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Rohan Slaughter & Trevor Mobbs 15/9/14 The DART Projects.

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Presentation on theme: "Rohan Slaughter & Trevor Mobbs 15/9/14 The DART Projects."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rohan Slaughter & Trevor Mobbs 15/9/14 The DART Projects

2 The DART Project Disseminating Assistive Roles and Technology Rohan Slaughter – Assistant Principal and Head of Technology Trevor Mobbs – Lead Assistive Technologist Employed at Scope’s Beaumont College

3 Introduction to Beaumont College Scope run Independent Specialist College (ISC) based in Lancaster 96 learners in Lancaster, two satellite provisions with ~20 learners 330 FTE staff Ofsted “Outstanding” LSIS Beacon Status Curriculum focussed on personal development, independence, skills for life Creative arts specialism

4 The Technology Team at Beaumont

5 Definition of the Assistive Technologist The title ‘assistive technologist’ (AT) has a number of different interpretations: One is Clinical, and refers to ‘clinical rehab engineers’ This is common in the NHS Beaumont College and the DART project uses a somewhat different definition: If anyone wants the sample job description, person spec and role profile please contact me This job is more education focussed, and as such the post holders: Ideally should have a teaching qualification, minimum 7307/7407/PTTLS or equivalent, and preferably a PGCE/cert ed Be educated to degree level in an IT related subject or have equivalent skills and knowledge gained from a suitable setting We want ‘people’ people who are technically literate

6 Definition of the Assistive Technologist The Assistive Technologist This role was developed during the Wheeltop Project at Beaumont College Funded by BT from Integrate off the shelf Tablet PC technology in place of dedicated communication aids Reduced the cost of the hardware and increased flexibility of solutions The technologist role was the most important development from the Wheeltop Project

7 Definition of the Assistive Technologist

8 How the Assistive Technologist works at BC Caseload allocation, all students have a named technologist Each technologist is allocated a number of teachers/sessions to support Preparation of resources for SLT / Teachers, that could be student specific or subject specific Implementation of bespoke or customised hardware and software solutions Research and development in line with all of the above Project work

9 The AAC Community Of Practice (AAC COP) Is made up of: Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Teachers, Technologists Meets every two weeks for: Case discussions, problem solving etc. New technology discussions Other matters arising

10 History of the DART project(s) 2010/12 DART1, an LSIS funded project Beaumont College and National Star College worked with 8 colleges, in a ‘deep support’ capacity Beaumont and Star are ISC’s : Independent Specialist Colleges One of those DART1 colleges was Henshaws 2012/13 - DART2, a JISC Advance funded project: Beaumont College, National Star College, Henshaws College, Colleges Scotland, NATSPEC, JISC all working together 10 deep support colleges, 2 in Scotland 3 workshops, delivered twice, once in Birmingham, once in Stirling

11 DART / DART2 The DART project sought to: Improve AT practice in the sector Enable the replication of the innovative Assistive Technologist role Produce AT case studies for the sector The project achieved this through: ‘Deep Support’ for ten providers A Workshop series A Natspec sponsored research project

12 Deep Support Following an application and shortlisting process that was overseen by JISC TechDis 10 Colleges were selected Applications for the ‘deep support’ element were heavily oversubscribed, with approximately three times more applications than places available This indicates that there is a large unmet need in the sector. Unsuccessful applicants received priority booking for the workshop series. After the priority booking period, places will are allocated on a first come, first served basis We plan to move to a paid consultancy basis for this support going forward, but fear that contracting budgets will limit the appeal of this

13 Deep Support Beaumont College, Henshaws College and National Star worked to develop a program of activities with each college individually Sought to identify what the college wishes to develop as part of the project, this included: Elements of the Technologist role to be embedded in an existing role Transfer of assistive technology knowledge to specific staff, work shadowing etc. Training and development for staff in the partner colleges Advice on sourcing equipment, software etc. and on adapting mainstream hardware Opportunity to review, adapt and change direction as emergent needs are identified Fostered two way learning - we learnt from all partner colleges The project created a legacy of web based resources that can be used by the sector more widely Assistance with recuitment

14 DART 2.1 We are running an expanded Dart project thanks to the ‘Jisc FE and Skills Development and Resources Programme - Embedding Benefits’ funding. This new project will provide the following support: ‘Deep Support’ for an additional 10 providers (7 GFE, 3 ISC) A second research project, managed by Natspec that has goals aligned to the original work, including similar questions in order to gain a ‘longitudinal view’ of AT development in the sector. This is based on a survey that aims to understand the development needs of the sector in order to inform the design and delivery of the workshops, and indeed future Jisc programmes The design and delivery of three AT workshop days -open access to all, not just the providers who will receive ‘deep-support’. All three workshops will run twice, once in central England and once in central Scotland.

