Think ‘Smart’ – IEP goals for access

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Monday, 9 February 2015 10:13am

Part of the core work for teachers is to create learning goals for their students, on a class and at times individual basis. It is imperative that teachers include goals for all students in regard to access to media and technology, to ensure access to the curriculum.

Young boy in a classroom pressing down on a tablet device

An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is designed for some students with diverse learning needs or students with disabilities. When reflecting on goals, teachers should consider the “reasonable adjustments” that need to be made to provide students with access to teaching and learning “on the same basis” as their peers, as per the Disability Standards for Education, sections 3.1 and 2.2 respectively.

The use of captions and audio described video/media content can be considered a reasonable adjustment and affords students access to media on the same basis as their peers. This is an issue of access and equity to education.

Creating goals can be facilitated by using SMART goals, an approach used by many schools. This approach hones in on the needs of students by ensuring that the goals are:

  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Attainable
  • R = Relevant, Rigorous, Realistic, and Results Focused
  • T = Timely and Trackable

Using the SMART framework in this context embeds the need for and use of accessible media for diverse learners in the school community and effects positive change.

Possible issues to consider when planning goals for access to media:

  • Always choosing captioned media (and audio described, if available)
  • Prior to the lesson, teachers previewing  the media to search for words and concepts that need pre-teaching
  • Pre-teaching any new vocab before screening video
  • Turning on captions on all media used in class

For assistance with getting started in the writing of SMART Goals, this transcript may prove useful. The key to ensuring access is an ongoing vigilance and commitment to the process, and the IEP developed with access to media as one of its focuses goes a long way to meeting the needs and protection of the rights of children in our schools.

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