design activities and strategies to be accomplished in class meetings or in the universitys AT Center (AKA, moving away from the 1 time big wow with no follow-up) We decided where students would receive training in each competency at which developmental level We began with a grid, and the undergraduate task force made adjustmentsgrid Our developmental levels ended up being: A. Awareness only B. Awareness, basic skills C. Some skills, needs more D. Proficient E. Implementation or Application

19 Sample Page from Grid

20 Step Three. Part Two: Design activities and strategies to be accomplished in class meetings or in the universitys AT Center – (Getting buy-in) - Excerpt From Message to Faculty Although part of each session will be devoted to training in some area of AT, we would like to devote part of each session to identifying appropriate AT activities for infusion into undergraduate SPED courses. While we house and facilitate use of AT items, you are the curriculum experts and developers for your courses. So, we need your assistance in identifying these activities. None of the developed undergraduate course activities need be set in stone. We can be as flexible as necessary (some instructors of 2000 may want different activities than others, or you may find you dont like an activity and want to redesign it).

21 Step Four: Identify evaluation strategies and products to confirm that competencies have been achieved The grid from Step Three was changed to a separate list of competencies for each course, listed by competency level (a-e). From there, the Undergraduate Task Force and SPED faculty began to identify activities for each course.each course

22 Whats Next? For Fall 2011: Finish Yr. 1 activities Begin implementation of curriculum in SPED Conduct evaluation of IMpACT model Begin Year Two Activities, Expanding to Curriculum and Instruction Department

23 Thank you and enjoy your stay & the conference!

24 References Brady, R., Long, T. & Richards, J. (2007). Assistive technology curriculum structure and content in professional preparation service provider training programs. Journal of Allied Health, 36(4), 183-192. Judge, S., & Simms, K. (2009). Assistive technology training at the pre- service level: A national snapshot of teacher preparation programs. Teacher Education and Special Education, 32(33). Marino, M. T., Sameshima, P., & Beecher, C. C. (2009). Enhancing TPACK with assistive technology: Promoting inclusive practices in preservice teacher education. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(2), 186-207. Smith, D., Kelley, P., Maushak, N., Griffin-Shirley, N.& Lan, W. (2009). Assistive technology competencies for teachers of students with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, August. The QIAT Consortium (2005). Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology Services.


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