15 DART 2.1 – Deep Support Beaumont College to Support: Borders College (GFE) City of Glasgow College (GFE) Burnley College (GFE) Preston College (GFE) National Star College to Support: Gloucestershire College (GFE) Canterbury College (GFE) ROC College (ISC) Henshaw’s College to support: Landmarks College (ISC) Nash College (ISC) Hopwood Hall (GFE)

16 Workshops Day 1: Assessment for Assistive Technology Feb 2013 Slides from the events: Day 2: Creating the Assistive Technologist role and it’s integration into a College structure, April Slides from the events: Day 3: Specific Assistive Technology software training, Jun

17 Natspec Research Project The Natspec sponsored research project ‘Assistive Technology in Further Education Organisations’ (now published on Jorum: was conducted via online questionnaire / telephone follow up, and sought to: Inform the content of the workshops (give the sector what it required in terms of AT related CPD) Define key themes around what is working well (or what is not working well) with respect to Assistive Technology in all types of FE College A summative DART2 project presentation took place at the JISC RSC NW annual conference on 26 th June 2013: northwest-annual-event.aspx northwest-annual-event.aspx For more information please see

18 Natspec Research Project – Key Themes Over half of the providers who responded to the questionnaire had a person (either full or part time) in a designated ‘assistive technology’ role. This was positive, although there were also indications that the level of awareness about assistive technology was very mixed with some college’s way ahead of others. Very often positive developments had occurred as a result of one particularly committed individual.

19 Natspec Research Project – Key Themes Respondents felt overwhelmingly that a co-ordinated approach which brought together different college departments was a key to successful assistive technology support. Most providers felt there were good relationships between those providing assistive technology and learning support departments, but worryingly many felt that their relationships with IT departments were less good.

20 Natspec Research Project – Key Themes Assistive technology was funded in different ways in different organisations. Some students were funded through an individual allocation of money. While this was positive in that it allowed for an individual to receive the hardware and software he or she required, respondents were concerned that this restriction to a specific individual made it difficult for them to try out possible creative solutions for their full range of disabled students. It also could prevent them from ensuring that assistive technology is available across the college for all students

21 Natspec Research Project – Key Themes There were very mixed responses to the question about whether students owned and could retain their specialist equipment when they left college which indicated that this is a complex issue which deserves further exploration both at local and national level.

22 Natspec Research Project – Key Themes On the whole providers felt most confident about the assistive technology support they were giving to students with dyslexia and to students with a visual impairment. They were less confident that they were providing the most appropriate assistive technology support to other groups of students, particularly those with more complex learning difficulties.

23 Natspec Research Project – Key Themes Respondents recognised the need for on-going training and support and for easier ways to keep abreast of new developments in the area of assistive technology.

24 College structure and relationships between teams The technology strategy in a College stands or falls based on: Relationships between teams The College Structure Relationship of the IT/Technology team with: Teachers Therapists (where present) Supporting staff People in the AT role

25 Dart 2 Key Outcomes / Outputs 10 Colleges provided with Deep Support, more than half have now created new Assistive Technologist roles Note feedback from supported Colleges on the DART website Well over 100 people attended the workshop series in England and Scotland The Natspec sponsored report has provided an interesting overview of the status of Assistive Technology in the Colleges who responded A community of practice spanning GFE and ISC College has been created around the Assistive Technologist position

26 Dart 2 Key Outcomes / Outputs Feedback links: Landmarks College: Seashell Trust: Bridge College: Myerscough College: Edinburgh College: Kilmarnock College:

27 DART 2.1 A element of Dart 2.1 is further engagement with Jisc in order to: Train the Access and Inclusion advisors in the JISC RSC’s who wish to learn more about AT through active participation in the Deep Support provision. The RSC’s A&I advisors will be invited to all deep support events in the regions they support in order to both be up skilled by DART core partner’s staff members and to provide local knowledge and context. An additional workshop will be provided for all A&I advisors from the RSC’s in consultation with their role group / JISC TechDis in order to promote sustainability of the projects outcomes. This workshop will be open to all interested Jisc staff.

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