connect_2011As more and more districts and school teams are looking for convenient “just in time” training on assistive technologies and ways to implement them effectively, SET-BC consultants are responding by focusing this year on providing more online opportunities. This week, consultants met to learn more about being effective online instructors and how to bring best face-to-face instructional practices into the online environment.

The two day meeting offered the participating consultants a chance to first discuss the SSEAC – CUPE course, Assistive Technology in the Classroom. This course, one of nine learning options being offered to CUPE support staff in districts around the province, has seven online modules and one face-to-face hands on exploration session. Several districts, through arrangements made with specific SET-BC consultants approved to instruct the learning option, are hosting AT in the Classroom this spring. CUPE staff members are able to access the instructor led online sessions from the convenience of home or from a designated district location. Instructors can request a package containing assistive technologies from SET-BC to support the one face-to-face hands-on session that takes place in the district between modules six and seven. This is a great opportunity for CUPE support staff to develop a general understanding of the assistive technology options that would help support their students.

On the second day, consultants looked at specific tools and features in the SET-BC Connect online environment that can be used to create interesting and interactive training sessions. SET-BC has been using the Adobe Connect online environment for a number of years for facilitated real-time instruction as well as to develop web-based, any-time training resources. The consultants explored ways to use different “pods”, interactivity tools, and creative layouts to engage participants and create the best possible online learning experience for everyone. Many commented that they looked forward to providing even better support to their teams as they will be able to invite team members to an online meeting to demonstrate software, troubleshoot problems they may be having, and connect geographically separated teams who want to share implementation strategies.

It was a busy two days for everyone involved, but a great opportunity to develop the skills needed to be as effective as possible when supporting teams from a distance!