SET-BC Region 1 (Vancouver Island) and SET-BC Provincial Centre recently partnered with Bridges Canada to host two full day workshops entitled, “Sorting Through Multimedia to Support Literacy and Numeracy.” The workshops were presented by Susie Blackstein-Adler, a member of the Bridges professional development team. The first workshop was held in Nanaimo on May 26th and was well attended by an enthusiastic group which included classroom teachers, speech therapists, and SET-BC consultants from Vancouver Island. The second workshop was held in the SET-BC Provincial Centre in Vancouver on May 27th and was attended by lower mainland SET-BC consultants, augmentative and alternative communication specialists and a number of special educators.
The workshops focused on helping educators make informed decisions when selecting assistive technology software applications to support students who struggle with reading, writing and mathematics in the elementary grades. During the workshops, features of Boardmaker Studio, Clicker 5, Classroom Suite 4 and Symwriter were compared for their ability to support individual student needs such as building vocabulary, improving fluency, developing phonemic awareness, increasing numeracy skills, and supporting written output. Participants explored the software themselves by modifying an assortment of available templates.
Feedback from those who attended was very positive, and, as is usual at these events, there were frequent opportunities to network and make connections with others supporting students using assistive technology software.
Though late in the school year, the participants and consultants found the demonstrations very engaging, receiving valuable information and developing insights into how best to support teams who will be making decisions regarding which software applications would support individual student needs in the critical areas of reading, writing and mathematics.
SET-BC thanks Susie and Bridges Canada for providing this valuable and informative professional development opportunity for BC educators!