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Spectronics - Inclusive Learning Technologies
Local
T: (07) 3808 6833
F: (07) 3808 6108
E: mail@spectronicsinoz.com
International
T: +61 7 3808 6833
F: +61 7 3808 6108
W: www.spectronicsinoz.com
PO BOX 88
Rochedale
Q 4123
AUSTRALIA
A.B.N. 15 011 046 585 Inclusive Learning Technologies PTY LTD

Greg O'Connor

Professional and Consultancy Services Manager (Teacher)
Texthelp Certified Trainer

Greg has been actively involved in supporting the learning of people with diverse learning needs for 29 years. During this time he has worked as a classroom teacher, school executive, district consultant and regional manager with the New South Wales Department of Education and Training. Greg's areas of interest and expertise include supporting people with complex needs, challenging behaviours and autism, and literacy support technologies for people with learning disabilities. He is passionately committed to the use of assistive and instructional technologies to support the learning of ALL students in school and post school settings. Greg is the Professional and Consultancy Services Manager at Spectronics.




 
April, July and October 2011 - Spectronics Workshops, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, Australia

Assistive Technology for Secondary Students who Struggle with Literacy
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

Students with learning difficulties, disabilities, and students for whom English is not their first language, struggle with the literacy requirements of secondary school. They find it difficult to access, participate and progress through the curriculum being provided, due to difficulties with reading, writing and organisational skills. For schools attempting to support these students, assistive technology plays a key role in removing literacy barriers and providing compensatory tools to accommodate their learning needs.

This workshop will provide an overview of how assistive technologies can support and compensate for the literacy needs of students. A range of assistive technology literacy support options will be demonstrated in the areas of reading, writing and organisational skills. Features to be demonstrated will include text-to-speech, word prediction, speech recognition, study skills, and universal design for learning. In addition, the workshop will provide resources for making informed decisions about assistive technology, and strategies to support their implementation in secondary schools.

In an increasing digital world, schools must now prepare students for an environment where they will spend more time reading and using information on the internet and from digital text, than they will reading from a printed book. Assistive technology has a key role to play in this preparation for secondary students who struggle with literacy.

Integrating Assistive Technologies Throughout the Curriculum in Special Education Classrooms
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

Assistive technology is an essential consideration when providing accommodations and learning adjustments for students in special education classrooms. At the same time, effectively integrating assistive technology into the busy special education classroom and across the entire curriculum can provide challenges for teachers who wish to make a difference for all their students. This workshop will support special education staff to differentiate instruction and curriculum materials using assistive technology, and so provide a structured classroom environment, increased student access to learning programs and improvements in student outcomes.

A range of assistive technology tools will be demonstrated across the key curriculum areas, and in relation to behaviour support and classroom management. Practical, classroom based examples will be provided. The workshop will also provide participants with a framework for making the right decisions when choosing assistive technology tools for their students. The workshop emphasis will be on supporting students with moderate and high support needs, including challenging behaviours and autism spectrum disorder.

June 6-10 2011 - Texthelp Australian Tour June 2011 - Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, Australia

Texthelp Read&Write GOLD
- Presented by Victoria Martin and Greg O'Connor

Join us for a full day of hands-on training to learn about the NEW Windows Version 10 and Mac Version 4 of the popular Texthelp Read&Write GOLD literacy support software.

The workshop will be of value to learning support team members in schools and post-secondary settings, teachers, teacher aides, therapists, parents and students using the Texthelp Read&Write GOLD program! If you are considering purchase of the program, you may also find it useful to attend. You will leave the workshop with an in-depth understanding of the many powerful literacy support features built into the software.

12th to 14th May 2011 - AGOSCI 10th Biennial National Conference, Adelaide, Australia

Mobile Learning - Taking it to the Streets and Beyond for Learners with Complex Communication Needs
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

Mobile learning or M-learning tools enable learning to occur across contexts and across technologies being utilised. The user is not required to be tied to a certain location to be able to access the learning programs or supports that they specifically require. Mobile learning tools are convenient in that they are accessible from virtually anywhere. Like other forms of E-learning, they also afford responsive 'just in time just in need' access and opportunities for collaboration.

This presentation will focus on M-learning technologies that support the literacy needs of people with complex communication needs. The mobile technologies to be discussed and demonstrated include MP3 players, mobile phones, tablet computers, e-text readers, portable literacy devices and web-based software applications.

