This week, I'm at the ATIA Conference. While I'm here, I'm looking for ideas about integration of AT and strategies to make it happen. I thought this week might be a good chance to talk a little about the conference and the great new ideas that people share. Here's one from today.
Matt Press and Alicia Craven told me about how they did a just-in-time AT needs assessment when they had specific questions about which text reading software to purchase for their district. The used the Poll Everywhere polling software at a district-wide staff meeting. They asked a few multiple choice questions about the needs of all the teachers in attendance and staff were immediately allowed to text their answers to the site. In just a few minutes they had needs assessment data and opinions from everyone in the audience and were able to make quick decisions about what to purchase with data from lots and lots of staff members.
It has always seemed to me that involving people in the AT decision-making process as early as possible is an important strategy to ensure buy-in and more effective implementation. What a great idea about how to do that! Thanks Matt and Alicia!
Just like a garden needs different care from a gardener depending on the time of the year, students and educators need different supports for assistive technology use as they move through the school year. With each new school season comes change—changes in our students, changes in what they are learning, and changes in our own AT services. Just as we cannot simply plant a seed and expect to immediately see a plant, we cannot give a student assistive technology and expect to see immediate success.