Bridges Professional Development

 

 

Any Bridges session/workshops I have been to have been excellent. Trainers and information have always been interesting and very worthwhile.

-Teacher, TDSB

 

Learn with Bridges: whether it is for an adult, student, child, or entire community, Bridges has the expertise to bring your technology goals into measurable realities.

Learning with Bridges is: 

  • Rich in strategies that address clear and relevant objectives ready for immediate implementation.
  • Engaging hands-on experiences with plenty of practice.
  • A balance between lecture, guided practice and individualized attention.
  • For different learners at different ability levels, each supported in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.
  • Realistic, engaging users to consider the benefits and limitations of a tool.

 

Professional Learning Packages 

Bridges takes deep research based knowledge of good teaching, applies it to technology, and delivers professional learning that is engaging, relevant and doable in your classrooms.

Our professional learning packages build on research that supports multiple learning opportunities delivered in a variety of ways to meet the needs of different learning styles.

Choose between Blended Learning and Remote Learning packages.

Both packages include:

  • Targeted webinars to expand on foundation skills
  • Online self-directed learning through educATe, Bridges' online learning portal, to reinforce knowledge and skills.

Select a training package or contact us to discuss a customized offering to suit your needs. 

Learn more about Professional Learning Packages.

 

 

Learn more about Clicker 6 Training Packages

Clicker 6 Professional Learning Packages 

 

Professional Learning for High Instructional Needs 

Bridges is the unchallenged leader in Canada in working with individuals with complex physical access and cognitive challenges.

Over two decades ago we began training in schools on the first speech output (SDPro), alternative access (Discover, Intellikeys) and symbol (Boardmaker, Writing with Symbols) and curriculum adaptation (IntelliTalk, Clicker, Classroom Suite) softwares.

More recently, we pioneered the use of interactive white boards, such as SMART™ Boards, as an access and inclusion tool for students with profound challenges.

With experts with years of clinical and educational experience on hand, we can help with mounting, positioning and software customization and other consulting.

Contact us for a quote. 

Reading Writing Assistive Technology  

Bridges was the first company to bring to schools word prediction, talking word processors and text to speech software to Canada.

We have trained in English and French in every province on:

  • Co:Writer, Write:OutLoud,
  • Kurzweil 3000,
  • Word Q/Speak Q,
  • Read Write Gold,
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking,
  • Interactive White Boards
  • As well as tools for the visually impaired such as ZoomText, Kurzweil 1000 and others.

AT success plans can include a train-the-trainer model, teacher training, co-teaching and direct student coaching.  

Our instructors train individual students, and with CAST-certified UDL instructors on staff, we also train teachers on using software for whole class instruction.

Contact us for a quote. 

School Implementation

Assistive and Educational Technology Training

Choose your goals: 

  • System-wide professional development to build capacity in your organization
  • Empowering your assistive technology users to get the most out of school, work and daily life
  • Assistive Technology support and integration in a new eco-system -- iPads, Chromebooks or Google Apps for Education (GAFE)
  • Literacy and math curriculum for high and complex needs students.  
  • Activating assistive technology for whole class teaching
  • Teaching in a Universal Design for Learning environment

Contact Bridges for a free Phase One Consultation to start down the path of creating a learning plan that builds capacity and fulfils goals.

Bridges Learning Plans Are: 

Expert-Built: 

We bring together professionals with front line experience from:

  • Education (including recently retired administrators as well as teachers and para-educators)
  • Speech Language Pathology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Research
  • Information Technology

Our team regularly presents at conferences nationally and internationally. Recent examples have included:

  • ISAAC (Barcelona, Spain)
  • CSUN (San Diego, CA)
  • Closing the Gap (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Dozens of conferences across Canada.

Classroom-Centred:

We work towards teachers considering computers as just another tool in a toolbox -- no more intimidating than a pencil or a pair of scissors. We use relevant examples, tackle existing challenges, and work within the curricula.

Inclusive:

Bridges is recognized as an innovator in effective implementation of technology for students of all abilities. We believe scaffolding curricula for all learners not only creates a social good, but is also good teaching.

Innovative:

Bridges works directly with researchers, consultants, and manufacturers in North America, Britain, and Europe. We base what we teach and how we teach it on solid research and proven best practice. We have been at the forefront in implementing Universal Design for Learning, the Participation Model, and Differentiated Instruction in both official languages across Canada.

