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Assistive Technology: Exploring the Experiences & Perspectives of Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions 2010 Bridges to Learning Conference May 14-15, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Assistive Technology: Exploring the Experiences & Perspectives of Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions 2010 Bridges to Learning Conference May 14-15, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Assistive Technology: Exploring the Experiences & Perspectives of Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions 2010 Bridges to Learning Conference May 14-15, 2010 Mississauga, ON

2 Donna McGhie-Richmond, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria Breanne Poland, Undergraduate Student, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria Lynsay Han, Undergraduate Student, Psychology, University of Victoria Anne Hill, Instructor, Fanshawe College Barb Welsford, Coordinator, Assistive Technology Centre, South Shore Regional School Board; Acadia University Diane Galambos, Professor, Sheridan Institute of Advanced Learning and Technology Gabrielle Young, Doctoral Candidate, University of Western Ontario

3 Begin a conversation… the role of Canadian post-secondary institutions in preparing teachers and educational assistants to teach students who require and use assistive technology

4 One students experience… Breanne Poland Undergraduate student Faculty of Education University of Victoria

5 43% of a sample of BC teachers reported feeling unprepared to teach the diverse range of students in their classrooms (Naylor, 2002) Naylor, C. (2002). BC teachers views of Special Education issues. British Columbia Teachers Federation, Vancouver, BC

6 26% of all aids needed for children with special needs are AT devices, such as text-to-speech software, spell checkers, touch-screen computers, laptops, computers with Braille or speech access and voice activated software (Statistics Canada, 2008). Statistics Canada. (2008, May 27). Participation and Activity Limitation Survey: Education experiences of children with disabilities. The Daily. Retrieved March 22, 2010, from

7 Multiple studies have shown that the majority of teachers of students with special needs consider themselves to lack knowledge of AT (Smith, et al, 2009) Smith, D. W., Kelly, P., Maushak, N. J., Griffin-Shirley, N., & Lan, W. Y. (2009). Assistive technology competencies for teachers of students with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 103(8),

8 Inclusive education policies and practices increasing use and benefit of assistive technologies requires that AT education and training is requisite in all classroom contexts All teachers need to be knowledgeable about needs of students who require AT, AT tools and strategies, and their curricular implementation

9 U.S. Policies The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Association for Childhood Education International promote instructional change by emphasizing the importance of the knowledge and training of pre-service educators on the implementation of AT devices Manning, J. B., & Carpenter, L. B. (2008). Improving Learning for Preservice Teachers. Assistive Technology WebQuest, 52(6),

10 Ministry of Education Policy … when students with special needs require specialized instruction, assessment and/or assistive technologies, this should be done in consultation with a school or district/authority team, the parents, and, when appropriate, the student.

11 MOE Provincial Resource Program assists school districts in educating students whose access to the curriculum is restricted due to disabilities lend assistive technologies (reading, writing, and communication tools) where required, and assist school districts in providing training for students and educators in the use of technologies

12 Currently, how are Canadian universities and colleges preparing teachers and educational assistants to teach students who use assistive technology? – Teacher: pre-service & graduate levels – Educational Assistants – Required or elective coursework

13 Preliminary Investigation of Policies & Course Offerings (Lynsay Han) Province and territory policies on AT collected through website search of provincial Ministries of Education – 1 st search of websites for specific regulations and requirements for teacher license or certification – 2 nd search of listings of workshops or courses for teachers McGhie-Richmond, D. & Han, L. (2010). Assistive technology training for teachers: A preliminary look at provincial policies and training Canadian university requirements and offerings. (in preparation)

14 University Pre-service & Graduate AT Courses Internet- search using Canadas Higher Education and Career Guide (2010) of all universities that offer pre-service, graduate, post baccalaureate and diploma/certificate program in education Institutional websites searched for course catalogues & academic calendars for program requirements and electives Course titles & descriptions searched for descriptors, taken partly from Judge et al. (2009): Assistive Technology, special education technology, augmentative communication, alternative communication, adaptive technology, Braille, technology for students with disabilities and technology for the visually impaired. sent to the registrars office on whether courses in AT devices were offered or required. McGhie-Richmond, D. & Han, L. (2010). Assistive technology training for teachers: A preliminary look at provincial policies and training Canadian university requirements and offerings. (in preparation)

15 What we found… 42 Canadian post-secondary institutions offering pre-service and graduate teacher education programs No institution was found to require an AT course as part of their program Technology courses are variably required AT courses are variably offered as electives in certificate, diploma, graduate programs McGhie-Richmond, D. & Han, L. (2010). Assistive technology training for teachers: A preliminary look at provincial policies and training Canadian university requirements and offerings. (in preparation)

16 2 undergraduate (introductory) and graduate (advanced) level courses Electives Hybrid and seminar delivery

17 Eastern Canada University & College Experiences… Anne Hill, Instructor, Fanshawe College Barb Welsford, Coordinator, Assistive Technology Centre, South Shore Regional School Board; Acadia University Diane Galambos, Professor, Sheridan Institute of Advanced Learning and Technology Gabrielle Young, Doctoral Candidate, University of Western Ontario

18 CourseFocusTopics INTRODUCTO RY Accessible learning Integration of AT into curriculum Assessment, planning & decision-making UDL Planning & decision-making models (SETT, WATI, Participation Model, IEP, implementation plan, unit & lesson planning) Common technologies: Tools for participation; literacy, numeracy & concept development; organization; communication ADVANCEDResearch/theoretical Perspective: Relative to role of AT for student participation & learning As in Introductory

19 Ontario College Responses Anne Hill, Instructor, Fanshawe College CollegeCourseFocusTopics FANSHAWE - DSWAugmentative Communication CommunicationBoardmaker MOHAWK - EAComputers in an Educational Setting Introduction to basic computer programs - lab Ministry licensed OSAPAC software Adaptive Technology Introductory lab to use and complete assignments based on the software Dragon NS; Writing with Symbols and others; but for some Kurzweil - website demo

20 CollegeCourseFocusTopics NORTHERN - EAIntroduction to Assistive Technology Implementation; what to look for when selecting AT; environments that need to be considered; who needs to be consulted; and who needs to be trained among other things. Four Programs Introduced: Dragon NS, K3000, TextHELP, and Inspiration

21 CollegeCourseFocusTopics SHERIDAN - EAAssistive Technology course (required) Mobile Laptop program; required to use 24/7 to support learning ST. CLAIR - EAAssistive Technology Directly taught Boardmaker; visit local school and in tour see SMART boards, other AT in action Lab: Boardmaker & assignment on one piece of demo AT software

22 Laurentian University – AT course as AQ (Fall 2010)

23 Barb Welsford, Coordinator, Assistive Technology Centre, South Shore Regional School Board; Acadia University

24 Gabrielle Young, Doctoral Candidate, University of Western Ontario

25 What are your experiences? Are post-secondary AT courses offered by your jurisdiction? By whom? What standards or guidelines are used to guide course development? Consistency? What knowledge, understandings, and competencies are being developed? What instructional models are followed? What is effective? (Stand alone courses, infusion) What are the opportunities for practice? At universities and colleges what incentives, support, and resources are available to faculty to incorporate AT into their coursework (i.e., time, mentoring, course release, recognition re: promotion, etc.) ?

26 Roundtable Discussion (~ 30 – 45 minutes) Consider and discuss questions in group Document perspectives, experiences, vision, recommendations Be prepared to report back

27 Next Steps…


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