BY MICHELLE DAVIS, Training and Consulting Staff
The Curriculum Department recently conducted a videoconference with Central IU 10 in State College. The topic of this session was Proloquo2Go, the Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) application for the iOS devices. This application has gained extreme popularity in the one year since its introduction to the consumer market. Unlike traditional AACs, this application is available to the average consumer on a widely available and multi-functional consumer device. The Proloquo2Go application provides an alternative to the consumer device. The Proloquo2Go application provides an alternative to the traditional, high cost, dedicated AAC devices on the market.
Whereas a traditional AAC device has sales reps across the country, training opportunities, and tiered supports, the developers of Proloquo2Go opted for a simpler support system that relies upon local specialists to facilitate trainings and provide technical support; input CIU 20’s local Assistive Technology Training Consultant, Michelle Davis. Central IU 10 requested assistance from a group of statewide assistive technology consultants on the application. Michelle has conducted several technical trainings in local school districts on the application and offered her services to IU 10.
In an effort to reduce travel costs and save time away from Michelle’s position, Curriculum Director, Kelly Pauling, suggested providing the training over videoconference. This idea meant that great coordination between the curriculum and technology departments would have to take place for the training to be successful. It is not often that a workshop on the hands-on use of a software program is conducted via an off-site presentation.
Central IU 10 held the event with approximately 30 participants. While they had an on-site facilitator, the instruction and demonstrations were seen via videoconference with IU 20. Many participants expressed positive feedback for the event in the form of written evaluations. For example, “I appreciate the live demos and questions,” or, “I really like having guided practice.”
The success of this training could not have been achieved without a coordinated effort between CIU 20’s Technology Department’s Tom Kalinoski and Jared Venezia, and the Curriculum Department’s Lindsey Smith. These individuals provided practice sessions and hands-on support to make the videoconference effective.
It is the hope of the directive of Colonial IU 20’s Curriculum Department to find more opportunities to provide workshops, meetings, and training events via videoconference. These cost saving measures will not only help districts and intermediate units, they will also help us all forge into a new frontier in technogy.