SET-BC consultants around the province facilitated or hosted professional development events for BC educators on the recent provincial Pro D day.
Individual consultants facilitated workshops that included:
- a presentation at the BCASLPA conference on “Evidence Based Practice in the Provision of Augmentative Communication Systems for Children”
- a workshop on implementing iPads in the classroom with a focus on accessibility features, writing tools, and AAC apps
- two workshops on Universal Design for Learning
- a workshop on accessibility features in OSX and iOS
- two workshops on Kurzweil 3000 and Clicker 6
We were also delighted, with Bridges Canada, to host Dr. Denise DeCoste at the SET-BC Provincial Centre as she presented an informative workshop on considering reading accommodations for students who struggle with reading comprehension.
Denise is an occupational therapist and a special educator with over 25 years of experience in the field of assistive technology. She is the author of numerous books on assistive technology and has recently lent her expertise to co-author Protocol for Accommodations in Reading and subsequently the online version of the protocol uPAR.
The day started with a thorough review of research that reinforced the importance of carefully considering reading accommodations. It was interesting to note that students who do well with human readers may not do well with synthesized reading voices and vice versa. Other common misconceptions of accommodations were also highlighted and clarified using the research.
Denise then introduced a helpful free assessment tool, called PAR which stands for Protocol for Assessment in Reading available for download on the Don Johnston website. An online subscription version of the protocol is also available called uPAR. This online version allows an educator to assess and record progress for multiple students at one time. The latter half of the day was spent exploring iOS apps that support reading development such as iBooks and Overdrive amongst many others . As a final activity, the participants were asked to write out their goals and implementation strategies that considered the resources and skills they covered during the day.
This session was broadcast through video streaming from our Lower Mainland office to 4 different locations across the province involving approximately 50 participants. It was an event that demonstrated how technology allows us to build capacity throughout the province, by reaching a wider audience.
Feedback from all the sessions facilitated or hosted that day was very positive with district teams already lining up consultants for their Pro D days in February!