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Enable Ireland’s National Assistive Technology (AT) Training Service today announced the launch of a new e-learning Assistive Technology course. ‘Learning with Assistive Technology- Primary Education Course’ has been developed by Enable Ireland, with the support of Microsoft Ireland, for teachers, Special Needs Assistants (SNAs), and parents of children who use or may need to use AT in primary schools to empower them to provide better outcomes for students living with disabilities.

Speaking about the new course, Siobhán Long, Enable Ireland’s National AT Service Manager said, “We have a lot of experience in Enable Ireland of working with educators, students and parents and we have found that early introduction to AT leads to better outcomes and increased engagement levels amongst users. We’re delighted to collaborate with Microsoft once again to accelerate the use of AT amongst wider audiences.

“The course is designed to equip the learner with the knowledge and skills required to guide students as they progress through to second level education and beyond. With this ambition in mind, we have developed this course specifically for those with key roles in primary education and the guardians of primary level students using AT. We have significant experience of what works and what types of Assistive Technologies are available, and we want to share that experience with others.”

Microsoft and Enable Ireland have worked together on a wide range of Assistive Technology projects for over twenty years. The collaboration has been built on a shared vision of enabling technology to transform the lives of people with disabilities and to empower everybody to achieve more.

Speaking today about the availability of this new course, James O’Connor, Vice President, Microsoft International Operations, said: “At Microsoft, we’re passionate about empowering every person to achieve more. The power of technology is not only making this possible every day, it’s also helping to cultivate a more inclusive society. Working with Enable Ireland, we’re able to unleash the power of assistive technology, transforming the lives of people living with disabilities.

“Enable Ireland’s new AT course is an important development in the AT story as it will support people caring for and educating those with additional needs to develop the skills required to integrate AT seamlessly into the classroom or the home environment. In so doing, we are helping those who require AT to accelerate their ability to benefit from these digital solutions.”

The self-directed online course will take approximately 12 hours to complete. It covers a number of practical topics relevant to primary school-aged students including Universal Design for Learning (UDL), AT to support access to computers and mobile devices, supports for oral language, writing, reading and Irish, software and apps to support maths, technologies to support visual arts, drama, and music and ideas, technologies, and adaptations to support those who can’t participate in standard sports and activities.

The course will provide participants with the knowledge and resources needed to harness the digital technologies available to support children in primary school education, with the goal of enabling students to become expert learners.  The course is available to teachers for €50 and to parents and SNAs at the discounted rate of €25. Upon successful completion of the course, graduates will be awarded the ‘Learning with AT – Primary Edu’ badge.