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Integrate assIstIve technology In general educatIon:

A Quick Reference Guide
by Atomic Learning: Award-Winning technology training provider




Copyright 2010 Atomic Learning. All rights reserved. Inspiration Software, Inspiration, and Kidspiration are registered trademarks of Inspiration Software, Inc. Kurzweil is a trademark of Cambium Learning, Inc. Writers Companion is a trademark of and is a product designed by Mythic Wave Productions and is published by Visions Technology in Education. WYNN is a trademark of Freedom Scientific, Inc.

Introduction ......................................................iii Create a Common Vision ................................ 1 Understand Roles .........................................2-3 Develop AT Skills .........................................4-5 Provide Support .............................................. 6 Impact Students............................................7-8 Review ............................................................. 9

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Having students that are physically present in the general education classroom, but are passive and uninvolved, is never acceptable.
Gayl Bowser, Independent Assistive Technology Consultant

Even without considering special needs, it can be difficult to teach a group of students and ensure that they all meet the same requirements because students learn in different ways. Factor in the use and application of resources to create an inclusive learning experience and todays classroom teachers are faced with a challenge. Fortunately, the integration of assistive technology (AT) tools in a general education setting can help ensure the success of all students. However, AT integration requires a change for everyone involved. When key players understand and support one another, and are working towards a common vision, change can happen. This e-book will guide you through the necessary steps to effectively integrate assistive technology and ultimately impact students.

With No Child Left Behind and IDEA came a fundamental shift in the way that students with disabilities receive education. As a result, students who would normally receive specialized instruction are being transitioned to standard general education curricula. This not only means that students with disabilities are receiving instruction alongside their peers who do not have disabilities, but that they must meet similar learning goals.

Create a Common Vision


Create a Common VIsIon

The first step in successfully integrating AT is creating a common vision. This shared outcome will ensure that everyone involved is able to do their part. Shared Knowledge
AT Devices available

As you begin forming your vision and goals, gather together key players and make sure everyone is on the same page about: What AT is currently being used by students In what situations students would benefit from AT How the AT is expected to change the students performance Once the key players have shared knowledge, they can then create a shared vision.

Common Vision

Outcomes of AT use for all students with disabilities AT Services in district Role of each staff member IDEA 2004 Mandate Resources Direction and goals for AT program


Understand Roles

understand roles
The AT tools are the same. The roles of key players change.
Gayl Bowser, Independent Assistive Technology Consultant

Administrators Administrators are a key partner in the integration of assistive technology into general education. The administrators role is to:
Facilitate the development of a vision Advocate for policies and funding Develop a program for AT integration Create processes to manage AT services Ensure that staff know what is expected of them Provide support for faculty and staff Ensure that staff has access to professional development resources on AT

With so many players embracing a common vision, it is important that every person knows their role and what they can do to help integrate assistive technology into general education. Consider the key roles in your district, and how to leverage each to create a successful integration strategy. Examples may include the following:

General Education Teachers A large part of the integration of AT in the classroom ultimately falls on the general education teachers.

Understand Roles (continued)


understand roles (ContInued)

They must change they way that they have taught in the past and understand how AT can fit into the initiatives that are already taking place in the classroom and curriculum. As a part of their role, general education teachers must:
Understand AT and the role it can have in the general education classroom Change their approaches to technology use Create teaching strategies that support the vision Manage the classroom in a way that allows for the use of AT Work with AT Teams to integrate AT into the classroom

Assistive Technology Teams When talking about integrating AT into the general education classroom, AT teams, including special education teachers and case managers, play a crucial role by providing ideas and supporting the general education teachers they work with. Assistive Technology Teams must:
Collaborate with general education teachers Speak the same language as general education teachers Understand the challenges teachers face when using AT in the classroom Become involved in initiatives Be advocates


Develop AT Skills

deVelop at skIlls
The use of AT in the general education classroom is a new vision. Key players may not possess enough knowledge about available assistive technology to effectively integrate it into the curriculum. Training on the AT tools available in the district is essential. Training can take place in a variety of different forms. Face-to-face training can be effective, but can also be costly and time-consuming. Another option to consider is online training, which can allow educators to complete assignments at their own pace and review them as necessary.

