Last week, SET-BC consultants from around the province met at the Provincial Centre for five days of training on program administrative functions, AAC and vision technologies, and cognitive coaching. The week started with a look at the complex role of the SET-BC consultant and the broad areas of knowledge and skills needed to support the wide variety of students on each consultant’s caseload. Consultants worked in small groups to group critical, important, and optional skills to help identify areas for future or ongoing training. The first afternoon was spent learning about effective facilitation of online meetings and training using the Adobe Connect online meeting tool. This was followed with a look at Camtasia Relay, a useful tool for consultants wanting to send narrated demonstrations to teams to help train or troubleshoot on software.
The second morning consultants worked through some aspects of SETdata, our program’s provincial database revisiting ways to assist with caseload and technology management. In the afternoon, our own speech language pathologists facilitated an excellent presentation on how to work with teams supporting students who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). This presentation included an opportunity for consultants to try AAC devices and ask questions of the SLPs experienced in this area. Wednesday morning brought a collaborative effort between SET-BC and PRCVI with both program’s teachers of the visually impaired facilitating a session on considerations for visually impaired students. Consultants gained valuable information on helping teams make decisions about appropriate vision technology solutions and also had a chance to move through several stations to try many of the various vision technology solutions that SET-BC provides BC school districts. All consultants were very appreciative of both the AAC and Vision presentations. Wednesday afternoon was then spent looking at other administrative tools including SET-BC’s internal communication microblog, Yammer. The provincial Technical Support Team also shared information to help consultants manage equipment during the year and the day wrapped up with a discussion on the issues districts are facing implementing iOS devices.
Thursday and Friday, John Clarke facilitated the first two days of an eight day course on Cognitive Coaching. John comes from Calgary Alberta where he is a training associate with the Center for Cognitive Coaching. He works with schools and educational programs to promote and enhance excellent teaching practice and helps staff groups create a positive culture and high quality work environment. John led the consultants through many different and interesting exercises designed to enhance their listening and coaching skills. Everyone agreed that it was a very inspiring end to the long week – we are certainly looking forward to our next session with John in February.
It was a very long, busy week for both regional and provincial consultants but there was a definite “buzz” by the end of the five days with many expressing how valuable it was to come together as a program and how informative they found the sessions. As summed up by one consultant, “I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of content and felt that it was a nice balance between SET-BC information as well as soft skills from the cognitive coaching piece. I left feeling refreshed, re-energized, and revitalized.” Thanks to everyone involved in facilitating, presenting, and participating in SET-BC’s Staff Development Week!