This weeks’ exploration of assistive technologies was very eye opening. When I worked as an elementary school teacher I had students who used some assistive technologies, but that was 5 years ago and it seems like the technology has come so far since then. This is not surprising, of course. I couldn’t believe the head mouse and virtual keyboard. Genius! There is so much educators can do to improve the learning environment of students with special needs.
I was really in awe of the YouTube video of the woman from Florida with Cerebral Palsy who works as a graphic artist. Truly unbelievable. I had a student with Cerebral Palsy and kind of a have a soft spot for this disease. If you do too here are two great tween reads that incorporate a character with this ailment. Petey and Stuck in Neutral.
EnableMart is an amazing site! I was quick to tag it in my delicious account. I browsed the site and saw a lot of nifty gadgets, but I was most taken by the first item I came upon. The ReadingPen is an assistive technology that I think could immediately integrated into the teaching practices at my school. There are many struggling readers who would benefit from this piece of technology. At a high school level it is very important for teens to have independence and take ownership of the challenges they face. Being able to use this tool to decode unfamiliar words or learn the correct pronunciation of a word is often a question a teenager would not ask, but to be able to find out for themselves with the help of this device stands to be very beneficial.
Another technology that could assist students will limited fine motor skills is the BigKeys Keyboard Plus. Such a simple solution can make such a big impact. It stands to level the playing field for many children who struggle in this capacity. I worked with a student who really labored when typing. He constantly made mistakes and it was painful to watch him struggle. What a difference this tool would be for him!