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Indiana State Story

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AEMing for Achievement grant participants present their work at end of year event.

The Promoting Achievement Through Technology and Instruction for All Students (PATINS) Project, established in 1995, leads AEM efforts in Indiana. PATINS is a statewide technical assistance network that connects Indiana's local education agencies (LEAs) to accessible materials, assistive technology, professional development and technical support through the Indiana Department of Education and Administration. In 2006, PATINS established the Indiana Center for Accessible Materials (ICAM). The ICAM coordinates with the NIMAC to secure the timely access to specialized formats of printed K-12 textbooks and core instructional materials for students with print disabilities

The AEMing for Achievement Grant

Another core component of PATINS’ AEM work is the AEMing for Achievement Grant. Through this grant, PATINS has worked closely with 8-10 Indiana school districts. These districts are selected after the PATINS staff has met with them for a full-day orientation (Instead – Through this grant, PATINS works closely with 8-10 school districts each year. These districts are selected through an application process before attending a full-day orientation, meet with PATINS Specialists weekly, attend a mid-year online gathering, and finally an end of year collaboration where they showcase their struggles, triumphs, case studies, and data). Originally, the orientation only focused on AEM but it has since expanded to more broadly incorporate Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a guiding framework.

PATINS asks AEMing for Achievement districts to do an initial assessment of their current efforts to provide AEM, then to develop an action plan that will lead to improved outcomes. PATINS staff continue to meet with districts weekly over the remaining school year to work on the implementation of that action plan, including a full cohort gathering that takes place online in January and a collaboration day at the end of May when district teams develop their final reports. Participating districts currently receive access to the Don Johnston’s Universal Protocol for Accommodations in Reading (uPAR), Snap & Read, and Co:Writer.  software for all of the district's buildings, along with ongoing professional development on the effective use of these tools to support learning.

Local Education Agency (LEA)

Agency legally authorized to provide administrative control or direction of publically funded schools.

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Technology

Equipment or system where principal function is creation, conversion, duplication, control, display, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data.

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Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

Print- and technology-based educational materials designed to be usable across the widest range of individual variability.

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Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Framework of learning and teaching, resisting one-size-fits-all approach. Encourages offering multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement.

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Student Success Stories

Ben, a second-year senior, is a smart and passionate kid. PATINS staff realized it was really because there were no accessible materials available to him that Ben struggled in school. After PATINS staff provided AEM to Ben along with the tools needed to access the materials, he began to read auditorily on his own. In Spring 2017, Ben attended a training focusing on computers, a topic of interest to him. He is now much more engaged with his education, whereas before the idea of graduation did not have much appeal to him.  

Kelly, a younger student, struggled with reading and this impacted her socially. She was found to perform significantly higher when using auditory reading tools. With the exposure to AEM, she not only made an achievement growth, her reading also improved. Now when the tools are taken away she is actually at a much higher reading level than before.

Learning Opportunities and Technical Assistance

Along with the AEMing for Achievement grant, the PATINS project has an extensive program for providing learning opportunities and technical assistance (Critical Component 4) on UDL, assistive technology and AEM. In just one year, PATINS does over 700 trainings that reach more than 9,000 participants. It also fulfils more than 16,000 technical assistance requests while loaning out more than 1,500 items through its assistive technology lending library.  

The guiding vision for the PATINS Project, according to Director Daniel McNulty, is to develop a structured and sustainable procurement, provision, and implementation process under the umbrella of UDL. A key goal related to that vision is the creation of a more comprehensive data collection system that will focus not only on procurement but also on student achievement, behavior, attendance, and communication, resulting from the implementation of AEM. 

Recommendations for Other States

Be patient. As Daniel McNulty, Director of the PATINS project states, "It’s important to remember this is a long, deep, and complex process that is not going to to happen overnight." During his time at the helm of the PATINS Project, Mr. McNulty has seen a shift in thinking across the state, moving from an emphasis on assistive technology to the consideration of accessible materials, accessible technologies, and usability as well.  A comprehensive approach requires not only clear guidance, policies, and workflow, but also a top to bottom focus simultaneous with grass roots enthusiasm and creativity!  Support from PATINS often takes the form of face-to-face trainings, one-on-one coaching, online resources, and in-class training involving educators with their students.  Moving too fast and/or focusing only on tools without the necessary underlying fundamental structures and culture in place can actually inhibit progress, according to Mr. McNulty. 

Accessible Technology

Technology that can be used by people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. Incorporates the principles of universal design.

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