Completing training on the specific AT tools available in the district is the first step in developing AT skills, but it is not enough. An educator may know how to use a tool, but they may not know how to effectively and easily integrate it into their classroom. Part of developing AT skills is providing training and/or mentors for general education teachers to demonstrate ways that they can easily integrate AT into the classroom. Another aspect of training is tracking progress. When working towards a goal of this magnitude, it is important to analyze the progress of the participants to make sure they are doing their part. Logging completed sessions and evaluating sample projects are easy ways to track progress.

Develop AT Skills (continued)


deVelop at skIlls (ContInued)

Rubric Area(s)
Ideas Organization Voice Word Choice Presentation Ideas Organization Ideas Organization Ideas Organization Word Choice Sentence Fluency (Talking Word Processor) Ideas Organization Word Choice Sentence Fluency (Talking Word Processor)

Example Training: Common AT Tools

AT Tool Online Training

Writers Companion

Writers Companion

Inspiration Kidspiration WYNN

Inspiration 8 - Intro Kidspiration WYNN

Kurzweil 3000

Kurzweil 3000 Version 10 PC Kurzweil 3000 Version 11 PC Kurzweil 3000 Version 4 Mac


Provide Support

proVIde support
AT integration in general education may be new to many of the people involved. They may be trained on common AT tools and how to integrate those tools into the classroom, but they will likely need ongoing support to ensure continued interest and success. As AT Specialists will attest to, there are so many AT tools available that it can be very challenging to remember how to use and stay current on all of the tools available. It is even more challenging for general educators who only deal with the tools that

their current students are using. That may be a handful of tools this year and a completely different set of tools next year. AT Teams and general educators will be more likely to use the AT if there is a way to easily refresh their memory on how to use it and find answers to their questions. This may take the form of a help desk, an IT coordinator or an online training resource.

Impact Students


ImpaCt students
If the key players know their roles and work towards integrating AT into the general education classroom, it will allow students with disabilities to more actively participate in classroom activities. Having students that are physically present in the general education classroom, but are passive and uninvolved, is never acceptable. Assistive technology can encourage active participation in classroom activities.


Impact Students (continued)

Procedure for Daniel:

Writing Assessment - Active Participation

ImpaCt students (ContInued)

The table at right illustrates how a student with a disability can actively participate in classroom activities with the help of Assistive technology. The left column outlines the standard procedure for taking a writing assessment. A student in this class named Daniel cannot participate in this assessment by following the exact same procedure as the rest of the class an as a result is passive and uninvolved. However, with assistive technology and a few modifications to the standard procedure (illustrated in the right column), Daniel is able to complete an assessment, actively participating in his classroom.

Class Steps
Clear desk Get out paper and pencil Write your name and the date

Daniels Steps
Clear off tray Put your things in your basket Go to computer Log in to Solo Locate Assignment Templates in Student Central Locate your file in Assignment Templates: DanielWritingTest (Solo Template File) Open your file Copy writing prompt Write one paragraph Stop and save as DanielTest9-30-09 Print Turn in your paper

Copy writing prompt Write three paragraphs Stop Turn in your paper



We can provide the best tools in the world, but if we dont pay attention to the integration in the classroom setting, we have a lot of trouble.
Gayl Bowser, Independent Assistive Technology Consultant

1 2 3 4

Create a common vision Understand roles Develop AT skills Analyze progress

Assistive technology is available to students in all districts, but simply having those tools is not enough. It is up to the AT teams, general ed teachers and administrators to work together to:

Ultimately, by creating a common vision and framework for integrating AT in the classroom and working together towards that vision, the outcome will be positive. If more students are able to participate in classroom activities because of assistive technology, then those students will be impacted in a positive manner.