Technology

A new assistive technology and information technology (AT/IT) service for colleges

Technology support

Natspec has launched a new assistive technology and information technology (AT/IT) project – TechAbility.

TechAbility aims to improve outcomes for students with SEND in mainstream and specialist colleges, and has been launched in partnership with Jisc, the UK higher education, further education and skills sectors’ organisation for digital services and solutions.

The service is available to all providers across the FE sector and aims to improve both IT systems and Assistive Technology to enable access to learning for all students with SEND.

It was launched at five regional events in March and Jisc’s Digifest exhibition at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. All the events were a great success, with TechAbility attracting much interest from delegates.

At Digifest, a large exhibition aimed at senior leaders from FE, HE, Adult Community Learning and Work Related Learning providers, the Natspec  stand was used to showcase some of the excellent use of Assistive Technology. Special thanks to Beaumont College, Derwen College, Hereward College, National Star College and St John’s College for their excellent interactive contributions.

Digifest report

Read an article by Ash, a student at Derwen, who attended Digifest to demonstrate their jam labelling equipment


Ash’s story in Karten Newsletter

The launch events provided us with a great deal of feedback about the priorities for TechAbility. This includes:

  •  SMT buy in and engagement with the digital agenda is crucial; 
  • The need for communication and sharing: ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’;
  • AT Equipment service – maintenance, demonstration, loan, contextual application and benefits of same technology for different needs;
  • More staff training is needed – providing confidence to adapt to context, troubleshoot, AT formal training offer.

The next steps for TechAbility are to respond to these requests – we will be designing a sustainable service, focussing initially on communication at senior management level and sharing resources.

On 13 June, we will hold a national “ATmeet” networking event, to support sharing of practice. More info to follow shortly – look out for details on the events page.

Identify your needs

You can identify your organisation’s technology needs, using a short on-line form


Online form
Email us: TechAbility@natspec.org.uk  Follow us on Twitter: @Tech_Ability1

Technology Advisory Group


Natspec’s Technology Advisory Group meets three times per year and is responsible for driving improvement and sharing good practice across the sector. Full member colleges can join the meetings or join the virtual network group, via Slack. To join the virtual chat on all things technology related, please contact Rita Buckley.

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