Multi-Modal

Research supports a training approach that mixes multiple learning opportunities delivered through ways for all your learning styles. With Bridges, you can build a flexible and diverse plan.

  • Large Group: Hands-on labs for up to 25 participants. Themes are entirely customizable to an organization's needs.
  • Small Group: Students, educators, and students and educators, learning together in the school. Fostering informal support networks among peers between students and between teachers.
  • Coaching: One-to-one coaching for students and/or teachers in their classroom. technology is applied to the specific needs of that classroom or student.
  • Co-Teaching: Applying technology in the classroom side by side with the teacher.
  • Web Courses: Learn online in small or large groups. An excellent option for smaller or remote or organizations, web courses have also been embraced by well resourced districts because of the convenience and built-in accountability.
  • educATe: Teach, learn, connect and keep your assistive technology working. Deliver on demand access to the resources your team needs to get the most out of their tools and new knowledge. Adapted curriculum, ready made activities, lesson ideas, tips and tricks, how-to videos, webinars and webcourses, professional learning communities and so much more – it’s all at educATe.

 

Assistive Technology Kids Camps 

Our AT Kids Camps build self-esteem, empowerment and solidify technology skills during the summer or spring break. Not to mention find some new friends.

School districts contract Bridges to deliver AT camps programs for school boards looking to offer free technology training to their students with AT equipment, apps and software: laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, and/or Live Scribe pens.

These week-long camps are hosted in classrooms across the school board, and are facilitated by qualified Bridges instructors.
Bridges has ready-made tools and processes proven over many years with servicing hundreds of campers for:

  • Publicity/messaging to the school community
  • Organizing and planning
  • Registration
  • Parent guidance and follow-up

We’ve even arranged guest speakers and other special days.
Meeting with your school leaders we’ll agree on a theme for that year’s camps. Some of our past theme’s have included:

  • Superheroes
  • Pan-Am, Parapan games
  • Space Exploration


Kids work together in small groups on projects that take them from concept mapping, to research, to presentation.

Being the one kid with AT in the classroom can be hard. Kids get self-conscious no matter how new or cutting edge the technology is.  These realities can create whole new barriers to success.  

The Bridges’ AT Kids Camps give students who need to use AT a chance to connect in a fun environment. Not only do they learn more about technology but they learn more about each other, make friends and discover what’s possible.

Contact us if your school board would be interested in hosting an Assistive Technology Summer Camp

 

Bridges AT kids camp

 

Qualifications

Uniquely Qualified Instructors

The Bridges team is recognized as experts in assistive and educational technology both nationally and internationally.
All Bridges instructors have undergone intensive professional development with Bridges in addition to their professional experience/background, in the areas of:

  • Universal Design for Learning 
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Augmentative Communication 
  • Alternate Access 
  • Adult Learning Styles
  • Specific technologies (Kurzweil 3000, SMART Technologies, Word Q etc.)
  • Google Apps for Education
  • MS Office in education
  • iPads for special education
  • Instructional Practice using AT


Bridges Instructors have:

  • Thousands of hours of direct teaching experience.
  • Partnered with technology developers on product development (Equals, Communicate: SymWriter, Widgit Online and Classroom Suite, IntelliKeys, and Boardmaker among others).
  • Led initiatives such as Smart Inclusion and Environmental Communication Teaching
  • Annually attended manufacturer professional development at international conferences such as CSUN (California State University at North Ridge), Closing the Gap or ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association) or with the manufacturers themselves at their dealer meetings and training institutes.
  • Presented locally, nationally and internationally including:
  • Closing the Gap, Minneapolis 
  • Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference, Orlando 
  • Council for Exception Children, Ontario and Manitoba
  • California State University National AT Conference, Los Angeles and San Diago
  • ISAAC, Barcelona, Spain
  • Alberta Teachers Conference
  • Virtual School Society Conference B.C.
  • TechItUp B.C. 
  • Manitoba Teachers Conferences
  • …and more.

The Bridges team has had the opportunity to partner and train with some of the top experts in the field, including: 
  • Dr. Karen Erickson; Director of the Centre for Literacy and Disabilities Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, renowned expert in literacy learning in children and adults with significant disabilities.
  • Dr. David Koppenhaver; Professor in the Department of Reading Education and Special Education at Appalachian State University, renowned expert in literacy learning in children and adults with significant disabilities.
  • Kelly Fonner; expert AT professional, Environmental Communication Teaching trainer.