Assistive Tech. in the Classroom

by Mike Dettman

My history with assistive technology.

I have not personally had much experience with assistive technology. The only experience I have had was I once had a student who was partially deaf and I had to use a microphone and speech amplifier in my classroom. I would have to attach a mic to myself and speak into it which would then broadcast my voice through speakers placed throughout the classroom.

Assistive Technology I Researched:

I spent my time focusing on looking at assistive technology in the field of communications. Since I teach language arts I decided to focus on technology that would assist learners in their abilities to read and write.

The Two Pieces of Technology I Researched

Screen Readers/Speech Recognition Software

I looked at several speech-to-text programs as well as a program called "Word Q" which is a predictive writing program that helps to predict what word the student is trying to type.

Audio Books

I looked at books-on-tape as a means of helping blind students read and also help struggling readers. Books-on-tape seem a much more economical approach since the population of blind students is so small, investing in books in braille seem limited in their use. Audio books can be used for a greater population of students with disabilities.

What Disabilities Does This Technology Help Me Overcome?

Both of these pieces of technology can help blind students in the classroom. The books on tape can help students read, especially since finding a book in Braille is often easier said than done. This will also allow audio tapes to help students who aren't blind, but suffer from learning disabilities. It can help students who are illiterate or new to our language understand text.


The speech recognition software can assist those who are blind in typing a story, taking notes, blogging, or creating a journal. The software can also help those who have fine motor skill problems and often have problems writing or typing for extended periods of time. This software can also help students recognize problems with their own syntax in writing as hearing the words read back to them can often help find problems in their own writing.

Specific Disabilities Addressed:

  • Blindness
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Dyslexia
  • Speech Impairment
  • Illiterate
  • Fine Motor Skill Problems
  • Learning Disabled
  • Language Impairment (ELL)

Conclusion:

In closing I think both pieces of assistive technology I chose would be great additions to my classroom because they have the ability to help a large population of the students in our school. We do not have many experiences with students who are blind or completely deaf or permanently wheel chair bound. What I do experience is tons of students who are behind in their grade level and need assistive technology to help feel comfortable with their on-level peers and help them achieve academic success and hopefully close their gap in learning. These technology components have the ability to help those students who are physically disabled as well as learning disabled and that is why I chose them.

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