Assistive Technology Conference – 2019

Assistive Technology and Learning Disabilities: Learning Together through Experience and Expertise

Saturday, October 5th, 2019

We invite you to share in our 2019 Conference Assistive Technology, a one-day conference to be held in St. John’s on October 5th, 2019. Our venue is the beautiful Memorial University of Newfoundland Medical School. It is our intention that you will leave this day having had hands-on experience and the opportunity to share of information and experiences, and leave feeling more confident integrating Assistive Technology into your life, work and/or studies. Our target audience is broad. We encourage parents/families of children with Learning Disabilities, students from Grade 7 through Post-Secondary, adults with Learning Disabilities, educators, educators-in-training, health-care providers, employers, Guidance Counsellors, Psychologists, friends and supporters – anyone who is interested in this exciting field to come, learn and share.

Tentative Schedule:

8:15 am – 8:45 am

Registration

8:45 am – 9:00 am

Greetings, Land Acknowledgement and Introduction

9:00 am – 10:30 am

Panel: A.T. Is Where It’s AT!

10:30 am – 11:00 am

Refreshment Break

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Breakout Sessions

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Breakout Sessions

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Breakout Sessions

There are three Breakout Session time slots with four choices each. Based on your preferences, each conference participant will be assigned three breakout sessions. We will try to accommodate your first preference for each time slot, but placement priority will be given to those in order of registration.

Overview of Concurrent Breakout Sessions

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Student Aid for Students with Disabilities

Christine Bugler (Career and Financial Counsellor Student Financial Services)

Read and Write: Text-reading and voice-to-print software

Kerri Whelan (Program Itinerant for Student Services Newfoundland and Labrador English School District)

Supporting Mental Health with Technology

Meaghan Churchill (Regional E-Mental Health Manager Eastern Health)

Keep Calm & Chrome On: Maximizing Productivity With Extensions

Meaghan Malone (Assistive Technology Coordinator The Commons QEII Library Memorial University of Newfoundland)

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Digital Graphic Organizers for Writing

Scott Linehan (Program Specialist Newfoundland and Labrador English School District)

Joanne Wall (Program Specialist, Newfoundland and Labrador English School District)

Equatio: Math support software

Kerri Whelan (Program Itinerant for Student Services Newfoundland and Labrador English School District)

Assistive Technology and Instructional Technology to Support Students with Specific Learning Disorders

Dr. Gabrielle Young (Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Christine Careen (Instructional Resource Teacher, NLESD)

The Livescribe Pen

Jen d’Eon (Graduate Student Memorial University of Newfoundland)

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Alternate Format Materials

Anna Powell (Department of Education, Government of NL)

Conversation Cafe – Discussion and Sharing Session

Edie Dunphy (Executive Director Learning Disabilities Association of Newfoundland and Labrador)

Google Classroom: Assistive Technology that Supports Students with Specific Learning Disorders

Dr. Gabrielle Young (Faculty of Education ,Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Stephen Sharpe (Intermediate/High School Teacher NLESD)

Funding for Assistive Technology and Free Extensions

Jen d’Eon (Graduate Student Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Lunch will run from 1:00 – 2:00 and is on your own. There are many places to eat nearby and the Health Science Cafeteria is onsite.

Breakout Session Details:

Student Aid for Students with Disabilities (Christine Bugler):

This presentation will provide an overview of the online student aid application. There will be some important information related to applying as a student with a permanent disability. As well, necessary forms and documentation will be reviewed.

Presenter: Christine Bugler works as a Career and Financial Counsellor at Student Aid with the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador. She has also worked as a career counsellor in the non-profit sector and was a high school teacher for a number of years. She enjoys hiking and relaxing at the trailer.

Read & Write for Google Chrome (Kerri Whelan):

Read & Write for Google Chrome (by Texthelp) provides a variety of reading and writing supports for individuals requiring assistive technology to better access and interact with Google Docs, the Web as well as PDFs and EPubs. This literacy toolbar, which includes features such as speech to text, text to speech, dictionaries and word prediction, can be used independently by K-12 students and beyond, both inside and outside of the classroom. This hands on introductory session will explore the various features of the toolbar and focus on how it can be used independently throughout various grade and subject areas. Come and try it out.

