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Students using PAL technology in the Curry College Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL) smile for a photo

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Each incoming PAL student will have an opportunity to purchase an iPad, or place a deposit on one to use, as part of their PAL programming. Along with this invaluable resource, the PAL Assistive Technology (AT) Center offers PAL students a variety of technology tools that have been shown to benefit students with learning differences. These technologies and services including dictation and reading software; smartpens; audiobook readers; and more.\

PAL Instructional and Assistive Technology Tools

Our collection is constantly evolving thanks to the awarding of federal funds to support the excellent work PAL has done in providing model assistance to our students in the area of technology. Our AT Center also provides training sessions to assist students in the use of these tools.

In-Semester Hours (summer hours vary):

PAL Assistive Technology (AT) Center
Mon. - Fri. 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Proctoring hours for students with approved exam accommodations
All exam requests must be submitted in advance using our online system.
Mon. - Thurs. 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Fri. 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
By appointment Mon. - Thurs. until 7:00 p.m.

PAL Computer Lab
Mon. - Thurs. 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Fri. 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Learning Lab (Levin Library)
Mon. - Thur. 8:00 a.m. to midnight
Fri. - 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Sat. - 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sun. - 12:00 p.m. to midnight

Student AT Training Times
By appointment

The Technology

Every incoming PAL student will have the opportunity to purchase or borrow an iPad as part of their PAL programming. The iPAL tablet initiative provides a uniform and progressive platform for adaptive technology and curricular innovation. Students receive training on adaptive technology features and apps, use their tablets in coursework with their PAL professor, and design collaborative digital learning spaces. Through customizable, portable, and accessible assistive technology and educational apps, we provide these tools to guide students to access their course content and best work with their strengths and challenges.

The iPAL Mini Course

Mobile learning can be done on any mobile platform, using seemingly endless software applications. We have chosen the iPad platform for a variety of reasons, including the majority of students at Curry were already using iOS systems for mobile learning. When Steve Jobs introduced the operating system, the “i” in iOS could stand for internet, individual, instruct, inform, and inspire. The “i” in iPAL
stands for those same things, giving you a model for accessing and transforming your own learning on the go, with the freedom to move, customize, and learn more than we ever dreamed we could.

You will see that through our iPAL learning outcomes, that we are supporting you to become an empowered learner with technology. We have designed our pedagogical model by departing from the typical higher education model- our students co-own our curriculum with our professors. Our professors are not teaching students “how to do something” or even specific content, rather, we are working together with you to implement PAL’s metacognitive approach- we are together “learning how to learn”- with technology. We will share the ownership for this learning and teaching- we will leap frog each other as we share discoveries and understandings. We will be hard at work each day, constructing our own knowledge as technology changes beneath our fingertips.

iPAL Learning Outcomes

  1. LIFE-LONG LEARNING - Use the iPad as a model for learning to learn through current technology.
  2. TECHNOLOGICAL FLUENCY - Knowing how to use technological tools and constructs products of meaning with those tools (MIT Media Lab, 2016).
  3. ABILITY TO SHIFT - Ability to identify the right tool for the task, switching flexibly and appropriately between applications and
  4. MANEUVER TECHNICAL ISSUES - Experience struggle and critically maneuver through technical issues.
  • Extended time on exams
  • Ability to take exam in a reduced distraction environment
  • Ability to use word processing software for tests for students whose essay writing is improved with the use of spell check and grammar check
  • Kurzweil 3000 for tests for students who need to listen to exams read aloud
  • Students may be approved for additional exam accommodations, e.g., use of Dragon Naturally Speaking software for tests

All current and former PAL students are able to take advantage of exam accommodations throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. Students are encouraged to discuss with their professors what tests they may need to take with accommodations in the PAL AT Center.  A test session at the AT Center is easily requested by students using a simple sign-up in advance. In the AT Center, students are able to take their exams in a reduced distraction environment where Kurzweil readers and use word processing programs are available.  Normally, students are allowed to sit for tests and exams for a period not to exceed twice the length of the test. For example: if a student has a test in a class that meets for 75 minutes, then the extended time for the test would normally be 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis.

PAL students are able to request digital textbooks through our alternative text services. Students may also receive assistance in registering for individual memberships in Bookshare - a free program for students with a qualifying disability. PAL instructors or the Assistive Technology Center can assist the preparation and completion of the Bookshare membership form. Students may also request training sessions concerning any facet of our alternative text services.

Alternative texts provide learners the opportunity to grasp course content through different sources of media. At PAL we integrate our accommodations to fit each student, thus creating an intellectually ergonomic learning environment.

PLEASE NOTE: Since operating systems and personal configurations vary, it is not possible to provide extensive individualized support to each student. For books not available in Bookshare or other publishers, PAL can direct students to sources of materials but we can provide only limited technical assistance due to the increasing variety of audiobook providers, player software, and devices. For students needing in depth technical assistance, we suggest contacting technical support for the computer or for the specific software.

PAL has Kurzweil 3000 firefly installed on all workstations. Kurzweil 3000 is software that reads text out loud, providing audio support for college reading materials. Kurzweil 3000 firefly allows for text to be either scanned from hard copy or "virtually scanned" from PDF. The program will also read many web pages. Features include highlight text as the material is read, dictionary look up of unfamiliar words, ability to control the reader's voice type and speed, and saving text as an audio file (MP3 or WAV). Training is available by appointment. Many students find that a brief introductory session is all that is required before successfully using this important tool.

Training is also available on use of Dragon software that allows students to speak their essays to a computer. Once trained on the use of the software, students can sign up to use the program during exams or on papers. This program has been a very useful tool for students who have difficulty expressing themselves in writing, but are able to speak their responses very easily. Students should plan several training sessions to optimize the program's response to individual speaking style.

Livescribe Smartpens are available for a loan period each semester. Students can take handwritten notes simultaneously with audio recordings. This multimedia tool allows notes to be synced and accessed via cloud, desktop, or iPad. Students can capture, manage, and study lecture content effectively. There are many ways to use audio notes in educational settings. Training and tech support is included and encouraged.

Matt Mariani, a senior software development major, presents to the NorthEast Regional Computing Program

PAL Student Tutors Present on Learning How to Learn Through Technology

“Metacognition is learning about your learning and what type of learner you are,” said Matt Mariani, a senior software development major, during a webinar where he presented with fellow student Aviva Hollander, a senior sociology major, and Dr. Laura Vanderberg, director and professor in Curry’s Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL). The three gave an invited presentation to the NorthEast Regional Computing Program, a non-profit consortium serving higher education library and IT professionals.

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We're excited you're considering our internationally recognized Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL) and look forward to helping you reach your career goals.