Educational Assistive Technology

Here is a news article that is about something that I has always been saying (along with a number of others), the use of assistive technology not only helps those persons with disabilities, it can help just about anyone. The difference is usually the difference in making something possible and easier. But in other ways, the assistive technologies may be improving learning my adapting the instructional materials for a learning style or situation. eBooks can be so much more accommodating that printed text, with their ability to adjust font size and use text-to-speech as two examples. For those of us who need glasses to read, the font size adjustment is certainly a big help. But also research has reported that increasing the font size a couple of times also decreases reading errors for students (along with making the text appear easier to read [less intimidating] it actually is easier). So too with text-to-speech, students can listen while they read, thereby reading in multi-modalities, or they could just listen (auditory learner). If you haven't tried some of the assistive ebook technologies, I suggest that you give them a try and give yourself some practice time to see what they can do and which will work for you. Check your settings to see what you can do. And remember it takes practice to usually get used to a different format.


How some assistive technology may benefit all students
Advances in assistive technology that help customize learning for students with disabilities may also improve education for other students as well, some experts say. For example, text readers used for some students with disabilities may also benefit students who are better auditory learners, one expert suggests. To maximize benefits, experts say more professional development for teachers is needed and that input from multiple educators is needed when buying and implementing new technology. Education Week (premium article access compliments of EdWeek.org) (3/17)

Comments

  1. I also support the concept of combining text and audio. A few years ago I made podcasts of my written lecture notes for my OL courses. Unfortunately, when we migrated to our current LMS could not upload the podcasts. Furthermore, the internal links failed. I also think that when we use audio technologies, it's important for the person generating the content to be able to easily accommodate disabled users. Right now, as far as I know, if I wanted to respond to student writing in both text and audio, I would have to launch two separate, non-coordinated software programs. Too much trouble to do for all the students we teach at my college!

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