Assistive Technology

By Ashley Cooper

My experience with assistive technology

Though I have not seen a student use assistive technology, I do have a very memorable experience from a college SPED course I took. A teacher came to speak to us, and he was in a wheelchair and was blind. I was shocked that he could be a teacher since he could not see, but he used voice recognition software during class to help him communicate if he couldn't see to write something. He used a tablet every day, and he had many Braille tools. He only came to one class, but I wish he would have come more so we could explore his tools more. His classroom was wheelchair accessible as well. I remember this speaker because he made me realize how much I can do as a teacher without disabilities since he could do so much as a blind and handicapped teacher. He was definitely a motivation to me!

Screen readers

Screen readers are a type of Commication Assitive Technology. These can help blind students or even students who struggle with reading, such as students with dyslexia. The text on the computer can be read aloud for the students, which would enable blind students to be able to participate on a computer rather than needing a Braille book. Students who are normally unable to complete computer assignments because of visual impairments could feel included with the rest of the class because they could still follow directions on their own by listening to the computer. This website offers multiple websites to explore screen readers, and I found them to be extremely fun to use!

Screen magnifiers

I use screen magnifiers often on my computer and iPad to zoom in on text or pictures, but I take for granted that some students need a magnifier to even participate. Thanks to screen magnifiers, many students with visual impairments can take part in class activities using technology. Cursor enlargement and zoom are some examples or built in assistive technologies available on many devices, and special screen magnifiers can be purchased to be installed on technology devices. Even if a student just has a slight visual impairment, he/she could feel like an "outsider" in the classroom. Through the use of screen magnifiers, a student can participate fully with technology.