The Assistive Technology Top 10: What Every Educator and Administrator Needs to Know

By FETC  Presenter: Mike Marotta, ATP – AT Specialist; President, Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC

There are many myths about assistive technology in education.  AT is all expensive. AT is complicated. AT Requires huge investments in staff time to implement. All untrue! In fact, many supports are built into the technology already in your schools.

Let’s look at the definition of Assistive Technology Device from IDEA:

Any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.

Whether it is iPads or Chromebooks, 1 to 1 or BYOD, schools have made huge investments in technology and infrastructure to support student learning using technology. With simple solutions and creative problem-solving, many of these tools can be used not only as ed tech tools, but as AT tools to “increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities of children with disabilities.” Use a browser extension to read text aloud and a struggling reader suddenly has access to text. Turn on a built-in screen reader and a student with a visual impairment can navigate around a smartphone or tablet. Simple solutions to meet the individualized needs of each student.

Modern mobile phone in office connecting tech devices around the world together

While many are familiar with the definition for Assistive Technology Device, equally important is the definition for Assistive Technology Service:

Assistive technology service means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

Just acquiring technology tools does not complete the Assistive Technology solution, true implementation occurs when a systematic plan is developed and executed to incorporate the technology tool into the learning environments.

Join the National Future of Education Technology Conference 2017 workshop The Assistive Technology Top 10: What Every Educator and Administrator Needs to Know. This workshop, led by Mike Marotta, ATP, will provide administrators and educators an overview of critical areas that must be addressed in order to facilitate success for students with disabilities.

The focus of this presentation will be threefold:

  • Understanding AT consideration vs Evaluation;
  • Understanding Accessible Educational Materials and Open Education Resources (OER);
  • And finally, through hands-on exploration, experiencing assistive technology tools that can be integrated into the classroom to support diverse learners.

This workshop will have hands-on exploration of tools and discussion related to delivering quality assistive technology services to students with disabilities. The presenter will utilize the Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT) to provide participants with matrices that they can implement in their schools to increase effective use of assistive technology.

All workshop materials will be delivered via a custom web portal that will be utilized throughout the workshop as well as provide a resource collection site for sharing and learning beyond the session.

 

About the presenter:

assistive technology, Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC
Mike Moratta

Mike is a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional who has been providing direct services to individuals with all disabilities for over 25 years. He runs his own technology consulting firm, Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC. As an evaluator, Mike works collaboratively with teams in all environments (school, workplace, and community) to effectively match the individual’s needs to technology supports.

Mike is a nationally and internationally recognized presenter who was previously a trainer for California State University at Northridge (CSUN), providing practical and in-depth training to professionals interested in specializing in assistive technology. In addition, Mike is an adjunct professor at California State University, Northridge (CA); Ramapo College of New Jersey (NJ); and Felician University (NJ) where he teaches courses for pre-service teachers and Masters level educators in Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning. Mike is also a member of the Faculty at the Center on Technology and Disabilities (http://www.ctdinstitute.org/) and presents on an array of topics. Mike is the Director of the Richard West Assistive Technology Advocacy Center at Disability Rights New Jersey, Manager of Professional Development at Learning Ally and serves on the CAST Accessible Educational Materials Advisory Board.

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