Skip to main content

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!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Ebooks as Textbooks - Part 2 - Highlighting

Highlighting can be a very effective tool in reading and learning no matter the kind of text being read: from novels to textbooks.

Most textbooks or other forms of information text will usually used text features along with graphics to help organize information presented in the text.  These elements are done to help focus attention on important or key concepts and provide additional information. The text organization itself can include structural elements such as heading, subheading, index, glossary, paragraph spacing, bulleted or numbered lists, sidebars or side boxes, italics, underlines or bold for words or even sections. Graphic content can include the use of symbols, colors, illustrations, pictures, diagrams, charts, and graphs.
The act of highlighting is less time consuming and much easier than note-taking (to be discussed in an upcoming posting). To be effective in highlighting it should be a kind of metacognitive approach of sifting or filtering to identify the important content…

Google Maps

An exciting time today, as I was riding my bike to work, I saw the Google Maps Car driving by. You may be wondering what the Google Maps car has to do with ebooks, but often books have maps and Google Books has lots of books with Google Maps developed from extracting the locations from the text. This kind of mapping got me so excited that myself and Jerome Burg wrote a book on using digital mapping with books. But the car reminded me that these maps are out there just waiting for you to start using them. For example if you go to Google Books, and you are reading Vern's Around the World in 80 Days, look in the About this Book section, and then scroll down to see if the book has a Places mentioned in this book... component.

In one class I copied the map from Google Books and then we put it on the wall, so that as we read the book, we tracked where we were in the story on the wall map. One warning though, for some reason the books with maps in Google Books seems to randomly change fr…

Ebooks as Textbooks Part 6 - Taking Note

The process of taking notes, makes reading that much more of an active process and will aid in comprehension and retention. The addition of your own personal notes are usually easier to understand and remember than textbook material. As a student reads the textbook, he or she may not remember all of that they read when they have finished - this is especially true of very dense texts. But, if a student reads the information and also writes down notes about what he or she is reading at the same time, then that extra step reinforces that information and improves retention. So one of the best ways to retain information you are reading it is to take notes while you are actually reading it, for print books these notes were usually written in the margins of the text and so were called margin notes. 

The taking of margin notes is a strategy that focuses your attention on important information from the textbook, novels, or articles that you are reading. Because it involves tagging key words or …