Established in 2005 as a JISCMail closed list. A place to find mutual support and share practice in a new speciality. Assistive Technology as a specialism grew largely out of DSA validation process but has grown well beyond that initial start. Now an established group that represents that specialism in Scottish HE. What is ATANET? Background
What we do? Share ideas, know-how and general good practice via our very active JISC-mail list. Annual Event/AGM with presentations, CPD and discussion of wider issues. Work with wider network of suppliers, organisations and charities Looking to increase cooperation in the future with possible ventures in research group purchasing and other mutually beneficial projects. What is ATANET?
Aims of ATANET? From our constitution: – Bring together Assistive Technology Specialists in HE sector for mutual support and professional development. – Represent, develop and promote Assistive Technology as a distinct specialty in HE sector and beyond. – Represent and support the interests of the group as a whole and the individuals within it in matters such as external policy or anything else that affects the above two aims. What is ATANET?
Who’s in ATANET? Assistive Technology practitioners in HE institutions Assistive Technology practitioners that support HE sector Different backgrounds, different roles, all assistive technology. Membership system allows for anybody with relevant expertise to join on approval. No financial interests. What is ATANET?
Institutions Represented Edinburgh College of Art Edinburgh Napier University Glasgow Caledonian University Heriot Watt University JISC Regional Support Centre - North & East Scotland JISC Regional Support Centre - South & West Scotland JISC Techdis Robert Gordon University Scottish Agricultural College The Glasgow School of Art University of Aberdeen University of Abertay University of Dundee University of Edinburgh University of Glasgow University of Newcastle University of St Andrews University of Stirling University of Strathclyde University of the West of Scotland What is ATANET? Only 4 not represented at present
How do we fit in? Disability Coordinators 83 members National DSANET 28 members Regional (SE?) ATANET 37 members National What is ATANET?
In Summary What is ATANET? We represent Assistive Technology in the HE sector We support students We support the processes that supports students
So why the invite? Un-tapped expertise… Who’s assistive tech expertise informs policy? Who is the guidance aimed at?* We’re concerned about the long term strategy for DSA – where is it heading? We are not the only network with growing concerns Why the invite?
We acknowledge….. First and foremost – we are seeking a constructive dialogue (no need for hard hats!) Any criticism is meant as “constructive criticism” Policy makers can not please all the people, all the time….. We live in “austere times” – there are undoubtedly pressures to save money Why the invite?
Who are the assessors? All guidance issued seem to refer to “Disability Advisers”. Historical assumption that “Disability Advisers” are the sole needs assessors and authority within validated institutions. Historical assumption that Technology Advisers either play no direct part in needs assessments, or a minimal role if technology will figure in recommendations. Why the invite?
Who are the assessors? Do you personally carry out (whether part or full) needs assessments in your institution? Why the invite? YES – 84.2% NO – 15.8%
Who are the assessors? If you answered “YES”, do you carry out full needs assessments, or contribute to part of an assessment? Why the invite? FULL – 33.3% PART – 55.6% N/A – 11.1%
Who are the assessors? If you answered “part” involvement in needs assessments, which parts do you contribute to? Why the invite?
Who are the assessors? Do you have a responsibility for providing assistive technology expertise to support needs assessments in general at your institution? Why the invite? YES – 89.5 NO – 10.5%
Who are the assessors? Have you ever been asked to contribute to a policy decision affecting assistive technology, either individually or as part of a group, by SAAS, Scottish Government, DSSG etc? Why the invite? YES – 10.5% NO – 89.5%
Why the invite? Singing from the same hymn sheet? (verse 1) Santa leaves one of these under the tree …..what do most people see? I can listen to music! I can watch funny videos on YouTube! I can play games! I can take embarrassing photos of my cat!
Singing from the same hymn sheet? (verse 2) …..what does an Assistive Technology Adviser see? Why the invite? Organisation and reminders Email, both university and personal Text to speech & spell checking Portable magnification for visually impaired Speech to text University information, navigation, access to systems Portable scanner Notes (audio & typed) Portable dictionary (s)
Sign of the times “Few young people these days really even think of undertaking tasks that don’t use technology unless they absolutely have to. Why would they? Most aspects of living and work use extensive technology routinely” Engage For Education website Today's students have been brought up with technology Disabled students expect a technology solution to barriers & difficulties Assistive technology empowers disabled students Students can be “independent learners” through AT More often than not, the technology solution will work out cheaper than the NMPH solution The technology is no good without the teaching Why the invite?
A way forward…? All stakeholders (Disability Advisers, Technology Advisers, Needs Assessors) should be invited to attended an extraordinary meeting with SG/SAAS over the summer, to discuss these issues? DSSG is currently undergoing a review of the structure and remit – this needs to include a dedicated sub group for AT, with a strong ATANET representation Want to save Money? – We can help. Why the invite?
Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) Discussion Definition of PDA? PDA’s ok but not with laptops Used for course related study only No upgrades?
Will not pay for ‘Apps’ training Discussion This seems an odd line to draw Which one gets software training? Asus EEE Pad TransformerAsus EEE Slate
Printing and photocopying Discussion This is simply not realistic Every different subject and person will have different printing needs How will independent assessment centres do this?
No laptop for “mild cases” Discussion Major change implied in an example rather than being explicitly stated. Implications for different application if this guidance is far reaching What is meant by mild? We support the idea that laptop recommendations have gone too far but work with us to come up with reasonable criteria
Apple Laptops Discussion We can understand not supporting Macs, but these paragraphs could be seen as contradictory Is the Disability Advisor the appropriate person to judge? All Macs could, in theory, run any Win software (Vmware, Bootcamp, Parallels)
Why this matters Discussion The DSA is just the beginning of the support Poor guidelines can lead to huge variation in provision from place to place with knock-on effects to long term support We don’t want strict, inflexible guidelines Well thought-out, properly informed guidance can be benefit everybody We want to work with you
The future of the DSA? Discussion The Green Paper (source Andy?) What is the long term strategy? Consult properly and warn relevant parties in good time of any changes.