Presenter: To inform, inspire, and to ignite is Kerri Whelan‘s goal as she explores the area of assistive technology within the K-12 school system. Kerri is a Program Itinerant for Student Services within the Avalon region of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District and has been actively working with assistive technology in this role for the last four years. Kerri is a Google Certified Educator as well as a Texthelp Certified District Trainer. She has taught for over 20 years in the area of special education within the K-12 system and adult education system. Kerri loves to explore technology and often encourage others to press a button to see what happens next as we learn together.

E-Mental Health Services (Meghan Churchill):

Technology is often used in health care to control, detect, screen, or treat physical illnesses; it is now expanding to support mental health and wellness, in what is known as e-mental health. Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the provinces at the forefront of advancing e-mental health services. These services are important for many reasons; they are evidence based, improve access, give individuals greater choice and control, and promote early intervention and wellness. There are a wide range of technologies being used in the field of Mental Health and Addictions in NL. Some of these include, telephones and mobile devices, apps, websites, video conferencing, and online self-management tools. Currently there are sixteen e-mental health services that are free and available to all citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Presenter: Meghan Churchill has worked in the field of Mental Health and Addictions for several years. She is a registered social worker and has a Bachelor of Social Work from Memorial University and Master of Social Work specializing in mental health and health from the University of Toronto. She is currently employed with Eastern Health as the Regional E-Mental Health Manager. She works in collaboration with the three E-Mental Health Managers, in the other health authorities across the province, to implement the e-mental health recommendations outlined in the All Party Towards Recovery Action Plan.

Keep Calm & Chrome On: Maximizing Productivity With Extensions (Meaghan Malone):

Let’s expand our definition of “assistive technology,” and think about it as a tool to maximize all students’ productivity. As AT becomes more mainstream, students now have access to a range of low-cost and free applications, often available within their Internet browsers. In this presentation, we’ll look at a few Google Chrome extensions that can help students stay focused, keep organized, and work smarter.

Presenter: Meaghan Malone works with students from all walks of life at The Commons, QEII Library, where she has been the Assistive Technology Coordinator since 2014. She holds a Master of Arts from Memorial University.

Digital Graphic Organizers for Writing (Dr. Scott Linehan):

Digital Graphic Organizers are an excellent means to assist students in the writing process. The English Language Arts curricula offers guidance to both teachers and students in the use of graphic organizers. They are a wonderful tool to guide instruction and assist students in their learning. However, graphic organizers are not limited to pencil and paper exercises. With the advent of technology, graphic organizers have also gone digital. This session will explore the various types of digital graphic organizers and how they can be used to focus students in their writing learning journey.

Presenter: Dr. Scott Linehan is an English Language Arts Program Specialist for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. He is the provincial facilitator for Visible Learning professional development. He has been an educator in Newfoundland and Labrador for 25 years. In that time he was a teacher, principal, lecturer, and consultant. His Ph.D. is in Educational Leadership and his primary research interests include; assessment, evaluation and student achievement. Scott’s first book about Newfoundland and Labrador in pop culture “And The Tony Goes To…” was released in the fall of 2019.

EquatIO for Google Chrome (Kerri Whelan):

EquatiO for Google Chrome (by Texthelp) provides Math support for individuals requiring assistive technology to better access and interact with Math daily. Instead of using pen and paper, Math input can be typed, handwritten or dictated on a computer, Chromebook or even mobile device. In EquatIO workspace, equations, text and freehand drawings can be mixed to explore math concepts in a variety of ways while working collaboratively or independently. This hands on introductory session will explore various features of EquatIO that can be used in the elementary to high school grades. Come see what EquatIO can do.

Presenter: To inform, inspire, and to ignite is Kerri Whelan‘s goal as she explores the area of assistive technology within the K-12 school system. Kerri is a Program Itinerant for Student Services within the Avalon region of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District and has been actively working with assistive technology in this role for the last four years. Kerri is a Google Certified Educator as well as a Texthelp Certified District Trainer. She has taught for over 20 years in the area of special education within the K-12 system and adult education system. Kerri loves to explore technology and often encourage others to press a button to see what happens next as we learn together.

Assistive Technology and Instructional Technology to Support Students with Specific Learning Disorders (Christine Careen and Dr. Gabrielle Young):

In order to better understand how teachers implement assistive technology in general education classrooms, and the supports and challenges that influence these practices, interviews were conducted with 19 teachers, and focus groups were held with 41 students from three classes that were observed. Using insights gleaned from teachers and students within the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, this presentation highlights recommended instructional practices for using technology to support teaching and learning, and reveals the types of supports needed for effective integration of technology. This presentation will address how assistive and instructional technology, such as interactive whiteboards, iPads, and other mobile devices, can be used to provide flexibility in how information is presented, how learning is demonstrated, and how students are engaged in learning. Emphasis will be placed on how assistive and instructional technology can be used to enable meaningful participation in key educational activities within the general education curriculum.

