AT4LD comprises 10 learning modules (one per week):
- Course overview and key AT concepts
- Learning objectives, syllabus, and projects (see below)
- Tools to support you as a learner in this course
- Key AT concepts on which this course is based
- Accessibility and the AT Process
- Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)
- Components of an effective "AT solution"
- Laws relevant to assistive technology
- Tools for Processing and Memory
- Tools for Reading
- Tools for Written Expression
- Tools for Math
- Tools for Notetaking and Study
- Tools for Attention and Executive Functioning
- Overview of tools for other selected disabilities you may encounter
- Examples: visual and hearing impairments, alternative computer/device access, augmentative/alternative communication
- Online discussions of student-created AT plans (see below)
There is also an optional "Module 0" with background info on learning differences for those who need to brush on the "Skills Needed" for this course: "...basic understanding of the academic challenges faced by individuals who have learning disabilities, ADHD, and executive function issues."
The course is largely asynchronous (self-study) comprising videos, reading materials, self-guided activities (see below), and threaded discussion groups. However, there are also two synchronous (scheduled) online sessions (see Schedule tab for details). I plan to post materials in Canvas so that students can explore 1-2 modules ahead of the current week.
Students will work on two projects throughout the course.
Project #1: Feature-and-Function Journal
A key element of this course will be hands-on activities to better understand how selected technology features address specific functional learning needs. (A feature is an aspect of a tool that provides the user with a specific functional capability – e.g., text-to-speech adds the ability to listen to digital text spoken aloud as well as read it visually.) Using a variety of tool features in the context of performing certain academic tasks, as students would, will provide a greater appreciation of realities concerning tool selection, training, implementation, and application strategies. Participants will maintain a feature-function journal that will become a useful professional resource later.
The Feature-Function Journal plays an important role in Modules 3 through 9.
Project #2: Mock Assistive Technology Consideration and Implementation Plan
During the first two weeks of the course, each participant will be provided with details about a hypothetical student’s functional abilities and limitations, the nature of their curriculum (instructional methods, materials, goals, and assessment), their learning environments at school and at home, and their current academic challenges. As participants learn about and discuss tools throughout this course, they will make notes about possible technology solutions for their hypothetical student, how to implement and evaluate those solutions, and other factors to consider.
Toward the end of the quarter, each participant will create an AT consideration and implementation summary (using a template provided by the instructor) and post this to the AT4LD Canvas website for other students to review. During the last "live" online class session (Module 10), we will discuss these summaries as a group – or more appropriately, a "team" – asking questions, offering feedback, and making suggestions to improve each AT plan.