It is great to see many of our staff interested in technology this year. I wanted to share some insight into beginning this initiative in your classroom or work site. With so many technology / assistive tech websites, blogs, new devices and tools available it can be very overwhelming for your team. Where do you start? Who do you listen to? Everyone is talking about the latest and greatest tool they have heard about and your head is spinning.
The Speech Therapist has an interest in the iPad and is beginning to introduce applications to the students; the Occupational Therapist has experience with intelli tools and has been speaking using this with the students; the Teacher is just beginning to learn Clicker 5; a few members in the classroom are inspired to start a classroom blog; the LABBB AT team wants every classroom to learn Clicker 5 and another team member has been learning about all the services that Google has to offer…I can only imagine this would be very overwhelming for any team. This is great energy and passion for AT, but how can you work together to really make these tools work effectively.
Meet with your team and discuss an assistive technology plan for your classroom. It will be much more productive if you implement one tool that every team member understands and can use, rather than experimenting with many tools without really evaluating whether they are being effective or not.
The LABBB Assistive Tech team needed the same kind of plan; we spent time sharing websites, blogs, iPad applications and any technology tips that we have used and it was clear that everyone was very excited about using technology, but we couldn’t go in ten different directions we had to focus on a few tools at a time.
One decision we made in the last few weeks was to focus on Clicker 5 for our classrooms. We discussed working with Classroom suite but we came to the conclusion that Clicker 5 will be much more user-friendly and it will be easier to teach to the staff. This is an initiative that we will work on throughout the year. We will continue to work and expand the use of the iPad but we have a definitive plan to all work together to implement Clicker 5, acquire training, and use LABBB CurriculumShare to upload the stories or templates that staff have created.
The classroom team should talk about AT. What does it mean for their students? One size doesn’t fill all. Make a plan and let everyone know what steps you will take to introduce a new tool, device or program. Speak to a LABBB assistive Tech team member to get more information or have one of them attend a meeting with you to talk about your classroom plan. Most importantly, make every team member in the classroom be a part of this plan.
Less is more when starting off with implementing AT. Start small and build. You can always add as you go but the important thing is that you do it as a team.