Presenters: Christine Careen, M.Ed. is an Instructional Resource Teacher with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, were she works with students with pervasive needs. Her graduate work was in the area of Special Education, with her Master’s thesis examining teachers’ use of assistive technology in inclusive classrooms, within the context of universal design for learning, and students’ responses to these methods and tools. Christine was recipient of the Canadian College of Teachers Scholarship (2016), and the Graduate Students’ Union Award for Excellence in Research (2016).

Gabrielle Young, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses surrounding understanding and supporting students with specific learning disorders, as well as the practicum in special education. Gabrielle’s research interests surround the use of assistive and instructional technology in inclusive classrooms, applying the principles of universal design for learning and differentiated instruction to support students with exceptionalities in the general education classroom, and pre-service teachers’ efficacy to support students in inclusive classrooms and facilitate positive mental health.

The LiveScribe Pen (Jen d’Eon):

Smartpens can be a useful tool for anyone who spends a large part of their day writing. Thanks to their capacity to translate words written on paper to typed text and their ability to record audio while writing, smartpens can be particularly helpful to people who want assistance with writing, hearing and/or remembering. This presentation will detail the benefits and features of using a smartpen (such as the LiveScribe) for writing, note-taking, and brainstorming. There will also be a discussion of the personal experience of the presenter as a frequent user of the LiveScribe and its corresponding applications. The presentation will also include a demonstration of the technology for a clearer understanding of the functionality of the technology.

Presenter: Jen d’Eon is a Masters of Gender Studies student and Student Learning Advisor (Assistive Technology) at the Blundon Centre, working to facilitate campus-wide access by exploring universal design practices, the social model of disability, and the availability of assistive technology.

Assistive Technology and Alternate Format Materials Resources Available to Support Students with Specific Learning Disorders (Anna Powell):

How do alternate format materials and assistive technologies work together to help improve access to learning, flexibility, independence and choice for students with specific learning disorders? What assistive technology and alternate format materials resources are available to students with specific learning disorders in K-12? This presentation will help answer these questions and provide links to support further learning related to these topics.

Presenter: Anna Powell has worked as an educator in the province’s K-12 and post-secondary education systems for over 30 years. She holds Bachelor degrees in Music, Music Education, Arts (Psychology) and a Masters of Educational Counselling Psychology from Memorial University. Since 2009 she has worked as a Program Development Specialist with the Student Services division of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. In this role she is responsible for the provision of alternate format materials (AFM) and assistive technology resources to students in K-12 schools. Working closely with the NL school districts, she endeavors to promote access to and effective use of AFM and assistive technology resources among educators and students in our province. She also serves on an inter-provincial committee dedicated to improving the awareness and availability of alternate format materials within the K-12 and post-secondary education systems across Canada.

Conversation Cafe (moderated by Edie Dunphy):

A chance to take a breath and share your experiences with Assistive Technology, how it’s worked for you, useful tools, tips or apps, maybe find solutions from other participants and make connections. This is not a formal presentation, but rather an informal chat. Grab your coffee and come along ready to participate.

Moderator: Edie Dunphy has been in Education in one form or another for more years than she is prepared to admit. She has worked as an IRT, a classroom teacher, a music teacher, an Assistant Principal, a Consultant with the Department of Education and a lecturer at MUN. After deciding that retirement didn’t keep her busy enough, she joined the Learning Disabilities Association of Newfoundland and Labrador as Executive Director a year ago and is enjoying it immensely.

Google Classroom: Assistive Technology that Supports Students with Specific Learning Disorders (Dr. Gabrielle Young and Stephen Sharpe):

Google Classroom is currently recommended for use to meet the needs of students in the inclusive classroom and is a school board supported initiative. Google Classroom provides multiple interventions found in the realm of assistive technology, given the applications within the software provide students with writing difficulties the opportunity to speak their thoughts and have it written down on paper, the ability for text to be read to a student who has difficulty reading, and the ability for students to collaborate while using this software alongside other applications. Every student in the classroom can use the same technology and interventions to complete an assignment, making it a challenge to identify which students have learning difficulties, which can reduce the stigma attached to students using assistive devices. This presentation will discuss Google Classroom, and its functions, and how it can be used as a form of assistive technology to support students with specific learning disorders.

