Practice English Speaking&Listening with: What is Tier1 Accessible Technology

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Tier 1 accessible technology quick tips Barbara Welsford, assistive

technology specialist. What is MTSS and tier 1? MTSS is a framework that ensures

effective instruction assessment and support for all students, with a focus on

well-being and achievement. Tiers in MTSS refers to services and supports

provided to all students. It is important to note that tier 1 is not a classroom

or any location. Also it is never appropriate to refer to students as tier

1 tier 2 or tier 3 students. Tier 1 includes the whole class. All students

are taught with methods that research has shown to be effective in a common

learning environment. We feel a need to further explain the difference between

accessible versus assistive technology. Tier 1 accessible technology is

technology that benefits most students while offering built-in customizable

features for a broad range of abilities. Assistive technology on the other hand

is any item piece of equipment or product system, low medium or high tech,

that maintains or enhances the functional capability of a student who

continues to face a barrier to performing a task while using accessible

Tier one technology. Assistive technology therefore is a more focus Tier 2 or

intensive Tier 3 support and/or intervention. It is important to remember

as well that throughout tiers one, two and three instructional practices,

supports and interventions are flexible responsive and match to student

strengths, interests and challenges relative to well being in achievement.

Accessible and assistive technologies are just one type of support or service

within the MTSS framework. And remember too that most students will

be utilizing tier 1 accessible technology in a common learning

environment. While at the same time students using more focused tier 2

assistive technologies, or intensive tier 3 assistive technologies, will also be

using their assistive technology in the universal tier 1 common learning


Some examples of tier 1 accessible technologies include Chromebooks with

built-in accessibility options like the screen reader, the on-screen keyboards,

speech to text, or text-to-speech. The iPad also has extensive built in

accessibility options like Voiceover, for individuals who are blind ( which is a

screen reader), Spoken Content which reads aloud or a Text-to-Speech, Magnification

or Magnify option which magnifies the screen for individuals who need an

enlarged text or enlarged screen interface, Voice Control of the entire

device, Speech to Text or Voice Input, Word Prediction, Guided Access and

built-in Switch Control. These devices and accessibility options are available

to all students because the devices are universally designed

however, the built-in accessibility options are necessary for some to access

and engage in the curriculum.

There are many other examples of Tier 1 accessible technologies that we need to

consider including adapted seating units like Hokki stools. These benefit most

students in the classroom but remember not all , because we still have

some students who might require a regular seating system or who's in a

wheelchair. Other students can benefit from accessible education materials. That

means digitizing text with OCR scanning apps or software that converts

hardcopy text to digitized format. Other students can benefit from audiobooks or

have the option to access text books or novels in an alternate format. Other

students, or we could say most students, benefit from a sound field system in the

classroom, or an option of alternate sized writing tools like pencils and


So what do you do when this accessible technology feature or the accessible

technology we are using is not working for the student? At this point we suggest

making a referral to your assistive technology specialist or AT designate

for a more in-depth assistive technology assessment to indicate what specific

assistive technologies are needed or support or intervention that will

enhance performance of that student. This might be a tier 2 or tier 3 assistive

technology support in our intervention.

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