“Technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students” (ISTE 2011).
d. Select, evaluate and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning (ISTE 2011).
A successful school technology program “address[es] the unique needs of students with disabilities” (ISTE 2011). Technology coaches can support this effort by “ select[ing], evaluat[ing] and facilitat[ing] the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning” (ISTE 2011).
During my coursework in the Seattle Pacific University Digital Education Leadership Master’s Degree program, I examined current best practices in the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning and to ensure equitable access for all teachers and students.
Advocating & Facilitating Independence
As a technology integration specialist, I am now able to apply my learning by advocating and facilitating the use of assistive technologies to promote independence in children with disabilities.
Relying on others may slow the transition into adulthood, and may also lower self-esteem, as it demands children with learning disabilities to depend on others, rather than themselves, to solve a problem. Assistive technology… provides a way for children with learning disabilities to achieve specific tasks on their own (Adebisi 2015).
Gold Standard = UDI
The ideal we should all be working toward is Universal Design of Instruction (UDI). As Sheryl Burgstahler states, “The goal of UDI is to maximize the learning of students with a wide range of characteristics by applying UD principles to all aspects of instruction (e.g., delivery methods, physical spaces, information resources, technology, personal interactions, assessments)” (2015). Done right, the design of all learning environments and tools would render disabilities invisible.
You can read more about my experience in my blog post: “UDI = Gold Standard for Digital Age Learning Environment.”
Technology coaches contribute to a technology-enhanced learning environment by advocating for and facilitating the use of assistive and adaptive technologies that will result in greater independence for students with disabilities, and doing so by involving the students themselves in the decision-making process.
- Adebisi, R. O. (2015). Using assistive technology in teaching children with learning disabilities in the 21st century. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(24), 14-20.
- Burgstahler, S. (2015). Universal Design of Instruction (UDI): Definition, Principles, Guidelines, and Examples. Retrieved from http://www.washington.edu/doit/universal-design-instruction-udi-definition-principles-guidelines-and-examples
- International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE; 2011). Standards for Coaches.