Assistive Technology in Teacher-Training Programs: A National and International PerspectiveBy Safhi, Mohammad Y.; Zhou, Li; Smith, Derrick W.; Kelley, Pat; Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, Vol. 103, No. 9, pp. 562-568
Publication Date: September 2009
Study explored the integration of assistive technology (AT) training into teacher preparation programs for teachers of students with visual impairments worldwide. Participants were 38 professionals who represented training programs for teachers of visually impaired students in 27 countries excluding the United States and Canada, where a similar study had been conducted previously. Participants completed an online survey consisting of 15 questions. Teacher training programs described by respondents were housed in a variety of settings including universities, institutions, and residential schools for blind students. Twenty-seven participants responded that AT was included in their teacher training programs. Survey results were compared to those of the study conducted in the United States and Canada. Participants in both studies agreed on the importance of instruction in AT devices and services, and both groups also highly ranked instruction of the issues, barriers of benefits of AT. The abilities to evaluate progress and conduct functional analyses of AT were also highly rated by both groups as teacher competencies. However, participants in North America rated bureaucratic competencies higher than did the international participants, and competencies such as knowledge of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), legislation, and funding sources were ranked considerably lower by the international group. The North American participants also felt a need for a higher level of proficiency with high-tech devices such as GPS or video magnifiers, while low-tech AT such as canes and magnifiers were ranked much higher in the international group. Study limitations and implications for future research are discussed.
Published by: AFB Press (Website:http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=46)
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) (Web Site: http://www.afb.org )