Bridges Assistive Tech Camp
What student (or parent, for that matter) doesn’t dream of visiting outer space? At this year’s Bridges Assistive Tech Summer Camp, facilitated in partnership with the Halton District School Board, students got to do just that. Using assistive technology provided in school to support their learning, campers were challenged with choosing a planet, doing research, and creating a travel brochure for their planet. Although we didn’t really get to travel to Jupiter or Mars, we had just as much fun!
Bridges has been collaborating with Halton District School Board for 5 years to provide March Break and Summer Assistive Tech (AT) Camps for students using equipment provided through the Special Equipment Amount (SEA) funding system. This past summer, we explored educational tech tools at 4 different locations, with 279 campers, 74 of which have returned for multiple years.
Bridges’ instructors and campers worked together through fun, engaging themes to reinforce campers’ understanding of their learning styles, strengths and how to use their AT to support that. Through team collaboration, they increased their confidence and skills in the use of their tools, running on iPads, Chromebooks and laptops, and also developed friendships with students from other schools.
Parents were also invited to engage in tech camp, with an hour parent overview session and access to their children’s progress though the camp website. At the end of camp, family were invited to join us in celebrating the campers’ amazing work.
Technology is ever-changing, and over the years we’ve seen some interesting tech trends. This year over half of campers came with Chromebooks. Campers learned how to use Google Docs, Slides, and Forms, as well as Google Classroom this year. AT included the Read&Write toolbar, WordQ, and Mindomo, along with a number of Google apps and extensions (like Readability, Screencastify, etc.) – that are regularly used to support learning in class.
Parents and campers alike were pleased with the week and were proud of the work accomplished. Here are just a few parent remarks coming out of this year’s camp survey:
“[My child] very much enjoyed the camp, the structure, the new materials and making new friends”
“My daughter is not a huge "talker" but the quality of her presentation was amazing… she will have a better grasp of her technology and how it can help her next year.”
“My youngest son was happy to attend every day and enjoyed learning the technology. He felt proud to share his presentation as well. He struggles with presentations at school and now has a way to record his future presentations and show his research using the technology.”
“My son was eager to go. That means something was working!”
The weeklong, half-day camp sessions always seem to go by in a flash, but the experience provides some students with an introduction to the new learning support tools they’ve received, and others with the added confidence needed to use their technology better. We are always blown away by the awesome work these students produce during their week of tech camp, and we can’t wait to learn and explore with next year’s campers. The countdown is on!
Want to explore campers’ finished projects? Use the following link to visit one of our camp’s websites to see their work: