1. What does an Assistive Technologist do?
An Assistive Technologist, or AT for short, supports students in the use of technology as “scaffolding” to enable independent learning, and to overcome barriers to learning.
2. Why did you choose to work in this area?
I really get a kick out of helping users to see technology as an aid in their daily lives, and not something they are afraid to use.
3. Where did you train and how long did it take?
Well, I completed a BA in Information Technology and Management, and recently graduated with an MSc in Assistive Technology and Universal Design from DIT in Kevin Street. All in all, I’ve been working specifically on assistive technologies for the last 8 years (feeling old now !!).
4. What qualities and skills are required for your role?
Being a good listener and communicator. The role involves matching technology to different users with all types of skills and abilities. I feel a key component is allowing the student to bring those abilities to the forefront through their use of technology.
5. Have you always worked with young people?
No, my first role was working on web-based data analytics for hotel satisfactions cards, the technology that allows hotels to rate how they are preforming against other hotel brands.
6. What kind of support do you provide to college students?
When it comes to technology pretty much anything that can be plugged in!! Typically, note taking supports, academic text-to-speech tools, and more 1:1 tools such as screen reading and magnification software.
7. What do you like most about your job?
The buzz of seeing a 1st year student progressing through college to graduation, and the change in personality and confidence that academic life can bring.
8. Are you working on any projects at the moment?
I am presently working on the Trinity Inclusive Curriculum (TIC) which aims to form a key part of the Trinity Education Project looking at curriculum re-design, and ensuring that inclusive practices are built-in from the ground up.
9. What is your top tip for students starting college?
Try to get a plan in place for all of the things that you want to achieve in a week, like study, lecture, sports and of course socialising. Try not to let them get on top of each other, and set clear – and achievable! – goals for the week.
10. How can parents help?
Try to keep a healthy communication route open with your young person, read up on the course handbook so you have an idea of the workload and how much pressure they might be under throughout the year. Also make sure you are aware of all the supports available to students at 2nd and 3rd level, so that you don’t feel isolated if problems arise.
For more information on how AT can help in college, visit Andrew’s Assitive Technology page.