Assistive Technology

Everyone needs assistance at a certain point in their time. I, as an educator, is my job to assist my students in every way I can. This week Daniel, Janeen, Reid, and Darcy had an outstanding presentation on assistive technology. Their presentation every detail were so well explained; the style of their presentation was really great. They mentioned using SETT (student, environment, tasks, and tools) for integrating different types of assistive technology in the classroom that is specific for each student. Whether a student has some sort of difficulty or not, they have the right to gain the same amount of knowledge. The school I taught for more than five years provides inclusive education. So, I had the chance to meet with some students who need special tools. According to Cranner (2020), “Inclusion is not easy to define. Conceptions tend to incorporate analysis of individual actions alongside structural framing. This emphasises the potential failures within society that impede opportunities for inclusion rather than emphasising individual differences. Inclusion, therefore, places the need for change onto society rather than individuals in order to contest the oppression that is potentially created and sustained by discriminatory social markers such as ableism, ageism, class, heterosexism, racism and sexism”.

Unfortunately, not all schools are well equipped for special needs students. I got to know a lot of new technology tools that were discussed in the presentation. I really wish that maybe not all but at least some were used in my school would be great. Young & MacCormick (2021) stated that, “assistive technology refers to the devices and services that are used to increase, maintain, or improve the capabilities of a student with a disability”. At the moment, we are using so far a smart board, document scanner, headphones, tablet, laptops, mobile devices and projector to assist the Inclusive Education students and accommodate all learners. However, this is not enough as special students need more attention and more technology to help them.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an excellent example of a growth mindset instead of deficit thinking. The term “universal design” was coined by architect and designer Ron Mace at the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University (Burgstahler, 2008; Center for Applied Special Technology, 2011b). It is a combination of an excellent approach to engage students and engage them in critical thinking.

Finally, when new technology tools are introduced, I have acknowledged that the students try to learn and explore with more passion. Though it is not possible to introduce new tech day-to-day, it is possible to have more tech tools to make learning easy and exciting and, last but not least, for ALL.

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Assistive Technology
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8 thoughts on “Assistive Technology

  1. I too agree that the group did a great job presenting. It was a really unique way to use breakout rooms. I also agree that we may not be able to introduce new technology each and every day, but the goal is to incorporate assistive technologies regularly to make learning more accessible and equitable for all. I do think that assistive technology benefits everyone and not just students with exceptionalities or challenges. Congratulations on finishing your first course here in Regina! Good luck with your degree!

  2. Thank you, Kelly, for all the wishes. I hope everything goes well with you too. I also hope that assistive technology makes a student’s life easy and that too, not just those who are facing some challenges but also all sorts of students.

  3. I like what you say about students learning and exploring with more passion when AT is involved. Sometimes it’s the novelty of the new tech, which I see in my classes sometimes, but other times it’s just that the student now has what they need to be more successful in their learning, and that can be an incredible feeling. I wouldn’t be too worried about introducing new tools all of the time to keep that excitement and novelty factor– as long as students know some of the tools that are available, they have a better idea as to what might benefit them. I introduce additional AT in consultation with our student support team or as the need arises. As we saw in this class, trying out absolutely anything and everything tech can be overwhelming for teachers and students alike.

  4. Thank you, Michael, for sharing your thoughts. You said you wouldn’t be worried to introduce new tools in the class. On the other hand, in my case, I will explore that tool first even before presenting that in the class, to be honest with you. But, it is exciting to introduce a new tool in the class, to know more features.

  5. I agree with you, Fahmida, that students do tend to engage more when using technology. Perhaps it is the day and age that we live in – their typical daily interactions occur via some sort of device, so I suppose it makes sense that we try to engage them in similar ways. I do feel pressure though, then, to make sure the tech I am choosing to use is actually appropriate for the learning outcome, and will meet the needs of all students.

  6. Great post Fahmida that shows your personal experience, asks great questions and also exhibits thoughtful connections to the readings. Your point about conceptions potentially impeding inclusion is a consistent theme I have found in this course- who is privileged and therefore who is disadvantaged? That question is a major take away from this course and your blog reiterates that. Hope you have a great summer!

    1. Thank you, Jacqueline. I am trying to relate everything to my experiences. I have been introduced to many new technology in this course, and I wish I could have known this earlier would greatly benefit my students.

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