A sheetpan is spread with colorful veggies and cut up chicken breasts.

Feature Matching and Sheet Pan Chicken

CIDDL Cizzles with Chef Michelle Patterson

Author: Ashley Grays; info@ciddl.org

In our newest CIDDL Cizzles, Michelle Patterson discusses assistive technology and the importance of feature matching to ensure student success. Michelle has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida in the Department of Exceptional Student Education and previously served as a Technology Resource Specialist as part of a Florida statewide discretionary project to meet the needs of K12 students with disabilities through the implementation of UDL, Assistive Technology, and Accessible Educational Materials.

Avoiding the Gadget Graveyard?

A peek into Michelle’s kitchen cabinets exposed what many may have in their own kitchens, ‘a gadget graveyard’, those kitchen tools accumulate over time, whether from holiday gift giving or impulse shopping.  Michelle discusses how the same issue occurs in classrooms for students with assistive technology. To keep tools from becoming ‘shelfware’, it is critical to ensure there is a match between the user and the features of the tool. Michelle found the Ninja Foodi oven best fit her kitchen tasks with its Air Roast setting, choice of pans, and small size. With the right tool, Michelle whipped up a quick and easy sheet pan dinner of chickpeas, brussel sprouts, and butternut squash.

Feature Matching

To help pre-service and in-service teachers connect students with the right tools for their classroom tasks, Michelle made the following recommendations:

  • Use Zabala’s (2022) SETT framework to guide AT decision-making.  Begin with the student’s strengths and needs, and then look at the environment where the student will be using the tools.  Michelle’s Florida kitchen heats up quickly, so the smaller oven made a better fit.  For students, there might already be technology available in the classroom that can meet their needs. The team should consider the task next, whether it's cooking a fast meal with easy clean-up, reading a grade-level text, or writing science lab discoveries. Its critical teams consider those three components first so they can determine the necessary features in potential tools
  • Remember every tool has its own set of features that might align with the student's needs or could potentially make the task more difficult.  Consider your own toolbox at home.  If your kitchen sink starts to leak, you would not take out the hammer.  The wrong tool can be just as frustrating as no tool.  Knowing the wrench is the right tool is all about understanding its features. 
  • Be sure to get the student’s input throughout the entire process.  Just as you know what works for you in your kitchen, students have valuable input on what works for them in their classroom. Remember the sweater someone gave you for your birthday that was the wrong color; talk to the person who is going to be using the tool and get their honest feedback. 

To make smart AT decisions using Feature Matching, check out the Student Inventory for Technology Supports (SIFTS), a web-based survey tool to help school-based teams match a student’s strengths and needs to specific AT features during the AT assessment process.  Those interested in learning more might check out this Youtube playlist on Feature Matching compiled by Kelly Fonner, Assistive Technology consultant.

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Watch Michelle’s full CIDDL Cizzles and learn more about feature matching for Assistive Technology success. The competition isn’t over yet! After you finish watching, you can be a judge of the Cizzle by rating the chef in each area: connection, preparation, and aesthetics, using the CIDDL Cizzle Rating System at the bottom of the page. Go to the CIDDL Events webpage to learn about other chefs and their technology and pick up a few new recipes. Check out the CIDDL website for more resources related to the innovative uses of technology in special education and related services personnel preparation programs.