Media advisory: Cedar Rapids middle schoolers gain hands-on assistive technology experience

Media advisory: Cedar Rapids middle schoolers gain hands-on assistive technology experience

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ICATER graduate assistant Jennifer Andersen looks on as students use computers with assistive technology.
College of Education ICATER staff member Jennifer Andersen leads hands-on instruction of assistive technology for middle school students in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Photo by Mei-Ling Shaw Williams.

WHAT: A group of Roosevelt Middle School students in Cedar Rapids will learn how to harness the power of technology and self-advocacy to achieve success in school when they attend a two-day assistive technology camp led by staff from the University of Iowa College of Education’s Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research (ICATER).

WHEN: The camp takes place Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 12-13. Seventh- and eighth-graders will meet from 9 to 11:30 a.m. each day, while sixth-graders will meet from noon to 3 p.m.

WHERE: Roosevelt Middle School, 300 13th St. NW in Cedar Rapids, in the school's assistive technology lab on the third floor of the school. Reporters and photographers/videographers who are interested in covering this event should check in at the front desk and ask for Roosevelt Middle School Principal Autumn Pino.

WHY: Although most students won’t be back in school until later in August, a select group of Roosevelt Middle School students will be hard at work at this camp to learn about assistive technology, or computer programs and technology that can help them have success in the classroom. The lab will be available to all Roosevelt students in the fall.

Students will work with Dragon Naturally Speaking, a speech recognition software tool, and Co-Writer for writing. Many of these students have learning disabilities that cause them to struggle with spelling and writing. They will also be working with a tool called Snap&Read for reading.

WHO: ICATER is a technology and universal design resource for all members of the education community to build learner capacity and increase access to learning opportunities. Powerful assistive technology can greatly increase learning and reduce barriers for all students, especially those with disabilities.

Experts on site to help with the camp training include the following: Pino; Kandy Bekeris, Roosevelt Middle School assistive technology lab coordinator; and Kiersten Hensley and Jenny Andersen, ICATER graduate assistants at the UI. Hensley is from Des Moines, Iowa, and Andersen is from Franksville, Wisconsin.

NOTE TO EDITORS AND TV NEWS DIRECTORS: This event will provide visual, interactive opportunities to get photos or footage of participants working with assistive technology as well to interview organizers and participants.

For additional information, visit the ICATER website.

Contacts

Kiersten Hensley, College of Education--ICATER, 515-771-0233

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