Professional Development Opportunities

Oregon Technology Access Program (OTAP) offers a variety of Assistive Technology-related topics, which are customizable; to meet your training needs.  These topics may be delivered face-to-face, virtually, or a combination of both methods.  Workshops are provided at no cost to the host.  Following is a list of current offerings.  Please contact us to discuss your needs and your vision.    

Debra Fitzgibbons, OTAP Coordinator, debra.fitzgibbonsatdouglasesd.k12.or.us

Shar Powell, AT Specialist, shar.powellatdouglasesd.k12.or.us


Hands-On Opportunities

(All hands-on workshops are offered in half- or full-day formats)

Hands-On with AEM Implementation Tools: Software and Devices for Reading

Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) textbooks and other core instructional materials in specialized formats such as electronic text, audio files, large print, or Braille. It also includes the technologies used to access and manipulate these formats.  This hands-on class will guide participants through selection of appropriate formats, as well as accessing the various repositories of accessible media to acquire the needed formats.  We will look at processes for converting to student-ready formats, making paper materials accessible, and best practices for sharing digital files.  Contact OTAP to discuss options for customizing this workshop to meet your training needs for the software or devices available in your district.

Hands on with iPads: Exploring Strategies and Benefits 

Many districts and educational programs have invested in iPads.  This workshop presents strategies for student learning and classroom integration.  Participants will learn how to set up the iPad for day-to-day management, e.g., customize to accommodate individual needs, strategies to prevent apps from being deleted, and much more.  We will explore educational apps and online resources to support the various domains of instruction. This workshop may be customized to address iPad utilization from Early Childhood through school age, and beginners to more advanced users. iPads for this hands-on learning opportunity must be supplied by the agency hosting the workshop.

Voice Recognition: Hands-on

Voice recognition is an alternative method of writing, where the user dictates and the tool converts the dictation to text.  Speech-to-text applications include Dragon Naturally Speaking, one of the most commonly used voice recognition software programs available. We will also talk about free Chrome extensions, as well as strategies for student training and integration. 

Tools for Communication: Hands-on with Augmentative Communication Devices 

This workshop presents a review of Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices, AAC devices.  We will look at the options from low to high tech, and compare their features and capabilities. We will discuss best practices in supporting students who use these devices, beginning with selection, through the process of building language and independence.   Participants will have an opportunity to explore and try out devices from vendors and/or those available through the OTAP Lending Library.

Switch Workshop: Hands-on

What’s a Switch? A “switch” is an alternative method of access.  There are interfaces that can be used by students with cognitive and mobility impairments to activate a toy or any device that can be turned on or off by opening or closing a circuit.  What’s an adapted toy? A switch-adapted, battery-operated toy is one that has been modified, so that a child with a disability can use a switch to activate the toy. In this hands-on class, participants will learn the skills needed to make a toy switch-accessible, as well as strategies for instruction of switch skills.

Hands-on: The 4-Step Roadmap for Reaching & Teaching Students of All Abilities: The Power of T.H.E. P.A.C.T. – Hands-on

The Power of T.H.E. P.A.C.T. author Phyl Macomber has developed a simple 4-step system, an evidence-based solution for differentiated instruction.  T.H.E.P.A.C.T. framework may be used to teach anything to anyone, in a way that students of any ability learn faster and deeper.  

This engaging and motivating introductory session will provide an overview of the framework, as well as hands-on activities to create templates for instruction.  The color-coded and consistent delivery of instruction through the “Learn About” and “Read About” steps build comprehension.  The “Write About” and “Talk About” steps improve expression of the learned concepts.  Predictable instruction incorporates a balance of simple and sophisticated teaching supports.  This decreases the cognitive demand for “how” to learn, allowing individuals to focus on “what” they are learning.  These concepts may be applied to any age, any subject, and any topic.     

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Lessons created with the concepts of UDL are mindful to include the methods of access and required formats that meet the needs of all students.  When UDL is built into lesson design, there is no need to retrofit for accommodations and modifications.  Where these ideas originated in architecture, such as curb cuts and automatic doors, they are now extended to allow all students access to curriculum. 

Assistive Technology Assessment

Quality Assistive Technology services include assessment of students in their customary environments. Effective AT assessment is a collaborative process that begins with the student’s educational goals, asking what tasks the team would like the student to be able to do better, faster or more independently using assistive technology. From there, a plan is developed for assessment that yields data to determine which technology, if any, could help the student to meet their goals. This workshop presents a structured approach to AT assessment based upon evidence-based decision-making, resulting in appropriate outcomes to support student success. This workshop can be customized to meet the needs of a particular group or discipline.

Assistive Technology for Parents

Parents are an integral part of any child’s AT team. This workshop offers information on the essential roles that parents can play in considering a child’s need for assistive technology. Parents receive opportunities to have hands-on experiences with the technologies that their children might use in school programs.

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