Presenters: Stephen Sharpe, M.Ed.,is an Intermediate/Secondary teacher with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, where he teaches French Immersion, Math, Science, and Social Studies. His Master’s thesis examined how Google Classroom can be used to support Universal Design for Learning. He uses Google Classroom, and corresponding applications (Drive, Docs, Slides), to support teaching and learning.

Gabrielle Young, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses surrounding understanding and supporting students with specific learning disorders, as well as the practicum in special education. Gabrielle’s research interests surround the use of assistive and instructional technology in inclusive classrooms, applying the principles of universal design for learning and differentiated instruction to support students with exceptionalities in the general education classroom, and pre-service teachers’ efficacy to support students in inclusive classrooms and facilitate positive mental health.

Funding for Assistive Technology and Free Extensions (Jen d’Eon):

While assistive technology can be incredibly helpful to students, accessing assistive technology can be difficult due to financial reasons. The cost associated with some of the hardware and software that can help to facilitate learning can be prohibitive. While there is funding that exists to help students pay for this technology, the process can be daunting. This presentation will discuss the personal experience of the application process related to receiving grant funding for assistive technology through student loans. The presentation will also discuss free Google Chrome extensions and applications as cost-effective forms of assistive technology for post-secondary students.

Presenter: Jen d’Eon is a Masters of Gender Studies student and Student Learning Advisor (Assistive Technology) at the Blundon Centre, working to facilitate campus-wide access by exploring universal design practices, the social model of disability, and the availability of assistive technology.

Opening Keynote Panel: A.T. is where it’s AT (Moderated by Dr. David Philpott)

Our opening is not a typical keynote address. A panel discussion will be moderated by Dr. David Philpott, Professor, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. Panel participants will share what Assistive Technology has meant in their lives and, with audience involvement, together we will discuss its evolution: where we’ve been and where we are headed.

The panel includes:

  • Michael Neary (Winning race car driver, former student of LDANL)
  • Julianna Neary (LD advocate, parent of a child with a Learning Disability)
  • Jen d’Eon (Assistive Technology advocate, Graduate student, Memorial University of Newfoundland)
  • Tammy Manor (Principal of St. Augustine’s School, Bell Island)
  • SueAnn Thistle (LDANL Board Member, Sr. Manager Operational Excellence , Husky Energy)
  • Bernie Ottenheimer (Director of Student Support Service, Government of NL)

Moderator: Dr. David Philpott has extensive knowledge and experience in Learning Disabilities and is well known to many in this province. He has enjoyed a career of more than 30 years in education and child development, and has been at the forefront of informing societal approaches to supporting families with exceptional children. He joined MUN’s Faculty of Education in 2000 following a 15-year career in the public education system and was promoted to Full Professor in 2011. He has worked in a range of teaching and management positions in special education, including a 25-year clinical practice in assessment of children’s learning needs and child mental health, as well as maintaining adjunct Professor status with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary. He holds degrees in Education, Special Education and Educational Psychology from Memorial University, and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Calgary. He has an extensive national and international research/publication portfolio in areas such as learning disabilities, assessment, Indigenous/Aboriginal education, family empowerment, international students, early child education, and teacher education. He has led significant government and university reports on topics such as Innu education, inclusive post-secondary institutions, international students, the 2007 review of the ISSP model and the recent 2017 Premier’s Task Force on Improving Educational Outcomes. He is a member of the editorial board for three international scholarly journals: International Journal of Disability, Community and Rehabilitation;Exceptionality Education International; and International Journal for Leadership in Learning.

Registration

General

$99.00

Parent/Guardian of a registered LDANL student (Parents of students who are currently registered for LDANL’s tutoring program. One ticket per person.)

$40.00

Student (Grade 7 through Post-Secondary)

$30.00

Register here: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/learning-disabilities-association-of-newfoundland-and-labrad/events/assistive-technology-conference-and-education-workshops

Please don’t forget to select your preferred breakout sessions in the Google Form provided at the bottom of the registration page and press the SUBMIT button!

We look forward to seeing you at the conference!

Thank you to our “Academic Distinction” Sponsor

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