After reading CanDoElla I felt it appropriate to give some information for NQT’s. As a part-time, external lecturer to Bath Spa University I often meet teachers to be and those working in education as fellow professionals. Without exception the knowledge of assistive technology or ICT SEN is little and sparse on the ground. Therefore I see it as vitally important that information gets out there. I am a Co-Director of the British Assistice Technology Association and our agenda is to raise the awareness of assistive technology in the UK. We run a free group for teachers and you are welcome to join . We run webinars and invite discussion about this topic of what new technologies can do to enable and empower pupils. To join click here
What can Assistive Technology/ICT SEND do?
Alternative methods of recording can enable dyslexics to have different methods to record with not just pen and paper which is an unsurmontable barrier for learning which makes the governments insistence on handwriting laughable if it weren’t so sadly tragic.
For those with severe cerebral palsy it’s an impossibility to handwrite so using technology such as switches and joystick inputs along with eye gaze and other new technologies are opening up the world to many children who have been denied a means of expression by traditional means
For the autistic technology provides an avenue of communication that is non-threathening and motivating as well as finding a way into their special worlds which we should enter with their permission and not assume our approaches are welcome!
Finally, for those with sensory needs the advent of smart speakers are changing the leisure world of many blind or partially sighted users. Giving enjoyment and pleasure as well as communication means of accessing landlines and mobiles without the need for keypads.
Where do we find out about Assistive Technology/ ICT SEND ?
By looking at this site and others. I have a SENCO update page which would give NQT’s an avenue to find out about useful technology. I do seminars on “What you can get for little or no cost?” and ” Making the most of what you’ve got” as the reality at the moment is little finance in schools to buy things like eye-gaze systems. That may be changing let’s see. But systemic change in education will not occur by bringing in the bright shiny technology but by dedicated, hard working teachers like yourself who are committed to making a difference to a child;’s life no matter what the disability and barrier to learning they have.
Also, check out http://bataonline.org There is a wealth of knowledge out there but since the demise of BECTA there hasn’t been a place for impartial advice and information to go to. BATA would like to be a current source as we represent suppliers and professionals. Also, take a look at NAACE’s website They have useful information built up over years of advisory practise.
Finally, contact me here at this website. I’d be happy to come and speak to you and your staff team. I feel there is a huge skills gap in the kind of problem solving work I do as an Assistive Technologist working with schools and families. Sharing just small things of usefulness can change lives for the better. I am a firm believer of a can-do approach even in times of austerity you can still do something ( maybe not the best you could do but something postive!).
NQT’s should be energetic and willing to take on challenges being fresh out of training. If there is anything I can do to help you – just ask!