Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tech Help

Technology is not JUST for fun. Nor is it only intended to connect us through networks, engage us with multimedia and great visuals or indulge us with shortcuts that are efficient and productive. Now, don’t get me wrong, (or get it twisted) - those things are pretty awesome. But, I want you to know that technology can also truly serve up some life-changing moments.

Equality. We all know what it is… everybody should have the same things and access. Right? Right! How does that apply to technology in education? Equality is key, but when dealing with student disabilities, be sure your chosen technology is the right fit.

According to the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-407), “an assistive technology means any item, piece of equipment, or product/system, whether acquired commercially, off-the-shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”

What can assistive technology hardware or software look like in the classroom?

- Talking/Large Print Web Browsers
- Audio Books
- Magnification Hardware (or Software for your Desktop)
- Speech-to-Text software
- Text-to-Speech software
- Talking Calculators
- Computer-Assisted Captioning
- Alternative Keyboards
- Amplification Systems
- Page Turners
- Touch Screens
- Electronic Pointing Devices
- Refreshable Braille displays
- Light Signal Alerts
- On-Screen Keyboards (or Keyboards that have Speech Capabilities)

… This list could literally go on and on because it is so adaptive and dependent upon the students’ particular disability.

If you have any students that can benefit from some type of assistive technology within your classroom, please let us know. We are happy to come up with customized solutions on how to best fit the needs of your students using technology! Our district also has an EC department that can work hand-in-hand with us in determining your students’ particular needs. The incorporation of technology within your classroom should equal success for ALL of your students.

Want to do more research on your own? Check out these websites:

The Alliance for Technology Access

Discovery Education: Special Education Resources

Lesson 25 Assistive Technology (Look at what other teachers are doing!)

Introduction to Assistive Technology

Education World: Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology Website Directory

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