Assistive Technology in the Classroom

I was first introduced to Assistive Technology (AT) when I took Dr. Keating’s Communication Disorders class.  The benefits and positive impacts that AT has on students with disabilities are huge.  The article entitled, “Assistive Technology for Kids with Learning Disabilities: An Overview,” elaborates on these benefits and explains how Assistive Technology can be used for all subject areas during the course of the school day, but ultimately serve as a means to decrease learned helplessness and increase independence among these students.  The authors write, “AT can increase a child’s self-reliance and sense of independence. Kids who struggle in school are often overly dependent on parents, siblings, friends and teachers for help with assignments. By using AT, kids can experience success with working independently.”

While I have never seen AT used in the classroom, I am sure it’s a adjustment for the the student who needs the tech, the teacher and the other students in the class.  Dr.  Hauerwas told my 418 class this week about a girl who has a technology “reader” in the classroom.  Basically, all worksheets and tests are magnified by this large machine.  The PC student teacher assigned to that classroom always needed to make sure she was positioned correctly so that the student could not only see her, but also see what was on her own desk.

More specifically in this article, I found the Assistive Technology for math to be interesting.  I had no idea about the talking calculator, which has a built-in speech synthesizer that reads aloud each number, symbol, or operation key a user presses; it also vocalizes the answer to the problem. This auditory feedback can help a student check the accuracy of the keys pressed and verify the answer before it is transferred to a paper.

I hope to explore and learn more about Assistive Technology and become more familiar as to how I can adjust my teaching to help those students who need AT.

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