Ideas on Remote AT Services

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This document shares ideas on using remote services in the provision of AT services.  The efficient use of time is critical for the provision of AT services. Using today’s remote technology tools, AT services and professional learning do not always need to be face-to-face. There are many opportunities where AT supports can be provided more readily using remote tools.  This document discusses various ways to use remote services 

Multiple individuals can contribute to this list of ideas about remote services to enhance AT services and supports. If you have an idea that you would like to share, please contact the NATE Network at info@natenetwork.org 

 

REMOTE SERVICES IN AT SERVICE DELIVERY 

Initiating Remote Services 

We’ve found it takes some time for people to manage the logistics and get comfortable  using video as a collaboration tool. Good cameras and microphones to see and hear the person really help. Also recognize that the first 1-4 meetings will involve some lost transition time as people learn how to mute appropriately, share screens etc.

We’ve also added a component to any major curriculum or AT purchase for our agency to include video/webinar training by the company in different time zones. While the quality of these trainings varies, it at least gets the ball rolling and gives us something to start with.

If a teacher emails me with a question about a specific program, I often will respond back with a short (1-4 min) screencast video which also allows me the ability to talk through the process, make recommendations, etc. Often this video takes less time to create than it would where I write down all the steps. Personally, I like using Screencastomatic, but we also use Jing. I’ve also worked with teachers to create needed personalized tutorial videos.

Our agency is providing 45 minutes of early release or late start per work.  This allows teachers to use virtual meeting resources to connect teachers across the district and agency using a focused collaboration framework. Education teachers meet virtually to discuss what we want students to know, how we will assess what they know, and strategies to try to enrich what they already know it. We’ve been having some rich discussions related to AT within this framework.

I love being able to reference existing webinars that I didn’t have to create! I like how AAC in the Cloud conference is put together. I would like to see a  virtual conference in the future for other topics besides AAC. I try to reference and encourage my SPED teams to engage in webinars and podcasts. (Contributed by Aaron Marsters, DODEA, Germany)

 

Following-up on AT Services 

I think following up on how services are going is something we need to focus on. Sometimes we loan a tool and then find out it was never used.  I would call or video chat. I think we need to make this a clearer option for people. (Contributed by Michelle Allen, MT)

 

WAYS TO USE REMOTE SERVICES 

 

Vendor Fairs in the Cloud

One of the initiatives Ohio has undertaken over the past 9 years is to host AT Vendor Fairs across the state. For several reasons, many of the vendors were not able to attend in person this year. In an effort to continue to provide information about AT supports statewide, we are discussing the possibility of designing an “AAC in the Cloud” event. Participants can log in to scheduled vendor presentations of their choice and can attend as many or as few as they want.  This is much more economical and would eliminate a lot of work on our part associated with hosting. (Contributed by Jennifer Heim)

 

A Variety of Remote Options

Two-way video to save time! I plan on setting up a live webinar at the beginning of the year and throughout the year during common lunchtimes. I will also use the recorded option for those who could not attend the webinar, but interested in the material being presented. I currently have a monthly newsletter. I plan on putting upcoming webinars in my Newsletter to make teachers aware as well as send out a reminder email. I was also brainstorming ways to use two-way conferencing with older students (maybe high school students). If they have a question on using a tool, I can share my screen or they can share theirs. I LOVE this idea. It may be something so simple such as update chrome. I could quickly troubleshoot that problem remotely instead of driving to that building.

 We talked about a student who is homebound (due to health issues) being a part of circle time or music therapy in his “would be” class. The VGO robot option would be an AMAZING tool for this. For cost issues, we could first start with Facetime and work toward some data to the reason why we would need a VGO. One reason I could advocate for a VGO is having a student be independent in transitioning throughout the building.

