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The Importance of Assistive Technology

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Importance of Assistive Technology

For students who struggle to access the curriculum, assistive technology helps to ‘level the playing field’ by providing additional tools and supports. Ultimately, assistive technology is meant to help students become more independent learners by allowing students to better control the pace they process information.

For example, our Intermediate grade eight students using OneNote last year could choose to type notes, take pictures of information written on blackboards by teachers, or use the audio record feature to dictate notes to themselves. This allowed students to better focus on lessons their teachers delivered and also provided a resource for students to use when they required clarification (they could share their notes with their teacher in order to help show their teacher what aspects of the lesson they were continuing to have difficulty with).

Direct Line Did you know?
Every time Direct Line is published, TDSB staff no longer gets e-mail notifiers. Keep watching Direct Line to be part of one of the A.T. team's projects.
(We are currently accepting proposals for our latest phase of the OneNote project. TDSB staff, click here: OneNote to go to the Direct Line link.)

Our students using Read and Write Gold, are able type a piece of writing and then use editing tools such as the dictionary or picture dictionary, spelling, and audio playback to help them edit and revise their writing. Students could also use this software to have texts read to them at a pace that suits them and, if necessary, have a text re-read in order to help improve comprehension.

 Special Education classrooms equipped with an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) provide teachers with a powerful tool to help differentiate their instruction. An IWB allows teachers to create multimedia lessons by embedding pictures, audio, and video. Students have opportunities to interact with IWB by manipulating elements on display. Activities can be saved for students to complete at a later time and pages can be individualized for each student in a class based on their individual interests and/or abilities, thereby increasing student engagement.

Of course, with so much technology available to support our Special Education students, it’s important teachers have ample PD opportunities to learn about what is available and how they can use it. As such, the SEA department continues to offer many sessions over the course of the school year aimed at both beginner and more advanced users to help develop skills and comfort when using these tools. Be sure to regularly check Key-to-Learn for what’s available and join us for one (or more) of our sessions!

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