Throughout the 2010-2011 school year SET-BC has focused on developing strategies for increasing assistive technology implementation in the classroom. One of strategies has been to develop and host various Student Activity Days. These one or two day events include, to date, Kurzweil Camps, Clicker 5 Talking Book Camps, and Open Book Camps (a software program that makes text accessible to students with visual impairments).
Kurzweil Camp is a student activity day that SET-BC has been facilitating at various locations around the province for several years. This camp is very popular since more and more students are using Kurzweil 3000 in their classrooms to support their curricular activities. Many students may struggle with reading and writing but are very capable of learning how to use the software program to their advantage. Students who attend student focused Kurzweil Camps learn to use the program features to support both their written output, reading comprehension and study skills. For example, the students learn how to use the built-in word prediction, talking word processor and floating word lists to help them to improve the quantity and quality of their written output.
Students learn how to scan documents into the program and then use tools such as sticky notes or footnotes to annotate reading assignments with comprehension supports or reminders. They also learn to use the onscreen highlighters to mark important concepts, or to pull highlighted information into study outlines. Support staff work alongside the students during the day developing their skills and understanding of the program as well. Best of all, the student focus helps the participants become much more independent in their use of the program!
On March 10th, students from Squamish attended a Kurzweil Camp hosted at a local high school, by SET-BC consultant Chris Marshall. The students each attended with a supporting teacher or educational assistant and completed a variety of different activities designed to help them learn how to use the program to support their classroom tasks. The students worked extremely hard, earning prizes throughout the day, and a certificate at the end of the event. The camps always lead to great collaboration and sharing of ideas between the supporting teachers and educational assistants and new connections and friendships are made between students from different schools. Participating students often become peer mentors for other students using Kurzweil 3000 in their schools.
The increased implementation that has been observed with students and school teams who have attended Kurzweil Camps make them a valuable way to provide assistive technology training directly to those using the program. SET-BC is continuing to develop additional student activity days that will focus on switch and AAC technologies as well as other assistive software. Contact your regional SET-BC consultant if you want further information on student activity days planned in your area!