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The Closing The Gap Essential Bookmark Collection for AT Coordinators

 

Introduction

If you work as an assistive technology coordinator for your school or agency, you are well aware of how much time is consumed by tasks that require you to search for information about assistive technology products, services, or policies. Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone created a resource to help manage all the information that an AT Coordinator needs to know?

About the Project

Recognizing the information needs of the field, Closing the Gap agreed to sponsor an innovative project, "The CTG Essential Bookmark Collection for AT Coordinators." The purpose of the project was to solicit input from assistive technology specialists throughout the world regarding the information demands encountered in their work and how specific web resources facilitate their work. CTG readers were invited to tell us the kind of information they would like to find in a bookmark collection and nominate exemplary web sites (see New resource for assistive technology coordinators, Closing the Gap, 18(6), pp. 1, 40).

The project was conducted under the auspices of a national group of Assistive Technology Specialists: Merv Blunt, Missouri Technology Center for Special Education (Kansas City, MO), Marsye Kaplan, Baltimore County Public Schools (Baltimore, MD), and Linda Williams, Area Education Agency 7 (Cedar Falls, IA) and coordinated by Professor Dave Edyburn of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Project planners envisioned the project would result in a collection of the very best of the best web sites related to technology and disabilities organized to support the work of AT Coordinators. The web links would be organized into a bookmark collection and made available in multiple formats: print, as a web page, and in downloadable files. As a result, AT Coordinators could have a print copy of the collection to use in handouts, have access the bookmarks whenever the need arose (i.e., you're out consulting in a school) and install the bookmark collection directly into the web browser on individual computers (i.e., your laptop, office, and home computer).

Framework Development

To gain insight into what an AT Coordinator needs to know and be able to do, we reviewed position descriptions (National Clearinghouse for Professions in Special Education, 2000), competency statements (CSUN, 2000; Lahm, 1999; RESNA, 2000) and recent personnel preparation books (Chambers, 1997; Cook & Hussey, 1995; Lindsey, 2000). This process enabled us to create a performance support framework of tasks typically completed by Assistive Technology Coordinators. As we reviewed individual web sites, we sorted the addresses into the general categories. The final list of categories were modified so that they could serve as folder titles that would be used to store sets of related web addresses within the bookmark function of the web browser. The list of folders within the CTG Essential Bookmarks for AT Coordinators are as follows:

* Information

* Exchange Info

* Disability Info

* Parent & Family Info

* Solutions

* Success Stories

* Marketplace Solutions

* Product Comparison Solutions

* Assessment & Decision-making Solutions

* Accessibility Solutions

* Troubleshooting Solutions

* Resources

* Policy Resources

* Legal Resources

* Reproducible Resources

* Development

* Materials Development

* Professional Development

* Integration

* Technology Integration

Each folder contains a series of web sites addresses that were identified by nominations from the field as well as those proposed by the project coordinating group. We did not seek to create a specific number of links for each topic. Rather, we sought to create a balance of high-quality links with a minimum of listings. As a result, the final collection contains nearly 100 links organized in 15 categories.

Accessing the Bookmark Collection

The result of this project is a collection of web links specifically organized to support the work of AT Coordinators. The bookmark collection is available in three formats: print (see page 34 of the June/July issue of Closing The Gap), as a Web page on the Closing The Gap Web site, and in downloadable files so that you can install the bookmark collection on your computer.

Future Directions

We believe this project has created a very useful resource for the profession and anticipate that the input and critique of many more individuals will greatly enhance the value of future versions of the CTG Essential Bookmark Collection. Like any collection of web links, the CTG Essential Bookmark Collection for AT Coordinators will require regular updating. We encourage users of the Bookmark Collection to send us their feedback (http://www.closingthegap.com/bookmark.html) regarding the value of the resources, nominations for additional links to be added, and ideas for additional categories that should be developed.

References

Chambers, A.C. (1997). Has technology been considered? Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.

Cook, A.M., & Hussey, S.M. (1995). Assistive technologies: Principles and practice. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

Lahm, E.A., & Nickels, B.L. (1999). What do you know? Assistive technology compentencies for special educators. Teaching Exceptional Children, 32(1), 56-63.

Lindsey, J. (2000).Technology and exceptional individuals, (3rd. ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

National Clearinghouse for Professions in Special Education. (2000).

Special Education Technology specialist. Available [Online]

 

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