The use of mobile learning tools supports introduction of differentiated learning materials and instructional practices into a learning environment, ensuring that all learners are able to access the same content within a truly inclusive environment. A range of differentiated resources developed using M-learning technologies will be demonstrated and shared to highlight the power of the inclusive nature of these tools.

Access to Learning in a Flat World - Inclusive Learning Technologies and Universal Designed Learning in Schools
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 tools including e-learning platforms, virtual classrooms, collaborative online tools such as blogs and wikis, and mobile learning technologies have flattened the world of education and changed the way 21st Century learners learn. At the same time the rapid development of inclusive learning technologies has also leveled the playing field in school settings allowing students with complex communication needs to meaningfully access the curriculum, participate in learning and community programs, and to be socially connected.

The convergence of these technologies with the principles of universally designed learning has the potential to flatten learning environments so that they are inclusive of all students. The challenge for learners, their families, educators and therapists is to take advantage of these technologies to ensure successful learning and meaningful participation across all settings.

This workshop will explore these issues as well as providing an examination of the inclusive technologies available to students with complex communication needs within the context of the principles of universal design for learning: providing multiple ways that (1) information is presented, (2) understanding is expressed, and (3) students are engaged. Inclusive learning technologies examined will include the latest developments in access technology, literacy support software and hardware, etext support and technologies that allow for differentiated learning material. Practical demonstrations and case studies of these technologies will be provided.

Workshop participants will be provided with detailed list of web based resources, and be invited to participate in a collaborative forum utilizing Survey Monkey and a wikispace to explore the pedagogical issues related to the implementation of what is often seen as disruptive technologies.

February 28 2011 - Marist College Ashgrove, Annual Professional Learning Conference 2011, Brisbane, Australia

Using Assistive Technologies to Differentiate Literacy Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

Meeting the diverse learning needs of all students in the classroom presents challenges to the busy teacher. This workshop will examine how assistive technology tools can assist teachers in making curriculum modifications and adaptations to meet the individual differences and diverse learning needs of students with learning disabilities and difficulties. In particular, the principles of differentiated instruction and universal design for learning will be examined to support learning and curriculum access for all students. Practical examples of applying these principles using assistive technology tools will be explored.

A review of the emerging assistive technology research points to the benefits of the key features of these technologies, including text to speech, voice recognition, word prediction, mobile learning and alternative digital formats. Examples of the implementation of these technologies in schools will be provided. Participants will have an updated understanding of where we are at with assistive technology options for supporting the literacy needs of students with learning disabilities and difficulties.

Workshop participants will have an updated understanding of where we are at with assistive technology options for supporting the literacy needs of students with learning disabilities and difficulties.

December 1-3 2010 - The Pathways 10 Conference, Brisbane, Australia

Mobile Learning - Creating a Space When and Where You Need It
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

Mobile learning or M-learning tools enable learning to occur across contexts and across technologies being utilised. The user is not required to be tied to a certain location to be able to access the learning programs or supports which they specifically require. Mobile learning tools are convenient in that they are accessible from virtually anywhere. Like other forms of E-learning, they also afford responsive ‘just in time just in need’ access and opportunities for collaboration.

This presentation will focus on M-learning technologies that support the literacy needs of people with disabilities. The mobile technologies to be discussed and demonstrated include MP3 players, mobile phones, tablet computers, e-text readers, portable literacy devices and web-based software applications.

The use of mobile learning tools supports introduction of differentiated learning materials and instructional practices into a learning environment, ensuring that all learners are able to access the same content within a truly inclusive environment. A range of differentiated resources developed using M-learning technologies will be demonstrated and shared to highlight the power of the inclusive nature of these tools.

Download the HANDOUT

Access to Learning in a Flat World - Inclusive Learning Technologies and Universal Designed Learning Spaces in Tertiary Education
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 tools including e-learning platforms, virtual classrooms and collaborative tools such as Moodle, Centra, Blackboard and SI-net have flattened the world of education and changed the way 21st Century learners learn. At the same time the rapid development of inclusive learning technologies has also levelled the playing field in tertiary education settings allowing all learners to access knowledge and to be connected across the social world of a tertiary institution.

The convergence of these technologies with the principles of universally designed learning has the potential to flatten learning environments so that they are inclusive of all students. The challenge for educators and learners in tertiary settings is to take advantage of these technologies to ensure successful learning.

This conference space will be framed within the context of the principles of universal design for learning: providing multiple ways that (1) information is presented, (2) understanding is expressed, and (3) students are engaged.

