Could you access a computer without using your hands?
Do you know how to provide reading and writing supports for your students using available district technology?
Could you model a pedagogical concept with an oreo cookie (before eating it)?
SET-BC’s goal to help build the capacity of BC educators to support the diverse needs of their K-12 students was in high gear in SD#61 (Greater Victoria) on their November 24th Professional Development day. The district welcomed SET-BC Tier 3 consultants, Carla Berlingeri and Mike Sheane, as they presented an all-day session on the many access techniques and writing support options that are available for students with complex needs. Switch options, head mice, joysticks, trackballs, adapted keyboards and more were featured in a station-based workshop designed to give participants hands-on experience with technologies that can be considered when students’ complex physical need affect their curricular access.
Participants were asked to consider Joy Zabala’s SETT framework (Student, Environments, Tasks, Tools) when exploring and planning assistive technology implementation. iPads and laptops were configured with various supports and learning aids allowing participants to experience accessing curriculum in non-conventional ways.
Meanwhile, across the hall, SET-BC Tier 2 consultant, Kamelia Dhousti, partnered with Vice Principal, Sandra Jost, to train a roomful of participants on the newest version (v.15) of Kurzweil 3000. SD#61 has recently re-purchased several Kurzweil 3000 licenses in addition to their Read and Write licenses in an effort to effectively the meet the needs of ALL learners. Session participants examined the way the software can support material being read aloud to students, support their study skills and navigate the writing process. During this exploration, participants discussed how the needs of the student are paramount in deciding what software might be the most appropriate to implement.
A few doors down, SET-BC consultant, Yik Penner, presented a full-day session entitled “UDL and PBL in the Secondary Classroom” – a Tier 1 professional learning session designed, “to help build BC educators’ understanding of how technology can be used within current educational frameworks”. Session participants immersed themselves in discussions on how the new curriculum lends itself to inquiry based and project-based learning and how we can universally design lessons to include all students. Teachers watched, learned, discussed and experimented with novel ways (mmmm….oreos) to provide lesson content and instruction that is accessible to all learners while providing multiple means of student representation, engagement and expression. Though a small group, discussion was animated and involved with teachers motivated to bring the best of learning back to their secondary classrooms. SET-BC appreciated this opportunity to partner with SD#61 to support their quest to find effective technology strategies and solutions to support the diverse needs of their students!