Assistive Technology Help in the Classroom?
Assistive technology is an umbrella term comprising of: assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for disabled people (Andresen, 2007, pp. 11). Additionally, it includes the procedure used in choosing, finding, and using them. In order for students to know how to use them in the classroom, or how they can be used to assist people with disabilities within the classroom, they must first understand what these devices are. Therefore a brief introduction on what assistive technology is and what kinds of assistive technology are available will allow for a firmer grasp on the subject.
Another point to cover will be the why use assistive technology. Assistive technology increases a student’s chances for a good education, along with improved social interactions, and eventually, prospective for significant employment (Robitaille, 2010, p. 54). It also enables and encourages a student’s contribution in learning proficiencies in the least obstructive environment. Assistive technology is a means to aid the student as well as enable the student to benefit more from the general education prospectus, and access supplementary activities in family, school, and work situations. Using the tools to build a diagram along with other things like magazine clippings, scissors, pens, and paper, they will express things like time, setting, and interpret images they see and collect using the tools to make it easier and faster.
In making an allowance for a Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), the students will start with low tech tools, and then move on to mid tech tools, and high tech tools. That way they learn how to use each level of assistive technology and develop a variety of strategies for utilization and further ease of access and learning (“Assistive Technology”). Low Tech tools are easy, ready to use tools requiring no electricity such as a magnifying bar. Many people who experience disability may have trouble reading. It could be due to dyslexia, vision problems, etc. Magnifying bars are relatively inexpensive at $4 and come in various magnification levels increasing the size of the area it is used on.
Mid Tech tools are little and transportable hand held tools that work mainly on battery power. One such mid tech tool the class will use is a Time Timer (Generaction). A Time Timer is a visual representation of passed time. It comes in varying sizes from 3,” 8″ and 12.” Students see a graphic representation of time remaining for an assignment in red as the clock counts down. High tech tools like computer hardware and need electricity to run and are often more expensive. One example of a high tech tool the class will be using is a computer with voice recognition software for those who again may have vision problems or not know how to use the keyboard and need to hear or speak the commands instead of typing and reading them.
3. Lesson goals/objectives
The lesson and objectives are as follows, to learn what assistive technology is and why it is used in the classroom. The next objective is to learn how to use a low tech tool followed by learning how to use a mid tech tool, and then how to use a high tech tool. Understanding their purposes within the classroom will be emphasized with added importance on the usefulness of these tools every day. Additionally the class will the best ways to use these tools along with which topics like reading and math.
4. Standards, including CCSS and any Arizona State content standards
The K-12 Arizona’s College and section delivers specialized progression, instructional resources, and material to sustain the improvement and application of Arizona’s Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts and Literacy in History, Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects, including the K-12 academic standards in social studies, science, and educational technology (“Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards (AZCCRS) Home Page”). The standards were accepted in 2010 after widespread public conferences by the of Education. In 2013, schools started the process of implementation of these standards.
5. Required materials
The materials required are as follows: a magnifying bar, a Time Timer, and a computer with voice recognition software. These things are easy to buy, acquire, and use as any computer can get fitted with voice recognition software and the other two items are either $5 or $15. Additionally, students will each need a pen and paper along with a couple of magazines, glue sticks, and some scissors as they will be using the tools to build a diagram.
6. Introduction/anticipatory set
The introduction will focus on what is assistive technology and why it is used. It will be discussed on the blackboard with students giving answers on what they think assistive technology devices are and what can be possible examples. They will be divided into three groups where they will be introduced to their tech tool.
Once students are divided into three teams and given their tech tool, they will use their tech tool along with the scissors and magazine pages, to cut out images or shapes and paste them with the glue sticks onto the piece of paper. The group with the low tech device will use the magnifying bar to take out sentences from the magazines and write them down. The team with the Time Timer will be timed for 5 minutes and will see the time finished and represented on the device and have to say what time it is from the Time Timer. The team with the computer will speak words from the magazine into the microphone on the computer and see the text on screen and write it down.
8. Technology integration
The use of a computer allows for technology integration. They will use the microphone, see and use the mouse. They will also see the relationship between the software and the user.
9. Accommodations and modifications
There may be hearing impaired or speech impaired students within the class. For this instance, these students will be allowed to write or type their answers, depending on the group. They will also be given images and text to convey what they would like to say. For instance, if they feel upset or happy, they can use the smiley icon images to convey their feelings if no one speaks sign language.
Individuals will be assessed based on participation and amount of work done. Students who do not participate, make it hard for others to participate, are loud and boisterous, or who do not complete the work will be given a low grade. Although participation and learning will be encouraged and learning will be the main objective regardless of the student’s behavior.
11. Adaptations and extensions
Students who may require additional one on one assistance may stay behind for more instruction after class. There will also be online links that will be given with the handout that students will be instructed to give to their parents to help them see and understand the topic more. Lastly, students will also be given additional online resources for learning with assistive technology devices.
Andresen, B. (2007). Literacy, assistive technology and e-inclusion. Journal of Assistive Technologies, 1(1), 10-14.
Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards (AZCCRS) Home Page. (n.d.). Arizonas College and Career Ready Standards. Retrieved April 16, 2014, from http://www.azed.gov/azccrs/
Assistive Technology. (n.d.). Assistive Technology. Retrieved April 16, 2014, from http://www.hayscisd.net/parents.cfm?subpage=13261
Robitaille, S. (2010). The illustrated guide to assistive technology and devices tools and gadgets for living independently. New York: Demos Medical Pub..