Quality Indicators for Professional Development and Training in Assistive Technology
This area defines the critical elements of quality professional development and training in assistive technology. Assistive technology professional development and training efforts should arise out of an ongoing, well-defined, sequential and comprehensive plan. Such a plan can develop and maintain the abilities of individuals at all levels of the organization to participate in the creation and provision of quality AT services. The goal of assistive technology professional development and training is to increase educators’ knowledge and skills in a variety of areas including, but not limited to: collaborative processes; a continuum of tools, strategies, and services; resource; legal issues; action planning; and data collection and analysis. Audiences for professional development and training include: students, parents or caregivers, special education teachers, educational assistants, support personnel, general education personnel, administrators, AT specialists, and others involved with students.
1. Comprehensive assistive technology professional development and training supports the understanding that assistive technology devices and services enable students to accomplish IEP goals and objectives and make progress in the general curriculum.
Intent: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires the provision of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for all children with disabilities. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) defines FAPE for each student. The use of AT enables students to participate in and benefit from FAPE. The focus of all AT Professional Development and training activities is to increase the student’s ability to make progress in the general curriculum and accomplish IEP goals and objectives.
2. The education agency has an AT professional development and training plan that identifies the audiences, the purposes, the activities, the expected results, evaluation measures and funding for assistive technology professional development and training.
Intent: The opportunity to learn the appropriate techniques and strategies is provided for each person involved in the delivery of assistive technology services. Professional development and training are offered at a variety of levels of expertise and are pertinent to individual roles.
3. The content of comprehensive AT professional development and training addresses all aspects of the selection, acquisition and use of assistive technology.
Intent: AT professional development and training addresses the development of a wide range of assessment, collaboration and implementation skills that enable educators to provide effective AT interventions for students. The AT professional development and training plan includes, but is not limited to: collaborative processes; the continuum of tools, strategies and services; resources; legal issues; action planning; and data collection.
4. AT professional development and training addresses and is aligned with other local, state and national professional development initiatives.
Intent: For many students with disabilities, assistive technology is required for active participation in local, state and national educational initiatives. Content of the professional development and training includes information about how the use of assistive technology supports the participation of students with disabilities in these initiatives.
5. Assistive technology professional development and training includes ongoing learning opportunities that utilize local, regional, and/or national resources.
Intent: Professional development and training opportunities enable individuals to meet present needs and increase their knowledge of AT for use in the future. Training in AT occurs frequently enough to address new and emerging technologies and practices and is available on a repetitive and continuous schedule. A variety of AT professional development and training resources are used.
6. Professional Development and Training in assistive technology follows research-based models for adult learning that include multiple formats and are delivered at multiple skill levels.
Intent: The design of professional development and training for AT recognizes adults as diverse learners who bring various levels of prior knowledge and experience to the training and can benefit from differentiated instruction using a variety of formats and diverse timeframes (e.g., workshops, distance learning, follow-up assistance, ongoing technical support).
7. The effectiveness of assistive technology professional development and training is evaluated by measuring changes in practice that result in improved student performance.
Intent: Evidence is collected regarding the results of AT professional development and training. The professional development and training plan is modified based on these data in order to ensure changes in educational practice that result in improved student performance.
- The educational agency does not have a comprehensive plan for ongoing AT professional development and training.
- The educational agency’s plan for professional development and training is not based on AT needs assessment and goals.
- Outcomes for professional development are not clearly defined and effectiveness is not measured in terms of practice and student performance.
- A continuum of ongoing professional development and training is not available.
- Professional development and training focuses on the tools and not the process related to determining student needs and integrating technology into the curriculum.
- Professional development and training is provided for special educators but not for administrators, general educators and instructional technology staff.