Technological Feedback

As a follow up to my first entry, I’d like to stay on topic with assistive technology (AT) and the teachers that use them. The purpose of this blog is not only to showcase helpful AT, but to also solicit feedback from teachers to see how comfortable they are with using these devices and interventions. I imagine the participatory audience of teachers of students with physical disabilities to be on the smaller side, so feedback from teachers who do not teach said students are welcomed to participate as well. Lastly, the results aren’t meant to be shared publicly, but to give you an insight on where you stand. That said, feedback is always welcomed in the comments section.

Types of Assistive Technology

(1) Talking calculators: relaying mathematics via audio.

Your familiarity or comfort level with this device

(1 = Unfamiliar / Uncomfortable; 5 = Very familiar / Very comfortable)

1                      2                      3                      4                      5

(2) Text-to-voice: similarly to the talking calculator, it allows for students with audio and/or visual impairments to hear what is written.

Your familiarity or comfort level with this device

(1 = Unfamiliar / Uncomfortable; 5 = Very familiar / Very comfortable)

1                      2                      3                      4                      5

(3) Portable word processors: similar to a laptop though usually fitted with many AT helpful features, this device allows for students to meet their processing needs.

Your familiarity or comfort level with this device

(1 = Unfamiliar / Uncomfortable; 5 = Very familiar / Very comfortable)

1                      2                      3                      4                      5

(4) Alternative keyboards: keyboards that meet the needs of a student with disabilities whether ergonomic or spacial.

Your familiarity or comfort level with this device

(1 = Unfamiliar / Uncomfortable; 5 = Very familiar / Very comfortable)

1                      2                      3                      4                      5

(5) Switches: a device that allows for remote access to a computer and it typically easier to use than a keyboard and mouse.

Your familiarity or comfort level with this device

(1 = Unfamiliar / Uncomfortable; 5 = Very familiar / Very comfortable)

1                      2                      3                      4                      5

(6) Phonetic spelling software: helpful for students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

Your familiarity or comfort level with this device

(1 = Unfamiliar / Uncomfortable; 5 = Very familiar / Very comfortable)

1                      2                      3                      4                      5

(7) Scholastic keys: simplifies the Microsoft interface for students with learning disabilities.

Your familiarity or comfort level with this device

(1 = Unfamiliar / Uncomfortable; 5 = Very familiar / Very comfortable)

1                      2                      3                      4                      5

(8) Outlining software: a tool used to help students who struggle with organization skills.

Your familiarity or comfort level with this device

(1 = Unfamiliar / Uncomfortable; 5 = Very familiar / Very comfortable)

1                      2                      3                      4                      5

(9) Audiobooks: probably just what you’re thinking. This device reads text aloud to students.

Your familiarity or comfort level with this device

(1 = Unfamiliar / Uncomfortable; 5 = Very familiar / Very comfortable)

1                      2                      3                      4                      5

(10) Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART): a typist types what is said and the words are displayed on a screen for all of the class to see.

Your familiarity or comfort level with this device

(1 = Unfamiliar / Uncomfortable; 5 = Very familiar / Very comfortable)

1                      2                      3                      4                      5

(Information on the types of assistive technology and their explanations were provided by the American Institutes for Research)

Take a moment to review your results and think about your current comfort levels with the commonly used AT listed above. If you never have used them, or heard of them, think about how you would feel if placed in a classroom with students that required these types of technologies. I believe it is important to remember that as teachers, our greatest support should be directed to our students. If we are not confident and comfortable with the tools we use to teach them, we are doing them a disservice as their instructor.

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