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Assistive technologies

In this video, we hear from Jules Daulby about assistive technologies.
So, what do teachers and school leaders need to think about if they’re going to be trying to use tech to create a more inclusive learning environment? So I think, if a leader wants to use tech, then it shouldn’t necessarily come from the assistive tech front, I think they want to be looking at how we’re going to embed tech within the school and that will then help our children so it’s having it embedded as opposed to an add-on and we say that we SEND teaching, you know, that it needs to be built in not bolted on and I think it’s the same with technology so we all use our phones now and we often lots of us use predictive text for instance on our phones, you can have your phone read out your work, so the more people who are using this tech, then actually becomes less assistive technology and more just usual technology that everybody uses.
Sat-nav and Alexa are really good examples that are brilliant for people with all sorts of disabilities and and yet, we all use them now and they’re part of it but they came from and they were designed for people with disabilities, but actually what we found is everybody uses them really well and that’s similar I think to teaching, so you know good inclusive practice and SEND teaching is actually just good teaching and it’s the same with tech, if it can help people with tech, then that that’s all good and well and I think Microsoft and Google, for instance, Google have Speak It I think and it’s dictating Microsoft and I know teachers are using that for report writing, so it’s not that they can’t spell alright but actually it’s just quicker and they can just talk it, so when everybody starts to use this type of technology I think that particularly helps children and students that have other difficulties with literacy and SEND.
What is kind of an embedded approach that like compared to something that’s like [clicking sound]? So if I go… when I used to do assistive technology assessments, I’d go to different schools and it was really clear to me from meeting the IT department how well this was going to go so I’d get some that will go ‘oooff’, you know, and obviously they need to protect the IT system but it also has to have utility so I used to compare it to a library where you can’t borrow books because they were worried about the books getting lost, you know, it’s the same with technology so our IT departments I think are really key in in being outward facing almost with their teachers and being the ones that can help and support and so the teacher should be able to go to the IT department and give them their issues and they should be problem-solving.
And the other thing was to have a really enthusiastic person that was in charge of assistive technology for the students. That’s actually really helpful because obviously, you know, one thing that we’ve neglected to mention is the fact that often young people with SEND, they have TAs assigned to them and that’s a, you know, a really powerful resource and it’s not for the tech to replace the TA and make them redundant but how can they work?
I think merging the two together, yeah so and again, I’ve had TAs that are very nervous about using tech and others that love it, so again I would go with your passionate people within your school who like to use tech and I would say they can put it on their, you know, give them a title, you know, they’re head of assistive technology, that’s great, they can put it on a CV, send them some courses, make them feel like they own it and then they can really help and also we have digital leaders for students but we don’t have necessarily assistive technology digital leaders so if you’re year seven and you get into school when you meet a year eleven peer with dyslexia that can show you how to use all this incredible tech and that’s a peer to peer relationship, then, you know, use your students in the school as well, I think there’s all sorts of opportunities to keep that embedded and to get that technology embedded in the school.
That’s a really nice idea and goes back to your point about kind of empowering the young people. Yes, I think there’s an amazing amount of technology out there and again, it’s down to the structures within the school whether that can be easy or not.

In this video, we hear from Jules Daulby in an interview with Iesha Small about approaches to the use of educational technologies for pupils with SEND.

Key learning points from this case study

  • Technology to support pupils with SEND should be embedded rather than added on
  • There are a number of tools that can support all pupils, regardless of additional need
  • Support to build skills and confidence in using assistive technologies is essential
  • Audit existing assistive technologies school already has and learn how to use them
  • School IT departments should face out to teachers and work collaboratively
Once you’ve reflected on the points raised with other course participants, click the ‘Mark as complete’ button below and then select ‘Using education technology effectively’ to hear from Cat Scutt with some final thoughts and reflections.
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Leadership of Education Technology in Schools

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