Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology for Learning (ATL)

  • Assistive Technology for Learning (ATL) includes the devices, media and services used in learning environments to overcome barriers for students with physical, sensory, cognitive, speech, learning or behavioral special needs to actively engage in learning and to achieve their individual learning goals (Alberta Education)
  • ATL supports diverse student needs to actively engage learners in order to help meet individualized and specific learning goals
  • The goal of ATL is to provide support for all students in order to meet individual and Alberta curricular goals
  • Wolf Creek Inclusive Learning Services and Technology Services collaborate in order to provide the necessary supports for staff and students

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:

  • Reading, writing, math and memory
  • Vision, hearing, communication and organization

Services

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:

  • knowledge and expertise about the student
  • the assessment process
  • evaluation of the tools effectiveness
  • training of staff, students and parents
  • strategies for implementing the devices

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.

Resources

Wolf Creek Digital Library

  • Collection of digital resources developed in order to be used in conjunction with text to speech software
  • Textbooks and novels aligning with curricular outcomes from Grade 3-12

Read & Write Gold Software - Division Wide Access

  • Award-winning literacy support software that gives an added boost for students to access any curriculum and complete reading, writing, and research assignments as well as take tests independently
  • This program is installed throughout the Wolf Creek School Division and is being used by teachers and educational assistants to help students meet their learning goals
  • Staff training and software implementation is continuing to ensure effective strategies are being used to help our students
  • New roll-out of Version 11 and a Google Apps Extension as we continue to grow in our use of RWG
  • Training and Support

Links