Monday, October 10, 2011

AT Manual by Hope Technology School (@Hopetechschool) #assistivetch #spedtech #spedchat #inclusion

I am excited to share one of my new favorite assistive technology resources with our readers today!

This resource has been developed by Hope Technology School (HTS).  HTS is a not-for-profit school in Palo Alto, California established in 2001 with the mission of providing an exceptional learning experience for typical and special needs children in a fully inclusive, technology rich environment.  HTS educates over 100 children from preschool through 8th grade.  They also have a Vocational Education Program for middle and high school aged students.  

At HTS, they utilize technology in innovative ways to provide students with an exceptional inclusive education and to help them attain his/her personal goals.  Their hope is to use technology, particularly computers, to include students with special needs and their typically developing peers into the same classroom environment.  As a result of a decade of hard work by a team of therapists, teachers, and parents as well as ongoing development, innovation, and collaboration,  the folks at Hope Technology School have written an AT Manual.  

The HTS AT Manual begins with a discussion of Assistive Technology (with a focus on communication), who can benefit from assistive technology, examples of High-Tech Tools, and the Building Blocks, or foundational skills, for communication (pointing & typing/speaking).  Next, readers are provided with an overview of technology resources (websites & FREE downloads) for Academics as well as the HTS Technology Toolbox.  The HTS team also shares helpful Technology Hints.  The most valuable section of the HTS AT Manual has to be the collection of Activities.  For each activity, the manual outlines the objective, rationale, technology tool, basic instructions, things to consider, & progress for the activities.

In a recent entry on the Hope Technology School blog (The Secret to Success with Assistive Technology), Morgan Brown explained how this entire document could be summarized in 2 basic secrets of success:
  1. Believe each student has something valuable to communicate.
  2. Just go for it - whether you're an expert or not, just try, who know what you'll discover.

As the Hope Technology Group is constantly developing new opportunities and evolving in their approach, the team at HTS will continue to update this manual.  Their hope is for this evolving document to be used to assist individuals and families to communicate, discover new methods of learning, and inspire others.

Exciting things are happening in the classrooms at Hope Technology School!  Current technology projects at HTS include use of the HP TouchSmartAndroid tablets, and iPad apps.  I recently have had the pleasure of interacting with several staff and parents at HTS on Twitter.  You can follow the school on Twitter, @hopetechschool.  They are truly innovative group of professionals and parents who are totally open to discussing assistive technology and sharing what they have learned.  I look forward to learning more about their innovative uses of technology.

-  Jeremy

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