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Collaborative Learning

Assistive Technology for Learning (ATL)

About ATL Media, Devices and Services

Media and Devices

ATL ranges from simple tools to complex systems. It could be as simple as providing a pencil grip for writing or a fidget for anxiety. It can be as complex as a computer with speech to text software for reading and learning support or braille systems for severe vision needs. Available devices can be considered as on a continuum from low to and mid and high technology. 

ATL Media and Devices can be categorized as to the area of need for individual students.These categories include but are not limited to: 


ATL Services are the strategies, ideas, supports and personnel that are necessary to make the device(s) work functionally for the student within multiple environments.

ATL Services include:

Without effective services in place, the benefits of the ATL devices and media will not be realized. Abandonment of ATL is a common outcome if effective services have not been put in place to support the devices obtained for a struggling student.

Decision Making and Best Practices

ATL Decision Making

Investigating whether or not individual students might benefit from ATL, and which ATL would be most appropriate in meeting their needs, is an ongoing process that involves working as a team to explore alternatives, gather information and set up opportunities for students to try potential ATL solutions across learning environments in and out of the school setting. This team may include school based learning coaches, the teacher and educational assistant, parents, specialists and the WCPS Coordinator of ATL.

SETT Framework

As the learning team begins exploring potential ATL solutions, a standard set of investigative questions, such as the SETT Framework developed by Joy Zabala, can serve as a tool for gathering and organizing data. The SETT Framework considers the student, the environment, the task and then the tools needed by the student to address the tasks. Using the questions in the framework, the learning team can generate a list of basic ATL tools and strategies to help the student be better able to complete identified tasks in the school environment.

Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT)

The QIAT Consortium is an international grassroots group that includes hundreds of individuals who provide input into the ongoing process of identifying, disseminating, and implementing a set of widely applicable quality indicators for assistive technology services in school settings. 


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