 I will also continue to make my recorded trainings and put them on our YouTube Channel and Infinitec’s Engage program. I think having all of these tools in my back pocket and available to accommodate teachers on a tight schedule will be a great way for teachers to buy into AT and feel motivated to learn more about the tools. It is also great to reach Parents who are busy and can’t come into school during the school day. So many possibilities! I will have to take some time to plan out a list of trainings I want to do, and the best way to get that information out! (Contributed by Riley Pec, IL)

 

AT Office Hours  

During one of her webinars, Gayl mentioned that one AT team had online office hours, so that the teachers in the district would know AT specialists could be easily contacted. My team has developed a similar strategy, with a slightly more specific focus. We are calling our sessions “A(Tea).  For the first 15 minutes, we begin with a specific topic and then we answer questions for the remaining 45 minutes. Staff are able to drop in and pick up an information sheet about our topic, so that the participating staff have a cheat sheet or a handout with relevant information. We have received lots of positive feedback about the format. (Contributed by L S Lalonde, Canada).

 

REMOTE SERVICES FOR STUDENTS

Remote services can also be used for direct student support.  Here are some ideas about how remote services can be used.

 

Video Conferencing with Students

I have been using video conferencing with high school students and some elementary students for quick check ins, and troubleshooting issues. Just the other day, I worked with a paraprofessional and two second graders using Clicker 7 to write a paper on elephants. I was  able to walk them through setting up the word banks and word prediction. They shared their screen and I shared mine. It only took 10 minutes to help a team 2 hours away. (Contributed by Aaron Marsters, DODEA-Germany)

 

I have been brainstorming ways to use two-way video conferencing with older students (maybe high school students). If they have a question, or they can share their screen, and we can address it right away.   It may be something so simple such as an update for chrome. I could quickly troubleshoot without driving to that building. (Contributed by Riley Pec, IL)

 

Student Tech Clubs

We have developed a “tech club”. This is a group of students who join an online session during their lunch hour, once every two weeks.  I can’t tell you how important it is for low vision tech users to have the opportunity to share experiences with other low vision students, as many of them are the only visually impaired student in their school. It helps them to develop a comfort level about using assistive technology in the classroom. These students love to share what they have discovered online with their peers in other towns or provinces. (Contributed by L S Lalonde, Canada)

 

Including Homebound Students

Using Hangouts

 We have had some limited experience with Hangouts to include home-bound students in class discussions. We also have worked to encourage teachers to share assignments materials on Google Drive and/or through Google Classroom so that students can access their work even when they are not physically present. (Contributed by L S Lalonde, Canada)

Using Robots

We recently talked about a student who is homebound (due to health issues) being a part of circle time or music. A VGO robot option would be an AMAZING tool for this. For cost issues, we could first start with FaceTIme and work toward some data to justify VGO. One reason I would advocate for a VGO is to allow the  student to independently transition throughout the building. (Contributed by Riley Pec, IL)

 

BRIEF REFLECTIONS FROM AT SERVICE PROVIDERS ON REMOTE SERVICES 

  • I plan on setting up live webinars throughout the year during common lunchtimes. I will also use the recorded option for those who could not attend the webinar, but are interested in what was presented. 
  • We routinely use Google Meet and Lync for meetings, trainings, collaboration groups, follow up sessions and occasional direct student screencasting/recording screencasts.  We have used remote conferencing for years to support device/software training and troubleshooting. 
  • I personally like using video to support software trainings. Everyone can see and you are not hovering or invading someone’s personal space as you stand over them.
  • I routinely plan 20 minute webinars or AT video collaboration sessions during lunch or immediately after school before the teacher is off duty.  Short remote sessions are easier for teachers to commit the time to attend. I typically send out an Outlook calendar reminder to all special educators regarding the meeting topic, meeting link, and applicable resources. Attendance is optional. I need to start recording these sessions.
  • Our school special education teams have weekly meetings to discuss cases. I am often able to remotely join by video conference. While I like being at the meetings in person, the ability to video in allows me to greatly reduce travel time.
  • I currently have a monthly newsletter. I plan on putting upcoming webinars in my newsletter to make teachers aware. I will also record trainings and put them on our YouTube Channel 
  • Being in a small town, we do not generally have good access to well known national leaders and experts for workshops. We could use expertise provided at a distance.
  •  I think I need to reflect on how to use video meetings with families–or IEP/IFSP meetings, consultations about a child’s educational program or technical assistance for programming and device management.