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Thursday 12 February 2015

2014-2015 TLLP Project

This week I have been working on some items for my current TLLP project and thought I would share about the project with you today.  The Teacher Learning and Leadership Program (TLLP) is an annual project-based professional learning opportunity for experienced classroom teachers. The program funds proposals from classroom teachers who seek a peer leadership role in curriculum, instructional practice and/or supporting other teachers. The three goals of the program are to create and support opportunities for teacher professional learning, foster teacher leadership and facilitate the sharing of exemplary practices with others for the broader benefit of Ontario's students.

This is my second time participating in this program.  I participated in the program during the 2012-2013 academic year and did a project on the use of iPads as teaching tools for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  To learn more about this project, click here.  
For our 2014 TLLP project, we are investigating the use of an electronic curriculum planning and evaluation system for students currently not accessing the Ontario curriculum.  There are eight teachers at eight different schools in our school board participating in the project.  

Planning academic programs and evaluating progress for students with developmental disabilities is a challenging and somewhat daunting task for educators.  The existing Ontario currciulum often does not meet the developmental needs of students with complex special needs.  The Ministry of Education has acknowledged this gap and is currenlty working on developing a provincial framework to address this issue.  As such, this project aims to contribute to this framework by investigating the use of an electronic system that will allow teachers and educational assistants to improve the development, delivery and evaluation of educational programs that are based on alternative curriculums.  

The Individual Curriculum Builder (ICB) is a comprehensive, evidence based system for creating, implementing and evaluating special education programs for students with developmental disabilities. Based on the Hawaii Early Learning Profile (HELP), the ICB has three components to it.  

The first component is a software program that allows teachers to design the students' educational programs based on the goals outlined in the student's IEP.  By using the software, the teacher can create the student's daily schedule, and align his/her IEP goals to each subject/activity in the schedule.  The ICB then provides a pre-written (individualizable) lesson plan of how the skill will be taught, using evidence based teaching practices (eg. Structured Learning and Applied Behaviour Analysis), and describes how the skill will be assessed (ie., trial by trial data collection).

All of the information inputted into the software program is then transmitted to an iPad  application called the Mobile Individual Curriculum (MIC), which is the second component of this system.  The MIC’s prewritten lesson plans specify how the skills will be taught, how to correct errors, what type of reinforcement to use and when to deliver it, what type of data will be collected and the mastery criteria for the skill.  When a teacher or EA is teaching a skill, the MIC displays key notes from the lesson plan, providing immediate, readily available, on the job coaching for educators to assist them in learning to use evidence-based teaching methods, specifically, Applied Behaviour Analysis and Structured Learning.  In addition, because the MIC is tied directly to the student’s daily plan, built-in clock and timer functions are available so any educator always knows exactly what to teach, and when. 

The third component involves Teachers and Educational Assistants (EAs) using the MIC to collect assessment data while teaching the student.  The assessment data collected will include trial by trial data, digital recordings and photos of student work.  The trial by trial data will be transmitted back to the IBC where it is automatically graphed and analysed, and recommendations for next steps are provided to the educator, based on the student's performance.  The data can be reviewed at any time and will inform teaching practices for each IEP goal.

I know it's hard to conceptualize, so I made this introductory video for anyone who is interested in learning more about the program.

Until next time,

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