Educators need to respond to the curriculum and design activities to meet learning objectives. Some of these include: memory (short-term, working memory, hearing, visual), hand-eye coordination, communication, vocabulary, attention, perception, cause-effect relationships, interpretation, priority, examination of assumptions, language (reading, writing, oral, syntax, semantics and pragmatics), calculations and strategies for the resolution of problems (Fernandez-Lopez, Rodriguez-Fortiz, Rodriguez- Almendros, & Martinez-Segura, 2013, p. 80).
In a class where teachers work to support a student with disabilities, the team needs to decide what are the immediate goals to support the student. Discussion questions for arriving at the goal may include: how teachers are to decide what assistive technology will be useful for the student, how this can be used in enhancing student’s learning, how the incorporation of the device can be useful to the curriculum, what skills are necessary to operate the device. The ТРАСК framework is useful in bringing forward what is involved in technology and pedagogy and helps teachers to consider what is the intent of the lesson: to teach a lesson on the assistive technology itself or how to use the technology as part of their teaching.
Designing the research lesson
Once the team has been established, the teachers decide upon the skill or objective that is to be taught in the lesson, one that “bring the goals to life” (Lewis, 2000). Whether teachers are new or experienced, the collective sharing and discussions serve to address the lesson goals where lessons may be modified or new ones developed. In planning, members begin sharing lesson experiences with the topic. Putting themselves in the shoes of the students, questions are posed that will frame a lesson anticipating students’ responses. Lessons include four parts: steps of the lesson, student activities, teacher responses to anticipated student reactions, and methods of evaluation (Lesson Study Research Group, n.d.).
Continuing with the example on assistive technology—in the case of teaching the technology itself to the student, what is the pedagogical knowledge necessary to best deliver the instruction to facilitate student learning? By contrast, if the objective is to incorporate the technology with content teaching, how can these be best combined to achieve the lesson goals?
Parallel learning for teachers is also present. Where teachers are working with students with diverse needs from different classes, teachers need to understand the diverse range of assistive technology, the design of the student activities e.g. how to simulate a disability while incorporating the use of an assistive technology device and materials to aid student learning. A major part of the assistive technology lesson is also the hands-on experience of the devices. Acquiring the devices for instruction ahead of time is important. Where these are unavailable, exploring what alternative provisions are possible.