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Weekly Announcements

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February 19
Dear Colleagues,
As we begin our final week of "formal" work together, it has been interesting to read through and reflect upon all of the thoughtful work that you have done on behalf of Josh, his family, and the varied professionals who work with them. Your review of the case study was thorough. Your probing questions and observations in Weeks 2 and 3 yielded considerably more information. Though each group proceeded more or less along the same paths, each group had its own way of doing things.

Though it was mentioned in several places that questions could be addressed to Josh, his parents and his teachers, there appeared to be some concern across several groups that Josh, his parents and his teachers were not a part of the group. When questions were addressed to parents, teachers and other school personnel, they did provide input, generally through me, though Josh, himself, signed on several times and answered many questions that were addressed directly to him. One group talked extensively with Josh about his needs and concerns. One group asked questions of his teachers and also sought input from his parents.

Unfortunately, many people did not read messages across groups, which, subsequently limited the information that they were able to bring to bear on feature identification and tool suggestions. This will happen in "real life" meetings, too, and is a concern that you will want to keep in mind as you go about using group decision-making processes in your work. It is one of the reasons that I mentioned the "group memory" tool, like a large chart that all can see. As I am sure we all have found, it is difficult to go back later and capture data that seemed not particularly important at the time, but then turned out to be needed as more unfolded.

An aside, FYI - You may want to go back and have a look at messages that included JOSH at the beginning of the title. Though it can be done several ways, it might be easiest to access these messages by using the "By Topic" sort in the discussions section.

Week 4 was a relatively quiet week for messages, but involved an important part of the decision-making process. During Week 4, you suggested several features that would be needed in a system of devices and services designed to support Josh. In my message at the end of Week 4, I summarized the suggested features and, later, posted a message about why the identification of features was important. I hoope that you all had a chance to read that message and, of possible, I would encourage you to post a message sharing your thoughts and reflections on that topic.

Week 5, which is just concluding, brought many, many excellent suggestions for ways to help Josh with his writing difficulties. Many of the suggestions were no tech strategies, many involved simple, low tech tools and many ran the entire gamut from the simplist, most readily available high tech to the most "exotic"... ALL were possibly useful for Josh, in the appropriate environment for the appropriate tasks.

Throughout this process, I have kept what those of you who know me would think is an uncharacteristically "low profile". (I am NOT a quiet person in real life, though I often yearn to be... I just cannot seem to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself!! :) The reason that I have mainly answered questions and probed for more is because I wanted very much NOT to mention things that I thought were important in a way that would close other pathways be swaying you to my way of thinking about Josh and his need for Assistive Technology Devices and Services. Because, in THIS case at least, YOU think that I know, such a thing can easily occur.

I urge you to consider this in your own practices. YOU are the one (or hopefully one of a team) that people think KNOWS the "answers" in Assistive Technology, therefore, without considerable restraint on your part it will be easy for you, early in the process, to suggest a tool which may well turn out the be the best idea, but which may kill other input, probes and ideas before they are even born! Though you have skills critical to successful consideration of a student's need for AT and matching tools to student need, many of your skills which will lead to the most successful implementation of AT for a given student will be your skills in leadership of the group closest to and including the student - inviting, valuing, exploring, probing and synthesizing - that will prove most beneficial.

So...during this week of reflection on our work together, I will be posting messages which I hope will be of help to you in your own practices. Some of them will directly relate to issues of our work with Josh, as some of you might like to hear my opinion, as I have so much liked (and learned from) hearing yours. Many of my messages, however, will be process oriented and why I continue to believe that processes like the SETT Framework can have a profound effect upon the way we feel and think about our work in assitive technology. It is my belief that, once we begin to FEEL differently, we begin to THINK and ACT differently... If we are able to do this with positive motion, we cannot avoid being a positive presence in the lives and works of others.

It is that that I hope this work has been for you... Not a completion, but a continuation of such work.

I am looking forward to your reflections on our work together. PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK QUESTIONS OF ME, if you choose to.



