Developing teachers’ skills in the use of technology to support ASN pupils
CALL Scotland (www.callscotland.org.uk) is a Scottish Government funded centre of excellence specialising in assistive technologies to support pupils with additional support needs (ASN). Based at the University of Edinburgh, we provide a wide range of services to all teachers in Scotland including advice, support, loan equipment, information, resources and professional learning.
Assistive technology can support learners with a variety of additional support needs. A dyslexic pupil may require text-to-speech software to alleviate reading difficulties. A pupil with complex physical difficulties may use eye-gaze technology with a communication aid to give them a voice. There are so many different technologies out there and so much scope for them to increase participation, enhance inclusion and to raise confidence and attainment.
Professor Andy Hargreaves, a member of the International Council of Education Advisers that is advising the Scottish Government on the National Improvement Framework, says:
“Assistive technology is not simply a device such as a laptop or a piece of software. Nor is it a single investment in time and resources. It is as an interconnected system that encompasses planning, professional development, personnel, and equipment.”
It is in the area of professional development that I believe the biggest change needs to happen in Scottish education. We need more teachers to engage with training opportunities to gain the skills that will allow them to fully support their learners with ASN and to give these pupils the best chance at achieving.
CALL Scotland’s team of specialists deliver professional learning on all aspects of assistive technology. The main areas we cover are technology to support:
- literacy and numeracy difficulties
- communication support needs
- Autism Spectrum conditions
- visual impairment
- physical support needs
- severe and complex needs.
There are a range of ways to access CALL Scotland’s professional learning depending on your location, availability of time and budget:
- courses at University of Edinburgh and online learning workshops
- free webinars
- bespoke courses delivered in your workplace.
We are also running our Masters level blended learning Inclusive Digital Technology (IDT) course starting in March 2020. This course is unique in the field of assistive technology in Scotland. It is set within a context of underpinning academic literacies, legislation and policy at national and local levels in relation to inclusive digital technologies and resources for pupils with ASN.
Improving your knowledge and understanding of assistive technology will help you create a truly inclusive learning environment, one in which your learners with ASN have far more chance of flourishing and being happier.
Feel free to get in touch with me email@example.com to have a chat about any of your training requirements.
Reference: Hargreaves, A. & Braun, H. (2012). Leading for all, page 53