Inclusive learning technologies examined will include literacy support software and hardware, mind mapping and study tools, e-text support and technologies that allow for differentiated learning material.

Download the HANDOUT

November 18 2010 - Providing Solutions Assistive Technology Forum, Hobart, Australia

Removing Barriers: Using Inclusive Technology to Support Learning, Social Engagement and Workplace Participation of People with Literacy Difficulties
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

A review of the research indicates that technology in the area literacy support changes rapidly and these changes make it difficult to distinguish which tool or combination of tools will best benefit a particular person. The emerging research points to the benefits of key features of these technologies, including text to speech, word prediction, portable note taking and alternative digital formats in learning, social engagement and work place participation.

People with literacy difficulties have at their disposal a range of compensatory inclusive technologies to support their needs. The emerging research concerning the use of these technologies indicates they can make a difference to the learning and educational performance of people who struggle with literacy. Technology is increasingly being used to remove barriers to learning and participation, and provide access to knowledge and understanding.

This workshop will provide an up-to-date overview of the range of technologies available to support reading, writing, research, study and organizational difficulties in school and post school settings. In particular, the principles of universal design for learning will be examined to support the learning and participation access for all. Practical examples of applying these principles using inclusive technology tools will be discussed.

Workshop participants will have an updated understanding of where we are at with inclusive technology literacy options for supporting students with learning disabilities and difficulties.

Download the HANDOUT

Making Informed Decisions, and Keeping Up To Date about Inclusive Technologies
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

This workshop will provide an overview of a framework for making decisions about inclusive technologies, and give participants tools to keep up to date with what is available. Schools, services and technology users encounter difficulties in making informed decisions regarding inclusive technologies. Utilising the SETT Framework and Action Research this workshop will provide participants with a framework to consider and evaluate inclusive technology use.

There is a huge range of inclusive technologies available. Often called the inclusive technology paradox, it is difficult to know what to consider if you don't know what is available from this large pool of resources. Participants will be provided with a background to the range of assistive technologies available, and will be provided with a range of web-based tools to keep informed.

Download the HANDOUT

October 26-28 and November 1-2 2010 - Spectronics Workshops, Christchurch and Auckland, New Zealand

AT and AAC in the Classroom All Day: Practical Strategies for Effectively Integrating Assistive Technology and Augmentative and Alternative Communication Tools Throughout Your Day
- Presented by Jane Farrall and Greg O'Connor with Guest Presenter Julie King

Effectively integrating assistive technology and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) tools into the busy classroom or service can make a difference to the successful communication, learning and participation of children and adults with additional needs such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, intellectual disabilities or physical disabilities. This session will show how these tools can be integrated throughout the day to promote learning, independence and fun. We will run through a day in a special needs classroom, demonstrating a range of assistive technology and AAC tools. We will show how these can be used to increase access to learning programs and support student and client individual goals, as well as classroom goals. Practical examples will be provided with an emphasis on supporting individuals with moderate and high support needs, including challenging behaviours. This session will be interactive - so come along and participate!

Download the HANDOUT

Using Assistive Technology to Differentiate Literacy Instruction: Supporting the Learning of Secondary Students with Disabilities and Learning Difficulties
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

Meeting the diverse learning needs of all students in the classroom presents challenges to the busy teacher. This workshop will examine how assistive technology tools can assist teachers in making curriculum modifications and adaptations to meet the individual differences and diverse learning needs of secondary students with learning disabilities and difficulties. In particular, the principles of differentiated instruction and universal design for learning will be examined to support the learning and curriculum access for all students. Practical examples of applying these principles using assistive technology tools will be explored.

A review of the emerging assistive technology research points to the benefits of the key features of these technologies, including text to speech, voice recognition, word prediction, mobile learning and alternative digital formats. Examples of the implementation of these technologies in schools will be provided. Workshop participants will have an updated understanding of where we are at with assistive technology options for supporting the literacy needs of secondary students with learning disabilities and difficulties.

Download the HANDOUT

Texthelp Read&Write GOLD Hands-on Workshop
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

Texthelp Read&Write GOLD is a software program designed to support students who struggle with literacy. Based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, it enables students to continue using the same software and Internet tools as those used by their peers - rather than requiring them to move to a “special” program which differentiates them from other students - making them feel embarrassed about their literacy difficulties. This session will demonstrate the many features of the program showing how it can be customised to assist students of varying abilities - highlighting the reading support tools, the writing support tools and the unique research and study tools all built into the software. Specific attention will be paid to how these tools can assist students with learning in a variety of subject areas and tasks.

