Remote AT Services Overview
Appropriate assistive technology (AT) tools can improve educational outcomes for students. In order to ensure that benefit is realized, education professionals need to know specific technologies and strategies that will allow them to use AT in their classrooms in order to address the needs of their students. Unfortunately, in large rural areas few opportunities exist to increase educators’ skills and knowledge related to AT. Resources are needed to address this need, but in many places, people with expertise and time to share it are simply not available. The use of remote services provided through two-way video conferencing platforms, when paired with more traditional approaches to AT support offers innovative opportunities to increase AT capacity within a school district.
Remote AT services can enhance the work of AT service providers and facilitate virtual teamwork. Virtual teamwork is defined as two or more persons who work together on a mutual goal or work assignment, interact from different locations, and therefore communicate and cooperate by means of information and communication technology (Bell & Kozlowski, 2002; Hertel, Geister, & Konradt, 2005). While virtual teamwork can be approached through the use of telephone conference calls, email and other more traditional communication strategies, research overwhelmingly indicates that people understand more when they see people speaking, rather than simply listening to voices. Modern communication tools that include audio and video conferencing features as well as file sharing, web-based document editing systems and the ability to “take over” a computer allow remote teams to share information and connect with each other cross geographic and cultural boundaries, using a single interface (Frost & Sullivan, 2016). Just a few examples of remote AT services include planning meetings for individuals who use AT, technical assistance about the use of assistive technology, AT troubleshooting, remote classroom observations, student instruction, professional development and consultation from remote experts.
Bell, B. S., & Kozlowski, S.W.J., (2002). A typology of virtual teams: Implications for effective leadership. Group and Organization Management, 27, 14-49.
Frost & Sullivan, (2016) Connected Work—Enabling Technologies for Future Workplaces Acquired from http://www.frost.com
Hertel, G., Geister, S., & Konradt, U. (2005). Managing virtual teams: A review of current empirical research. Human Resource Management Review, 15, 69-95.