Beaumont College

Technology

a student using an interactive whiteboard

Beaumont College is a national centre of excellence for Assistive Technology practice and development. The Beaumont College Technology Team regularly works with specialist assistive technology providers, mainstream IT and technology companies, other colleges and sector organisations to improve assistive technology equipment, software and practice.

The Technology Service

Beaumont College is a national centre of excellence for Assistive Technology practice and development. Technology plays an integral role in supporting and enabling the skill development and learning of our students. Technology is a vital tool without which access to the curriculum would be difficult or impossible for many students. We have an outstanding range of assistive technology equipment and software which along with a motivated and highly trained team of Technicians and Assistive Technologists enables students to access the curriculum through innovatively designed person centred technology solutions. All students at the College are assigned a named assistive technologist who is responsible for all IT access assessments and any risk assessments that are associated with the use of the internet, including access to social media sites and services.

The technology department works closely with the communication, therapy and education teams to ensure that students who use Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices can access the College IT and other technology. Assistive Technology is a major strength of the College and is used to good effect within the curriculum through the embedding of assistive technologists into teaching sessions and in order to promote independence within independent living contexts.

Technology resources

A college wide wired and wireless network robust infrastructure is in place to support teaching and learning. The College provides a wide range of technology resources that enable students to take an active role in session based activities. Students make use of accessible computers, interactive white boards, access switches, alternative pointing devices and other access support to enhance their learning programme. Students have access to a wide range of equipment to support participation in the college and the wider community; accessible digital cameras, camcorders and voice recorders are available along with networked apple mac machines that are used to produce digital images, allow for film editing and music technology.

To support communication, accessible computers are used to provide voice output communication and accessible computing; in addition environmental control systems are installed in many living areas, the controls are accessible via a variety of access methods according to student needs. The technology service also provides specialist software accessible from all education computers; this includes Boardmaker to support the use of symbols, The Grid 2, Read and Write Gold, Widget Communicate series and Clicker. All of which support students in their learning.

The Technology team

The team support an IT Helpdesk where students can access members of the technology staff to help them resolve any IT or special access issues they may have. Our helpdesk technicians have media specialisms to support the use of creative arts technology in music, performance, dance etc. The technology department has ‘Assistive Technologists’ dedicated to making IT more accessible for students. This includes utilisation of wheelchair mounted computers and developing custom access solutions in collaboration with students and colleagues from the trans-disciplinary team. The team also deliver a number of web based products such as the e-portfolio system and student blog.