Teacher Education and Principles of Effective Assistive Technology Implementation

Teacher Education and Principles of Effective Assistive Technology Implementation

Jennifer Courduff (Azusa Pacific University, USA), Amy Duncan (Claremont Graduate University, USA & California State University – San Bernardino, USA) and Joanne Gilbreath (Azusa Pacific University, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5015-2.ch013
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Abstract

The effective implementation of Assistive Technology (AT) is transformative for teacher practice and student learning outcomes. Educators who embrace this effort are faced with a set of challenges that are not found in typical technology integration efforts. In order to deeply integrate technology into instruction and learning, a change in pedagogy is required. In this chapter, the focus is to identify the unaddressed perspectives that impede technology implementation in diverse learning environments. When this unique set of perspectives is addressed, strategies for effective practice can emerge. First, there is a discussion on special education law and AT. Next, foundations of AT and effective implementation strategies at the classroom level are discussed. The process by which teachers can be supported in integrating technology tools into learning tasks is reviewed. A matrix that connects student-learning tasks with technology tools common to every classroom is presented. The importance of making emotional connections and providing time to practice and share in an environment where failure is seen as an opportunity for growth is provided. Finally, systemic implementation issues and strategies for success are shared.
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Introduction

When educational teams begin to expand their instructional practice with the integration of AT, they realize that they are impacting a complex set of individuals in a system. Each has an area of expertise and responsibility that is essential to bringing the dream of what AT can do for a student to life in the classroom.

Teams making requests on behalf of students do not journey far down the road before realizing that there are issues that if not addressed will create roadblocks to accurate assessment, procurement of equipment and resources as well as implementation of AT and Augmentative and Alternative Communication/Assistive Augmentative Communication (AAC) for students. Acknowledging the need to build the bridges that will bring these individuals into a cohesive team is the catalyst for change that is most needed.

It should therefore not come as a surprise that the effective implementation of assistive technology (AT) is transformative for teacher practice and student learning outcomes. Educators who embrace this effort are faced with a set of challenges that are not found in typical technology integration efforts. In order to deeply integrate technology into instruction and learning, a change in pedagogy is required. In this chapter, the focus is to identify the unaddressed perspectives that impede technology implementation in diverse learning environments. When this unique set of perspectives is addressed, strategies for effective practice can emerge.

First, there will be a discussion on special education law and AT. Next, foundations of AT and effective implementation strategies at the classroom level will be discussed. The process by which teachers can be supported in integrating technology tools into learning tasks will be reviewed. A matrix that connects student-learning tasks with technology tools common to every classroom will be presented. The importance of making emotional connections and providing time to practice and share in an environment where failure is seen as an opportunity for growth will be provided. Finally, systemic implementation issues and strategies for success will also be shared.

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