ED- Tech Help
As a SBRT I’ve been dabbling with educational technologies designed to help students with special needs access materials, develop their literacy/numeracy/digital skills, and demonstrate their learning. It has always been a challenge in my position to have enough time to deeply learn and understand the tool because of logistic complications involved in getting laid off and repositioned year by year, ever-changing case-loads where program implementation/follow through could not happen, and interests spread too thin, over too many programs to learn anything lasting. My goal this year, in special education, is to gain a confident understanding, and practical use for programming of Kurzweil 3000 to better support my students with learning disabilities.
This week I was grateful, again, for the benefits that come with making “relationship” primary in my practice. After quickly assessing the need in my new job during the first week of school, I was able to connect with my network of support people in my district to arrange meetings to review protocols needed to implement online resources for a student with a reading disability. The family, SET-BC worker, teacher, student and I met quickly and efficiently to create an account in Firefly (school district purchase license for reading online text) for my student. We all learned details about how the program runs, other useful free online readers (Natural Reader), and planned how best to upload and support the students learning program in her home environment. It was a pleasure to see information getting shared and used immediately by someone who needed it.
As I look to developing my knowledge about the programs (Kurzweil, Firefly, Boardmaker Pro, etc.) I need to know I will turn to the technical support people in my district (as I usually do), my colleagues with experience, online support provided within the program itself, practice and experimenting with them, and websites/blog posts dedicated to sharing information and supporting teachers.