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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

How has Assistive Technology changed and how has it impacted students?

How has Assistive Technology changed and how has it impacted students?

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10 Replies 492 Views
Technology has been changing at an increasingly rapid pace, and that includes the assistive technology our students need and use. Things change so fast it is sometimes hard for us to keep up. Please share your stories about the technology you and your students use. Tell us about your new discoveries, tried-and-true devices, and any we should stay away from. Note: This post will be updated with any tech or resources mentioned in the comments. Mentioned as of 4/8/2014: AudioNote Autismate COMIT Edutopia Assistive Technology: Resource Roundup iPad accessibility features Letter Reflex My Routine Proloquo2Go TechMatrix

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Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

My school is currently 1:1 with iPads, and we love the device in large part because it has many assistive technology features built in to it for people with vision and reading difficulties, hearing difficulties, and physical/motor issues.

In order to access these features, you should go to the Settings App, then click on the General tab. Find the Accessibility button and you can turn features on and off as need be.

Becky Fisher's picture
Becky Fisher
Education Consultant

I recently got an email from a teacher friend who found that technology helped her get through to a student she was having trouble reaching. He has special needs, though she did not specify, and once she gave him an iPad, she described his reaction as "a complete 180". He sat quietly, attentively, listening and learning along with the app.

She then asked me for recommendations of good apps to use with students who have various types of special needs, as she said she has a few students who would benefit from this type of learning. I really did not know what to tell her because I have not seen this specific type of interaction. When I left the classroom, iPads were not an everyday item in schools (not that they are, but they're much more prevalent).

I would love some good recommendations to share with her. Anyone know of great apps that engage students with various types of special needs? Thanks!

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

My kids both have lousy handwriting. Using ipads in school has been great- using audionote to record lectures and taking outline notes; organization apps and calendars to keep them on task, flash card apps for reinforcement of vocab; using google docs to type and submit homework- there's no end to it- it's helped both of my kids - both have ADD, one also has an expressive language issue- succeed much more so within the regular classroom.

Brittany Hansberry's picture

I just recently completed a project on different Apps that could be useful in the classroom. I found a really interesting on for students with Autism called Autismate. This App provides the students with many resources to help them in their everyday life. It has a communication system, a visual schedule and a timer. I especially like the GPS feature. It allows the iPad to recognize where the student is and provide them with the necessary choices. My Routine is another useful app. This one allows the students to check off what they have completed and see that visual. My favorite aspect is that it allows teachers and parents to insert verbal praise for when something is completed. I have read many success stories with these two apps!

Ashley Cronin's picture
Ashley Cronin
Digital Resource Curator at Edutopia
Staff
One resource that might be useful: TechMatrix, which was funded through a grant by the U.S. Department of Education and is maintained by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), is a searchable database of over 400 assistive and educational technology tools and resources. I haven't had time to do an extensive review of the products in their database, but I like that you can search the products by content area, grade level, IDEA disability category, and the type of instructional support.
Aly Koplin's picture
Aly Koplin
Pre-service teacher at Elizabethtown College.

I've a variety of technologies used in and out of the classroom. Lately, iPads are extremely popular and have amazing apps that improve communication, organization, and even social skills. Apps such as Pro-Lo-Quo- Togo are great for communication and provide child the foundation for their language.

I've also seen choice buttons used, as well as PECS communication systems. So while there has been a lot of technology advancement, not everyone uses the most up-to-date and we must remember to educate ourselves about all the different levels of technology and what is used in those categories.

Ashley Cronin's picture
Ashley Cronin
Digital Resource Curator at Edutopia
Staff

Edutopia recently compiled a list of online resources for parents and educators with information about assistive technology and accessible instructional materials. VideoAmy's recent Five-Minute Film Festival: The Power of Assistive Technology is also worth checking out.

nocham ganz's picture

I was always wondering how come the cognitive assessments just recently started to transfer over to a computer medium and also just as a delivery device meaning the test is the same just computer delivered
Until I came across a computer optimized cognitive, social, and distractibility test all I can say I was very impressed its called the COMIT by Assessment Technologies

Drew Sedrel's picture

Letter reflex for a few minutes twice daily helps with letter reversal dyslexia. I agree with the cursive suggestion as well.

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