Assistant Principal and Head of Technology at Scope’s Beaumont College, Rohan Slaughter, visited the School of Computing today to report and discuss a new role in education, the Assistive Technologist.
His presentation defined the Assistive Technologist (AT) role as it is used at Scope’s Beaumont College and at other Colleges around the Country with a view to discussing how we can train assistive technologists in future. In presenting and defining the role he drew on the practical experiences of developing and implementing the role at Beaumont College and at other Colleges. Beaumont College has worked in partnership with two other independent specialist colleges to deliver the Jisc funded Dart project.
Dart stands for Disseminating Assistive Roles and Technology and has seen the delivery of a programme of ‘deep support’ to 28 Colleges across the country, the delivery of an assistive technology focused workshop series and the undertaking of original research. This combination of providing ‘deep support’ to colleges who are part of the project, an open access workshop series, and a website containing relevant case studies and resources has been highly successful in improving the provision of assistive technology in further education as evidenced by the feedback from project participants that can be seen on the Dart project website: http://dart.beaumontcollege.ac.uk
A number of Assistive Technologists have been recruited and trained through Dart project activity over the last four years.
The Dart project activity was discussed along with presentation of the research project findings around the state of assistive technology provision in further education. Additionally the training requirements for developing assistive technologists were being discussed such as addressing the three knowledge bases they operate within: technology, education and therapy. A number of continuing professional development opportunities for assistive technologists were detailed.
The presentation supported the appreciation of how the Assistive Technologist role works in education contexts to support people with disabilities to access the curriculum, communicate and to enjoy themselves through the use of technology.
Rohan Slaughter, BA(hons), PGCE, MSc. is employed at Scope’s Beaumont College as Assistant Principal. Rohan also leads the Technology Team at the college that consists of both mainstream IT staff and assistive technologists who work with students and other specialist staff to deploy assistive technology / IT hardware and software solutions. Rohan has an IT, assistive technology and education background, and is a qualified teacher. Rohan has recently completed an MSc by Research in computing and communication systems at Lancaster University that focused on Environmental Control Systems. Rohan is deputy chair of the Jisc / Natspec Technology Advisory Group and is a member of the Karten network board. The Beaumont College technology team is currently engaged in a number education sector projects, Rohan is currently the project manager of the DART2.1 project, a national Jisc FE and Skills program project.