Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog Assignment #15

What Kind of Assistive Technologies are Available for Teachers? By Erin Crane, Lance Wilkinson, and Wesley Etheridge

Every student deserves the right to a quality education. Assistive technology is extremely important in education to make sure that every student has the right to a quality education despite disabilities. Assistive technology is more accessible than ever before with technological advancements. From physical applications such as Braille keyboards and grids, to the voice over feature on the iPad, assistive technology is making learning for students with sight and hearing disabilities more accessible every day.

Assistive Technologies for Vision and Hearing Impaired Children is a video meant to inspire teachers to develop methods of learning for students with hearing or visual disabilities. By developing new methods of learning for disabled students, these students can be prepared for a variety of career options. In this way, education would "break down walls that students can jump over". 

The creators of "The Mountbatten" carried out the mission to accommodate learning for disabled students. "The Mountbatten" is a braille typewriter that gives audio feedback as it is being typed. This works extremely well in a classroom where the teacher doesn't know braille. 

The Universal Accessibility Mathematics Lab at the University of San Francisco also made mathematics more accessible for blind students based on a grid they developed to help blind students see math problems in a two dimensional format. The ability for blind students to do more advanced mathematics opens them up to a more diverse career field. 

iPad Usage For The Blind details the benefits of the voice over application on the iPad. To use the voice over feature one must drag one's finger across the screen and a voice will tell you which app you're on. This makes iPads easily accessible for blind students. In addition to this, voice over makes iBooks completely accessible to blind students. Voice over makes the text of the iBook audible, allowing students who couldn't read with an iPad before to now do so. In Having a Great Time Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child is Learning on the iPad, a disabled student's mother is given instruction on how to use the iPad. This video details the depth of the voice over application, which has both standard and the more advanced touch typing mode. 

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The Assistive Technology blog from 50 Must-See Blogs for Special Education Teachers is an extremely relevant blog. It details the different types of assistive technology available for teachers as well as keeps them up to date on upcoming and developing assistive technologies. This "Teach Thought" article also details different types of assistive technology that are affordable for students.

Overall, as future History teachers we find "The Mountbatten" to be extremely effective for writing assignments for students with visual disabilities. In addition, the voice over feature of the iPad makes it an invaluable tool for students with visual disabilities due to the ability to read and participate with their classmates. Assistive technology is one of the best examples of how technology is pushing education in a forward direction.

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