February 10
The survey results are still up for viewing and commenting.  Read Denise's commentary  for an example of how to look at the graphs.  The Tools charts are also ready for working on by the Working Groups. You will see that tools includes both devices and services, and that you should consider no tech, low tech and high tech strategies. Be sure to read Joy's instructions for posting to these charts (message 1, message 2, message 3)

February 3
This is ALMOST the week we have been champing at the bit (Horses are a big deal here in Kewntucky!) to get to since we began this session! In your glee, don't over look the ALMOST!!!!!

Though I am, sure that most of you are very aware that, in real life, many of our week-long steps could be accomplished very quickly in real life when the real decision-makers are sitting there together, when conversing virtually, some things take a little longer... There are still some steps that we must take before we discuss the actual TOOLS that we might want to provide for Josh... With that in mind, I will remind you once again, that we are not yet quite ready to discuss actual TOOLS!! :)

There are two very specific tasks that are a part of this week. Each person is encouraged to have a look at all four frameworks and to post messages which discuss the similarities and differences that you find there... Not so much as LIST them, as to reflect upon them to consider and share what you are now thinking about Josh and his need for tools.

As you share your reflections, feel free to suggest (and justify based on the data) a feature or two that you would think would be critical to Josh's success.

I will begin... See my example in the next message entitled.. JOY: Reflections on data and feature suggestion.  Looking forward to your thoughts and insights.

We have received over half of the surveys, so we will begin tabulating tomorrow afternoon (February 4).   If you haven't filled out the survey because you need technical assistance, please let Denise know, so she can email or fax you a copy. 

January 30
The survey is ready. We are using the survey to reach consensus on the importance of certain issues we have raised concerning Josh, his environment,  tasks and tools.  Please try to respond to the survey by 12:00 midnight EST Monday February 2, so we can work on tabulating the results on Tuesday.  I f you have problems with the survey, email Denise or call her at 617-618-2422.  Meanwhile discussion continues in the whole group under Reflecting on Data.  See January 29 below.

January 29
Class doesn't have to be cancelled because Joy is sick!   W
e will still move on to the Reflecting on Data discussion.  To get you thinking, read Joy's message
Just In Time. You can respond to her message or post your own thoughts about the data that we have collected about Josh.  When you post your messages for this weekly topic, be sure to select the Topic for January 29: Reflecting on Data.  To read messages, use the By Topic view to organize the messages.  

January 27
The Frameworks look great and discussions are evolving that look beyond the data.  Please check under your Working Group  for some recent messages from Joy about issues that are coming up as you work through the case. 

We are working to find out about the blank names on the Frameworks-- some people we haven't heard from at all.  I'm checking with others to see if there are technology "challenges."  If you have not posted in a while, you can always send the group a Ping! message.  To find out what a Ping message is, check  Technical Tips

Meanwhile there are some interesting discussions in the Working Groups.  Here is a quick summary (in reverse alphabetical order!!):

Group Two: Scott posted a question to the group about the placement of "computer" on the Framework -- is it Environment or Tools or both?  see his message under Environment dated 1/24 Computer as part of the environment.   And Joy posted an interesting follow up message about Josh's Family under General.

Group Three:  There is a thread of discussion evolving on Teacher Inservice needs regarding students who receive OT services under the heading Environment. What kind of training do teachers need?

Group One:  Alan  posted a message asking for feedback from the other OTs in this group regarding the OT services described in the case. See his message dated 1/27 Re: More data on OT under General.  Also Joy suggests a discussion following up on Dan's comments regarding Josh's writing needs and hand fatigue.   See Dan's message dated 1/26 Stops working and Joy's response under Student.

Group Four:  See Joy's response to Susan Reilly Re: thoughts (Susan Reilly) under General.  To find out more about Josh's fatigue: What questions would you ask and who would you ask?

