Digitability and The Norristown Office of Vocational Rehabilition are getting students work-ready for today's tech-driven society!
Digitability is excited to have the opportunity to prepare more students with work-ready skills and increase their employment opportunities through our Pre-employment Transition Services. This summer, in partnership with the Norristown Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), Digitability launched services in five Montgomery County School Districts with great success!
First day in the classroom
Pennsylvania students have been very eager to learn about technology through Digitability’s Pre-employment Transition Services. Each classroom we serve, in collaboration with The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, has a wide range of student needs. The Digitability team was able to identify the many learning and behavioral needs in the classroom by collaborating with school district teachers, and by using resources that ensure that EVERY student can participate, use digital language, and learn internet terminology.
Technology for the workplace
Students love to engage with technology at home and in the classroom. Digitability says, “Technology is to employment as phonics is to reading.” We are connecting students' personal interest in technology to a literacy that will prepare them for the workplace. Digitability is the only program that makes digital literacy explicit and applicable to students’ daily experiences.
Digitability is teaching Pennsylvania students how to use the appropriate language of technology in the classroom. Digitability is also supporting the teachers and classroom support staff to use this language throughout the day to reinforce the concepts and create opportunities for students to apply their knowledge outside of service implementation.
Social and communication skill development
The evidence-based practices used in Digitability, allow our team to effectively communicate with students who had a variety of communication needs and different levels of expressive and receptive language. For example, our team was able to use image exchange cards to represent concepts visually or adapt the level of questioning to a yes or no answer throughout the warm-ups, guided watching, and informal assessment activities. The ensures that all students can access our training.
Behavior and classroom environment
One of the most important things Digitability is helping students develop appropriate workplace behavior. Digitability’s Classroom Social Economy is a token economy behavior system that uses boundaries and reinforcers to prepare students for the real world. Using the Classroom Social Economy, students earned virtual dollars when they exhibited behaviors that promote success in the workplace.
For example, students earned participation dollars for raising their hands and participating during the lesson or giving feedback to their peers. Digitability’s Classroom Social Economy also teaches students proper workplace communication and socialization, and also financial literacy (using money language, counting money, paying bills, purchasing items).
Teachers have expressed their enthusiasm for the impact Digitability’s Classroom Social Economy has had on their students, and the programs ability to engage every student in the classroom.
Throughout the school year, students work through four levels of workplace behavior training. In Level 2, students learn about workplace boundaries and how to self-regulate behaviors that can be problematic in the workplace. Pennsylvania students will also develop self-advocacy skills and a workplace needs inventory.
Collaboration with school administrators and teachers to understand needs of student differentiation
While the Pennsylvania classroom teachers have been more than happy to have Digitability lead their classroom during our service time, we work to collaborate with their team to help us identify students’ interest and needed supports.
Digitability also engages every adult in the classroom to model workplace behavior and to promote a healthy and collaborative learning environment. The teachers loved becoming the 'executives' in the 'company' the program facilitates via Digitability Work-simulations.
Every adult in the classroom (teachers, aides, teacher assistants) can sign up for a role in the simulation including, a Financial Officer (write checks and collect bill payments for wifi, desk rental, etc.), the CEO (identify rewards and makes hiring decisions), Banker (cash Digitability virtual checks and collect payments for rewards), to reflect real world working environment that students can expect to be a part of.
Continuing the journey in the fall.
Based on the success on this summer ESY pilot, Digitability has been requested to continue services in the 2018-2019 school year in all five school districts!
Digitability looks forward to having more opportunities for providing our award-winning, work-ready training to students. We are also working to explore future partnerships with employers to provide work-based learning experiences and strengthen the employment ecosystem for people with disabilities.
We look forward to our continued work with Norristown OVR!
“This experience has increased my confidence in my teaching abilities as well as leadership skills. I have learned a new set of teaching skills and practices that i will bring with me into my own classroom.”
- Devina Harnita