Monday, November 23, 2009

AT- Module 2

As others have mentioned in their blogs, I nearly forgot to do this post! I had checked out the links and videos as a precursor to the hardware assignment, then forgot I needed to come back and comment on them! There is a lot going on out there for assistive tech, and it's really great to see what can be done to make lives easier and more productive for people with all sorts of disabilities. I was so awed by the videos of what people are able to do and overcome with AT - going to college and owning and maintaining a business are so much more in the reach of those with disabilities. I think of my own frustrations, issues, and problems trying to accomplish everything in my daily life at work, home and distance ed., and I have no disabilities!

Not having much experience with various disabilities, I have really enjoyed learning about them and what is available to assist each issue. Some AT is quite simple, i.e. a head stylus, but its effects are very dramatic in how they help a person function. It was really touching to see how the computer generated voice capability helped give a person and those around them such a broader ability to communicate and emote. That type of assistance would open up a world of possibilities in teacher-student relationships and abilities!

EnableMart is a great site for seeing all the availability of AT and even assessing what would be helpful to those with disabilities. It seems to me that the hardest area to serve with technology
is hearing impairment. I likely made things difficult for myself when I chose that topic to address in the tech plan, but I found it interesting to scour the websites for what is available. Most of the AT addresses amplification and/or clarity of sound or voice and TTY and home assistance for phones, etc., but I looked for what would be helpful in the classroom setting. This proved to be a difficult task, especially for a severely hearing impaired or completely deaf student. The tablet pc that offers voice to text options for note taking seem to be the best option. The student can observe (sight being the sense a hearing impaired person relies upon the most) everything during class, then have the notes to review and refer to later.

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