2002 Conference Proceedings

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Dr. Debra K. Bauder
Assistant Professor - Session Leader/Presenter
Department of Special Education, Rm 147,
University Of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
Phone: 502.852.0564
FAX: 502.852.1419
Email: bauder@louisville.edu

Debbie Sharon
Director of Education
Bluegrass Technology Center
A member of the Alliance for Technology Access
961 Beasley Street, Ste 103A
Lexington, KY 40509-4120
Phone: 859.294.4343
FAX: 859.294.0704
Email: dsharon@bluegrass-tech.org

Changes in federal legislation dictate the need to increase the exposure to and awareness of assistive technology; during the course of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP), as teams are now required to consider assistive technology. In order for appropriate consideration to take place, at least one member of the Individualized Education Plan team needs to have knowledge with regard to assistive technology. The demand for training in a cost effective manner is one of the challenges for professional development training in assistive technology. Many times, teachers are not afforded the time to attend such specialized training events. Schools districts may not have the resources to provide specialized training from assistive technology experts.

Online instruction is one tool for meeting the professional development needs of school personnel. Through online instruction consistent and up to date information can be delivered to larger numbers of individuals. The concept is commonly referred to as "learning on demand". Another advantage to online instruction is it can provide for a variety of instructional strategies to meet the wide range of learning styles.

Kentucky's State Improvement Grant (SIG): Project Icarus offers free web-based instruction in assistive technology. The project provides participants with unique opportunities to develop awareness and skills in the field of assistive technology. The online workshops range from general to specific adaptations that can be used to enhance the learning experiences of children with disabilities. Teams of participants including: special and/or regular education, speech, occupational, and physical therapy, early childhood education, paraprofessional, technology support, administration, and/or families, enroll in one to three strands of online instruction, one strand per academic year for up to three years. Each strand consists of approximately five distance-based workshops averaging three to four hours for completion. Workshops involve multiple distance learning modalities to include: the Web-based instruction, email, listservs, CD-ROM, and videotape.

The presenters will share their knowledge, demonstrate the online training, discuss the barriers and successes they have experienced over the course of design, development, and delivery, and their direction for the future.

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