In this context, the term “educators” refers to any individual working to support the learning process. This includes para-professionals, direct service providers, special educators, and general educators. These professionals work together to empower learners. After all, we are “better together.”
Below are specific ways that educators support an inclusive technology system.
Classroom educators contribute to leading a balanced and inclusive technology infrastructure by sharing relevant classroom experiences with district leaders and technology professionals. Classroom educators help to:
- Create a community-wide vision by participating as part of a leadership team to create a shared vision and goals that include accessible teaching and learning technologies.
- Develop a strategic technology plan by providing insights into the current realities and experiences and ensuring plan development includes activities that are reasonable and high-leverage to avoid educator burnout.
- Measure progress for continuous improvement by providing feedback on data collection activities to ensure they are reasonable and high-leverage, again, to avoid educator burnout.
- Develop a professional learning system by advocating for, designing, and implementing a professional learning system that includes instructional coaching opportunities that honor the experiences of various roles, as well as veteran staff.
- Partner and communicate with families by advocating for streamlined communication systems that support all parties, including educators.
Classroom educators contribute to an inclusive technology infrastructure by designing learning experiences using safe and secure practices and leveraging learning devices and high-quality digital learning content. Classroom educators help to:
- Personalize learning devices by teaming with students and families to identify accessibility needs to personalize learning technology.
- Unify inclusive technology decision-making by providing input and feedback in procurement and purchasing decisions.
- Provide accessible educational materials (AEM) by using learning management system accessibility features and ensuring that the materials implemented, either published or teacher-created, are accessible to support the individual needs and preferences of learners and families.
- Ensure student privacy and secure inclusive practices by adhering to learner privacy and security requirements when using teaching and learning technologies and securely sharing data with learners and their families.
- Provide families access by sharing information on commonly used technologies, including AT, and for learners with complex learning support needs, accurate login information.
- Provide technical support to families by ensuring families have access through appropriate channels to district-provided help desk support, and for learners with complex learning support needs, access to technical support for speech-generating devices and other high-tech devices.
By taking a proactive approach to broadening personal technology skills, classroom educators can identify and remove barriers to learning and design learning experiences that empower learners. Classroom educators help to:
- Develop technology competencies by discovering ways to create and integrate accessible digital learning materials and AT into teaching practices.
- Design learner-centered experiences by using technology, including AT, in instructional design and planning, and as a way to efficiently and effectively collaborate with partner educators.
- Enhance technology skills by committing to be a life-long learner and by participating in coaching relationships as a coach or coachee.
- Engage families in the learning community by regularly communicating with families regarding the coordination and collaboration of the learner’s specially designed instruction, including AT use in the classroom, as well as seeking the families input on how to better support the learner.
- Support families’ shifting role by ensuring all families have opportunity to participate in the educational career of their children in ways that are developmentally appropriate and are future-focused.
Classroom educators offer inclusive learning opportunities through technology to foster student engagement and independent choice-making. Classroom educators help to:
- Empower learners to actively engage by using technology-based learning tools to help students make progress toward their learning goals and lower unnecessary barriers to showing what they know.
- Empower learners to make independent choices about technology by providing practice opportunities for students with disabilities to increase their understanding of technology and develop skills in making independent choices about which tools are most useful in different situations.
- Empower families to support learning by sharing classroom expectations and observations of student learning, and providing insights into what these moments might look like at home.
Classroom educators use technology to measure learning and use assessment data to make informed instructional decisions. Classroom educators help to:
- Procure accessible assessments by learning and teaching students and families about technology accommodations that are available on district and state assessments.
- Design accessible formative assessments by using formative accessible assessment tools.
- Collaborate with state testing officials by reporting barriers to implementation of the assessment with building and district administrators.
- Analyze data for decision-making by using data to inform improvements of:
- Instructional design through the collaborative analysis of various forms of individual learner data, that include data on AT assessment, evidence of availability, and evidence of use.
- Programmatic design through collaborative analysis of various forms of group data, including AT data, to determine appropriate shifts in program design and delivery.
- Systemic design through collaborative analysis of various forms of group data, including AT data, to determine appropriate shifts in service delivery and resource allocation.
- Include families in assessment accommodation decisions by deploying information for all families to understand the accessibility framework used to consider and provide accommodations for all learners. Educators also include families by helping troubleshoot for those that need additional assistance.
- Include families in large-scale assessment administration by sharing information with families on assessment expectations and practice opportunities.
- Include families in data-based decisions by participating in a culture of inclusive decision-making that honors the concept of “shared data” or “our data” when making decisions that will lead to instructional shifts, programmatic shifts, and systemic shifts.