CONNECT Module 5: Assistive Technology Interventions in an Online Course

Kathy Allenby Kathy Allen

How have you engaged students to learn about effective practices in an online environment? Kathy Allen from Blue Ridge Community College shares her experience on using CONNECT Module 5 with her students. Read about what she did and share your examples.

I used Module 5- Using Assistive Technology Interventions in my EDU 271 Educational Technology course. This is an online course and students completed the assignments over a 2 week time period. Here's how I've set it up: First, students completed activities 5.1a, 5.4a, 5.6a, 5.7a as individual assignments. Then they made a squishy book (or another assistive technology device), took a picture of it, and shared it with the class in an online discussion forum. After this discussion, students completed activities 5.8a, 5.9a, 5.10a and 5.11a as individual assignments. We then completed activity 5.12a together as a class in an online discussion forum. Overall, students found the module was very useful in helping them learn about assistive technology. They enjoyed the video demonstrations and the real life dilemmas. Several students commented specifically that it helped them bring a sense of reality to the uses of assistive technology. One student mentioned, “I found it helpful to follow the same case throughout the entire module and see the process of evaluating assistive technology needs, getting all adults involved in the creation of the plan, implementation of the plan, and evaluating the effectiveness of the AT interventions.”

Community Questions

  1. How have you engaged students to learn about effective practices in an online environment?
  2. How have you used Module 5: Assistive Technology Interventions?

About the Author: Kathy Allen is a full time instructor of Early Childhood Education at Blue Ridge Community College and is an online adjunct instructor at Surry Community College. She is VP of Collaborations for The Associate Degree Early Childhood Teacher Educators (ACCESS) and  serves as a Peer Reviewer for the NAEYC ECADA system. Kathy has been teaching at the community college since 2004 and has incorporated the CONNECT modules mostly in the online courses that she teaches.


I'll research more. But, we

I'll research more. But, we were basically inquiring the availability of hands-on (non-computers) learning academics for individuals with autism. Thank-you.

question for Kathy allen

Are there any type of "work stations" for the indivialized Autism student?

Student with Autism

Could you explain your question a bit more, Cheryl? Are you referring to Module 5- Assistive Technology  in CONNECT?- Or my particular assignment?

Not referring to any

Not referring to any particular module or assignment. Howver, I'am interested in all your modules. Are they web-based only or are there hands on modules in another form within the classroom? We are inquiring whether we could set up different work stations for each subject area? (possibly modules)  ?. Maybe these modules would justify our needs and then we would apply them to different work stations?.

Sorry. I guess I was not very

Sorry. I guess I was not very explainatorial. Other than computer use with (Connect modules) are there any stations where an Indiv, can be at? use? for each individualized subjects with reading, math, history, etc?.  Perhaps modules?  

Still not sure I understand

The Connect modules do go over individualized instruction. The Connect modules are mostly geared for educating Early Childhood professionals to work with all children of differing abilities and backgrounds. Subjects such as math, history, reading are integrated into instruction and explored through a hands-on approach. But again- this is mostly geared toward early childhood.

Module 5 in Hybrid Course

I am very excited to integrate Mod. 5 into an Inclusion course I am teaching this spring. I already have been using Mod. 1 & 3 (we use 2 & 4 in other courses). It was helpful to read how other instructors have included the materials and I found that my thinking was similar to others. I will have students complete the module to activity 12a during their online week and review the rest of the module. In our face to face class students will share their squishy books. Then we will start with 12a and go through the rest of the module in class in a combination of mini-lecture, group module review, and small group activities. I think they may need more support and explanation in the assessment activities. An assignment I have always included in the course is a visit to our local United Cerebral Palsy AT lending library to find examples of different AT categories and try the materials out. Students give an example of how they might use the AT with a child. This assignment will be so much more rich after they have gone through the module. Thank you for the AT module and for the opportunity for instructors to share their experience.

flipping instruction

This is so interesting hearing about all the different ways that faculty are using Module 5. It sounds like many of you are using CONNECT to deliver content out of class with class time being used for discussion and application. It reminds me of the talk about "flipped instruction." This term is being used to describe a transformation in teaching made possible by technology. Rather than spending valuable class time on lecture, students are given the chance to learn the content at their own pace through video lectures/demonstrations. Class time is focused on discussions, practice through role play/simulations, feedback on performance and other ways to practice applying the knowledge. It sounds like many of you have are "flipping instruction." It would be great to hear thoughts about this concept and its connection to CONNECT.