On Thursday we will post a quick Survey for you to fill out.  There will be a link from the homepage to the Survey.  The Survey will be up through Monday February 2 and on Tuesday, we'll post results.   During survey time, discussion will move to a whole group discussion to reflect on the data gathering process, so once you've filled out your survey, post your comments to the Workshop Discussions, Topic: Reflecting on Data. 

January 21
At this point each of you should have completed the readings and are now "looking" at Josh.  Your task for this week is to sift out data from the case study... What do you know about Josh, the student? What do you know about the Environments in which he spends his time (school and home, in this case...)?  What do you know about the tasks that are required of Josh for him to be an active (in his case, equal) participant in these environments? Please continue reading in my message in the Workshop Discussions for some tips about what to do and what to avoid doing and some rationales for these tips.  I'll look forward to your questions/comments about WHAT THE DATA SHOWS about Josh and his situation.  I will be sitting in on every framework group...looking forward to our work together. [This message continues in the discussion.]   Joy

January 20
We hope that you are beginning to feel comfortable with the conferencing system.  Please check Technical Tips for the most recent messages from Denise for strategies for following the discussions.

What we recommend as a navigation starting point this week is your own working group framework.  Check your group's framework to see what has been added.  If you have any comments or want to ask questions about what someone in your group has generated, post your message to the Workshop Discussion; or, add your own data to the chart. 

To follow the conversation during this topic, we suggest choosing the view, By Working Groups.  This will organize the messages by group, so you can focus on your own group's messages.  (Unfortunately we had to list the groups alphabetically rather than  numerically, so look for group two at the bottom of the list.)  Also be on the look out for messages from Joy or Denise that may be "non-categorized" or under ALL  in the Working Group view.  These are messages to all the the groups about this topic.

Denise is busy linking up participant names on the group lists to individual bios.  So if you want to know who's who in your group, you will be able to go to your working group participant list and click on the name.

Finally, if you want a walk-through of the conferencing or you have any other questions about the Workshop, please feel free to call or email Denise.   Happy brainstorming!

January 12:Welcome from Joy Zabala, the Workshop Facilitator

It is delightful to have each of you as a participant in the Ready! SETT! Go! online workshop, developed and sponsored by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center in Newton, Massachusetts.  I am located in Lexington, Kentucky. No two of you are in the same geographic location. Yet, here we are together, pondering critical issues in assistive technology.  Together, we will determine the need for assistive technology for an individual student and develop a system to address identified needs in a way that is student-centered, task-based and environmentally useful.  We will also develop strategies which promote increases in competence, confidence and independence for system users through increased communication, participation and productivity. Our sessions together will address these issues by exploring the big ideas and intricacies of the SETT Framework as a collaborative decision-making and design process which invites effective participation by all.

To assure that each of us has a productive, enjoyable learning experience regardless of our individual perspective and "expertise," I want to suggest the following ground rules for participation:

Enter discussions with high expectations and an attitude of possibility.
We are synergism in action! Each of us has a valued role in this process. Our group was intentionally selected to assure diversity of perspective, preparation, and experience.

Participate actively and often.
Say what's on your mind. Make statements. Ask questions. Remember that, in this environment, your fingers must do talking . . . speaking, facial expressions, head shaking, gestures, and other non-text communication cannot be attended to by your fellow participants as it would be if we were face to face.

Say what's on your mind in a way that encourages active participation and deeper thought, and demonstrates mutual respect.
It is critical to express your thoughts, but one thing must be remembered . . . all contributions are important and will be honored as such.

At this point, don't sweat the small stuff.
Keep in mind that everything posted here is a "work in progress" developed to increase our ability to move toward effective decisions in a variety of instances. Your contribution to continuous improvement is encouraged and expected.

Enjoy yourself.
Take pleasure in the opportunities we have to explore and discuss these issues and ideas in such an interesting format and with such limited immediate consequences.  No question is too "simple" and no suggestion without value. This is a great format for trying out new ideas.

Again, welcome.  Let's get moving.  Ready! SETT! Go!  :)

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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998.

ŠEducation Development Center, Inc.