Literally hundreds of schools, universities, colleges and Polytechnics across New Zealand and Australia have installed the program for use by their students for support with reading, writing and study skills. Greg will discuss one recent action research project looking at student outcomes - completed in an Australian high school which installed a full site licence of the Texthelp Read&Write GOLD program. He will also briefly discuss other research results supporting the value of introduction of literacy support technologies in school and tertiary education settings. What does this research literature tell us about the effectiveness of assistive technology in supporting the learning of students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities?

Participants in this session will gain an appreciation of the power of Texthelp Read&Write GOLD as a true digital literacy tool for the 21st Century!

Download the HANDOUT

October 20-22, 2010 - SEPANZ Conference, Christchurch, New Zealand

Keeping Up To Date: What I Need to Know about Assistive Technology Research
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

There has been a rapid growth of the development of assistive technology over the last 30 years. At the same time the research concerning the use of assistive technology by students with disabilities has been limited, as it has attempted to keep pace with this development. The emerging research however does indicate that assistive technology has a positive impact on the learning and educational performance of students with disabilities, and is an essential tool to enable differentiation and universal design for learning structures in schools.
To support school leaders keep up to date, this presentation will provide an overview of the assistive technology research literature and its implications for the classroom.

School leaders attending this workshop will be provided with strategies for locating research and good practice including the identification of key books, publications and journals in the area of assistive technology. An extensive list of resources will be provided.

Download the HANDOUT

A School Leader's Guide to Inclusive Technologies to Support Students with Disabilities: Implementing Disruptive Innovations
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

For school leaders in the 21st Century, technology is an essential consideration when providing accommodations and learning adjustments for students with disabilities in special education settings. However, these technologies can in fact be a disruptive innovation and require teachers to examine their established pedagogy. This session will provide an overview of the range of assistive technology tools available to support student learning across the curriculum, implications for implementing new technologies in a school setting, and will help school leaders tackle the issues relating to technology and change in a school setting.
Technology in this area changes rapidly and these changes make it difficult to distinguish which tool or combination of tools will best benefit students. The benefits of the key features of these technologies will also be discussed and recent research in this field will be explored.

School leaders attending this workshop will have an updated understanding of where we are at with specialised technology options for supporting students with disabilities to access learning programs, and the challenges in implementing them in a school setting.

Download the HANDOUT

Using Action Research to Support Informed Decision Making about Inclusive Technologies: A Practical Model for Educational Leaders and Teams
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

Action research is collaborative learning experience where a community of practitioners come together to critically reflect on ways to improve their practice.

When implementing inclusive technologies in a special education setting, the collection of data and critical reflection is required to ensure these technologies are addressing student needs, interventions are working, and ongoing implementation plans align with expected results.

Action research is a tool for educational leaders and their school teams to make informed decisions about inclusive technologies. This workshop will provide an overview of how action research can be used to support the implementation of inclusive technologies in school settings.

Download the HANDOUT

June 17-18, 2010 - 2010 AASE/ASEPA National Conference, Darwin, Australia

Making a Difference: Using Inclusive Technology to Support the Learning of Students with Learning Disabilities and Difficulties
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

Students with learning disabilities and difficulties have at their disposal a range of inclusive technologies to support their learning. The emerging research concerning the use of these technologies indicates their use can make a difference to the learning and educational performance of students who struggle with literacy. Technology is increasingly being used to remove barriers to learning and provide access to knowledge and understanding.

A review of the research indicates that technology in this area changes rapidly and these changes make it difficult to distinguish which tool or combination of tools will best benefit a particular student. The emerging research points to the benefits of key features of these technologies, including text to speech, word prediction, portable note taking and alternative digital formats. Examples of the implementation of these technologies in schools will be provided. This workshop will provide an up-to-date overview of the range of technologies available to support students with reading, writing, research, study and organizational difficulties in school and post school settings. In particular, the principles of differentiated instruction and universal design for learning will be examined to support the learning and curriculum access for all students. Practical examples of applying these principles using inclusive technology tools will be discussed. Workshop participants will have an updated understanding of where we are at with inclusive technology options for supporting students with learning disabilities and difficulties.

Download the HANDOUT

May 25-28, 2010 - Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference 2010, Gold Coast, Australia

What's APPropriate:Using iTunes to Find Gems for Your Students in the App Store
- Presented by Jane Farrall and Greg O'Connor

This session is designed as an introduction for people who want to get started using the iTunes store to find and load Apps onto their iPod Touch or iPhone.