flipping instruction

HI Pam, I had not heard of that term "flipped instruction". Is there a good article on it that I could read about? Thanks, Carol

flipping instruction

Hi Carol, Here is one link to more on the topic: This leads to other URLs on the topic...As I understand it, the origins were in teaching k-12 students but it sure has application to the preservice context. I am just learning about it myself. One of the "gurus" of the movement is Sal Kahn; the Gates Foundation has promoted his ideas. Let us all know what you think. THanks

flipping instruction

HI again, just viewed the video, I am blown away( nice educational term), by the technology regarding flipping and how we can track the students and have everything at our fingertips. Los Altos is a lucky district to have Salman Kahn working with them. Thanks for the website, Carol

flipping instruction

Hi Carol, I am curious. Did some of the strategies for using module 5 that you and others used seem like an example of "flipped instruction?" The way I was reading them made me think they might be (out of class assignments of looking at module/using class time for discussion, application, demonstrations). Is this a valid comparison? Wondering what you and others who have used the modules think about that? thanks

flipping instruction

Yes, Pam you are right on. We used the modules for one of our class sessions, and rather than meet in class, students were to complete the module and then discuss and share out with us at the next class meeting. There was no introduction, explanation, lecture, etc. prior to using the module. So, in fact, module 5, outside of what had be read throughout the text on technology, was the students' first real "lesson" on adaptive technology. I think they did very well with it and we received nice feedback on the information and applying it into their preschool classes.

flipping instruction

Sounds like you are using "flipped instruction." :) How have others balanced in class and out of class time in terms of instruction, application, practice, and learner feedback?

flipping instruction

HI Pam, thanks so much will go to the link and review it. All of these new terms, it's a full time job just keeping up with what everyone else is doing. Cheers, Carol

Modification to the activity for online learners

Kathy, I really like your idea of having students take a picture of their squishy books to share in an online discussion. It really helps make the squishy book activity more relevant and engaging for students in a purely online course. Did you also modify other activities to suit the needs of the online course? What other strategies did you use to ensure that the students were engaged? Hope you'll be able to share your ideas with us.

Modification to the activity for online learners

Thank you Chih-Ing, Yes, the squishy book discussion was a hit! :-) I also used the brainstorming activity 5.12a for an online group discussion and that worked well too. I could tell that student posts in the discussion forums indicated that they were thoughtfully reflecting on the questions from all the module activities. I think the discussion forums kept the students engaged. I will keep checking in to see if anyone else has more ideas, especially for online courses. I would love to hear from others because I am using Module 5 again this semester in EDU 271.

sharing in University class

I used this module in my Early Childhood Special Education Policy and Procedures class. It worked extremely well with the textbook chapters on low incidence disabilities and the need for technology enhancements. Students were to complete 3 pre-selected activities and create a squishy book, and then complete 3 additional activities of their choice for a total of 6 activities plus the squishy book. I think all of my students loved making the squishy book. We had a whip around discussion and show and tell of their books the next class meetings. It was also very interesting to me the 3 selections that the students chose on their own. I received very positive comments regarding this module, and I was pleased with the students' responses to the activities. Most responses were thoughtful and showed that the students read and worked through the module. I also felt that this was time well spent out of the classroom. This module was one of two on line class sessions that the students did. When we returned to class, it promoted quality discussion and application.

sharing in University class

Carol, My students indicated the squishy book was one of their favorite activities in the module too! Students normally don't think of low-tech devices as AT.

sharing in University class

HI there, yes I agree, but there is a great "technology wheel" from CEC that is very helpful in identifying low to high technology and through many developmental and academic areas. There are some ideas that I really would not classify as technology per se, but if it's on the CEC wheel, I accept it from my students, especially as they create a portfolio section on using technology for modifying instruction.

sharing in University class

I have not heard of the "technology wheel" so I looked on the CEC website. Do you mean the "quick wheel" that you have to buy? It's called the "Assistive Technology Consideration Quick Wheel" Is that correct?? Thanks for the resource!

How I used Module #5

I assigned Module 5 over a week period. Students had to complete all of Module 5 individually outside of class and then bring all completed work to class to hand in and discuss. This module was a part of our work on AT. Students did additional assignments (such as lesson writing, essays, etc.) and were able to better understand incorporate AT effectively as a result.

Lucky students!

I see that they (your students) are happy to have an organized and precised mentor like you, I hope that my daughter will be so lucky too!

Module 5 Assistive Technology

I used the Connect Module 5, Assistive Technology in my EDU 271 course, Fall 2011. This course is a hybrid course, we met twice a week and had online discussions, writing assignments and quizzes. The way that I implemented the connect module, or a portion of it into my couse is as follows: Students were to turn the dilemma about how to help Sophie communicate into an answerable question to help guide the search for general evidence on a particular practice. We studied to PICO tool that was introduced in this module in class and had several exercises as a class using the tool. This tool was then used to help create a focused question that is answerable through research. PICO identifies the most essential information that was needed. Students were to submit this answerable question in the form of a discussion form for credit for this assignment. For the writing assignment we view the following videos in class: View Video 5.8: Communicating at breakfast and Video 5.9: Morning sign-in with Ethan and Amanda. For each video, describe what the adult does to help the child use assistive technology. View Video 5.10: Dress up time, Video 5.11: Nolan at bath time, and Video 5.12: Eating at Boston Market. For each video, describe how use of assistive technology promotes a child’s access to and participation in an activity or routine. After watching each of these clips we discussed assistive technology and the situation that it was being presented as a class. Each student completed a written paper that was guided by the handouts for each of these video clips. This was submitted as the writing assignment for this module.

EDU 271

These are great ideas, Beth. I like how you had students create the discussion questions. How did the students respond? Would you use this module in the same way next time or change anything? How long did you give students to work through the full Module 5?