In 2020, Tower Guard members were introduced to Impact Teams, which serve as smaller focus groups within the larger membership. Each team is dedicated to a specific area of service to the RCPD, giving Tower Guard members the opportunity to understand the depth of disability services in a better light. One team that stood out this year in terms of their accomplishments was the Assistive Technologies Impact Team. Laya Silverman, student leader of the group, explained that the main focus of this team was “to educate RCPD students on various technologies, ranging from Kurzweil 300 to OneNote, as well as time management tools. This year, our team created ‘how-to’ documents for these technologies and we held a workshop all about assistive technologies, where we were able to inform students and answer their questions.” Leslie Johnson, faculty/staff leader of the Assistive Technology Impact Team and Assistant Director of Assistive Technology for the RCPD, reflects on the year: “When planning this team, I thought it would be great for students to learn from other students about how they can use technology tools to improve some aspect of being a college student, whether it was taking notes, time management, studying, or doing homework.” Through this, Tower Guard members shared numerous educational resources while forming personal connections with the students they serve.
Laya elaborated on the challenges of the remote learning environment, saying: “with this year being virtual, I think it was more important than ever for students to learn about assistive technologies, which made this the perfect opportunity to start an Assistive Technologies Impact Team!” Since this was the first year that the Assistive Technologies Impact Team has operated, there were concerns with determining exactly what resources would be beneficial to the RCPD community. However, the team conquered the challenges of being new amongst a pandemic, effectively creating resources that would aid students during this virtual school year. Leslie remarks on her Team’s success: “This year, they worked together as a team to create guides and written materials on how to use a variety of assistive technology tools and then put on a workshop that was recorded so other students will have access to view.”
In the future, the team aspires to host more workshops and office hours, establishing a space for RCPD students to ask for technology assistance from Tower Guard members. Leslie explains that her hope for next year is that “[Tower Guard members] will be able to meet with students, maybe offer some in-person workshops, explore new areas of technology tools, or as successful students themselves, share what technology tools they find to be the most helpful.”