The App Store, which is part of the iTunes store, has an ever increasing range of Apps - programs designed to run on the iPod Touch and iPhone. Apps have been written to be used in early literacy activities, to record notes and to practice simple maths skills - as well as a number of Apps for AAC and Apps to assist teachers to keep track of students' progress.
Come along and learn how to use iTunes and the iTunes store to find Apps for your students. Learn about the range of Apps available to support students with learning needs and learn how to download these Apps and install them.

If you want to get started using Apps on the iPod Touch or iPhone then this is the session for you!

Download the HANDOUT

The Power of Connectivity for Fun and Learning with Easy-Tech Assistive Technology
- Presented by Paul Thompson, Greg O'Connor and Jane Farrall

Access tools such as switches, easy-tech communication aids and simple environmental control units provide powerful support and control for learners with disabilities in the classroom, at home and around the community. By connecting these tools together, however, along with fun, educational and collaborative content and curriculum, you and your students can do and learn so much more!

In this interactive session, we will explore how the power of connectivity for common AT tools increases success in the classroom. By linking together some of the most popular AT tools along with many powerful new products (including more wireless access, easier to program environmental control and even more affordable communication) we will participate in engaging, effective, fun activities that you can do at home and school as soon as you return.

We will also utilise FREE online tools for finding ideas and generating communication overlays fast and without any cost.

Download the HANDOUT

Walk the Talk with Dragon in Schools
- Presented by Greg O'Connor and Anita Raftery

With Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Standard, students can talk into their computer and watch their spoken words instantly appear in a word processing document. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 turns their voice into text three times faster than most people type - with up to 99% accuracy.

The improved accuracy in this latest version of this speech recognition software has made it possible for more and more students to successfully use speech recognition as a writing tool. When used with literacy support software programs such as Texthelp Read&Write 9 GOLD and ClaroRead V5 for Windows, Dragon NaturallySpeaking becomes a powerful compensatory tool for students with writing difficulties.

This workshop will provide an overview of the key features and strategies of using Dragon Naturally Speaking, together with Read&Write 9 and ClaroRead V5, in the classroom.

In addition, to assist teachers in making data-based decisions related to the provision of speech recognition for students with writing difficulties, participants will be provided with a range of protocols for evaluating a student's potential for using speech recognition.

Download the HANDOUT

Opening Windows: Accessibility and Windows 7
- Presented by Greg O'Connor and Anita Raftery

Windows 7 operating system includes a range of accessibility options and programs that make it easier to see, hear and use your computer. Participants attending this workshop will discover how to:
1. Make their computer easier to use via the ‘Ease of Access Centre’, including how to:

  • Make the computer easier to see
  • Make the mouse easier to use
  • Make the keyboard easier to use
  • Use the computer without a mouse or keyboard

2. Use the accessibility tools, including how to:

  • Use the magnifier
  • Type using the on-screen keyboard
  • Hear text read aloud

3. Personalise their computer, including how to:

  • Change the computer theme, sounds, background and account pictures
  • Change the font size on the screen
  • Use customised desktop gadgets

By attending this workshop participants will develop an understanding of how this new version of Windows contains features that makes it very accessible for users with differing abilities.

Download the HANDOUT

March 25-26, 2010 - Hunter/Central Coast Region 2010 Primary Principals' Conference, Terrigal, Australia

Access to Learning - Inclusive Technology Tools Making a Difference to Student Learning Across the Primary Curriculum
- Presented by Greg O'Connor

Students with learning disabilities and difficulties have at their disposal a range of inclusive technologies to support their learning. The emerging research concerning the use of these technologies indicates their use can make a difference to the learning and educational performance of these students. Technology is increasingly being used to remove barriers to learning and provide access to knowledge and understanding.

This workshop will provide an up-to-date overview of the range of technologies available to support students with learning disabilities and difficulties in primary school settings. Many of these tools are also of value to students who struggle because English is not their first language.

Technology in this area changes rapidly and these changes make it difficult to distinguish which tool or combination of tools will best benefit students. The benefits of key features of these technologies will be discussed, practical demonstrations will be provided, and recent research in this field will be explored.

Principals and school executive attending this workshop will have an updated understanding of where we are at with specialised technology options for supporting not only students with specific learning disabilities and learning difficulties, but all students in primary school.




 



 



 
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