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Staying Off Snapchat! Technology Tools to Support Executive Function While Learning

November 2
1:00 PM - 1:50 PM
Digital Learning and Innovative Practices
Instructional Coaches, Library and Media Specialists, Teachers

Executive function (EF) skills are the attention-regulation skills that make it possible to sustain attention, keep goals and information in mind, refrain from responding immediately, resist distraction, tolerate frustration, consider the consequences of different behaviors, reflect on past experiences, and plan for the future according to Zelazo et al. (2017). Executive function skills are required throughout a student’s day and imperative for success in school. Many students struggle with one or more areas of executive function skills.

Most students are one-to-one with mobile technology, laptops, or desktop computers in today’s educational and home environment. For students who struggle with executive function, using these tools for learning can be a challenging task. Students are distracted by the endless possibilities of technology such as social media, gaming, or browsing the web. This presentation provides a range of technology solutions which can allow students greater success while learning. The assistive technology reviewed in the presentation supports time management, material organization, focus, and/or self-regulation. The tools demonstrated will range from built-in options of everyday technology to low-cost purchased solutions.

Finally, appropriately selecting a tool to support executive function for students can be challenging. Several tools are provided in the presentation; however, choosing the correct tool or tools is crucial for success. The Student, Environment, Task, and Tool (SETT) Framework by Joy Zabala will be introduced to assist with tool selection for assistive technology to support executive function skills. The SETT Framework is a tool that helps teams gather and organize information that is used to guide collaborative decisions about assistive technology. Participants will leave with various technologies to support executive skills while working online.

Zabala, J., (2005). Using the SETT Framework to Level the Learning Field for
Students with Disabilities. Retrieved from http://www.joyzabala.com/uploads/Zabala_SETT_Leveling_the_Learning_Field.pdf

Zelazo, P.D., Blair, C.B., & Willoughby, M.T. (2017). Executive Function: Implications for Education. United States Department of Education: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED570880.pdf

Samantha Conklin
Samantha Conklin
AT Facilitator, Infinitec

Samantha Conklin received Bachelor's and Master's degrees in special education from Purdue University. While completing her graduate coursework she participated in the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Personnel Preparation grant, and was a course instructor for undergraduate classes in special education and a teaching assistant for a graduate course in AAC. Her previous work experience includes working as an Assistive Technology Consultant for Northern Suburban Special Education District, and as a special educator for multiple districts. Samantha works for UCP-Infinitec as an Assistive Technology Facilitator in which she coordinates webinars and training, collaborates and provides technical assistance to classroom teams to support decision-making and integration of assistive technology for students, and provides training on a variety of topics related to assistive technology.