Assistive Technology and you (and me too)

This week, Benita, Heidi, Allison, Launel, and Holly shared some interesting tools and perspectives on Assistive Technologies.

Coming into this week, I was reflecting on my interactions with Assistive Technology, and aside from the FM systems, I didn’t think I had much experience with it.

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By ImGzOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

It was after reading Tyson’s blog, that I realized that I have worked with many more things, including PECs binders, wiggle seats, visual timers, as well as fidgets among other items in order to better help the students I work with.

Heidi’s blog, had me considering some other questions this week, when she mentioned that assistive technology can be for all learners.  This had me considering, what are things that I use as a learner which help me to focus/learn in a concise way?  What are things I already do to support learners in my space?  And- what else could I be incorporating to support all of the learners I am working with?

For myself as a learner, I HATE sitting still for long periods of time.  It is helpful for me to be in a comfortable space, and have the ability to move, if those things are not possible, it is important for me to have the ability to tap my toes, and if there is something I can fidget with, I will do it!

When I think about things I am currently doing for my students, my mind immediately goes to Literacy groups.  I make stations, we move from place to place, and change the focus of our brains (switch the type of activity we are doing), we change the mediums we work with (whiteboards, magnetic letters, pencils),  and I like to incorporate at least one station of listening to reading, so my students can see and hear the words being spoken.  I allow students to stand if it is difficult for them to focus while sitting.

However, I’m wondering, who am I missing?  What else can I be incorporating to assist my learners?  I’ve noticed one child I work with has difficulty distinguishing colours, are there different mediums and specific things I could incorporate to ensure they’re not missing out?

What are you doing to incorporate assistive technologies for all of your students?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

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11 thoughts on “Assistive Technology and you (and me too)

  1. Thanks for reading my blog this week. I truly think you are probably doing so much for so many learners already. Any time we talk to students about self regulation we are supporting them. One thing that changed my life in regards to assistive tech would be using computers to spell check. If I don’t know a word I type it into a text, and it corrects it for me. Or I open a document and it gives me suggestions. Allowing students to search for words on google (it asks: did you mean ___) has also helped my students. Last year I had a few student use voice to text on a tablet while completing any assignment. This helped him get past his fear of spelling everything wrong, he then completed some work independently. I think that showing our learners strategies to overcome their weaknesses will help them build confidence.

  2. I think as our understanding of assistive technology moves beyond the scope of students with disabilities, we will recognize how much assistive technology we already incorporate with our general population of students. For example, I utilize google read and write which is a text to talk and vice versa google app, but I use it for all my students. I feel like some may need it more than others, but it is useful for all students. I think teachers underestimate all that they’re doing for learners. Thanks for your post.

    1. I think you raise some really good points in your comment Natalie. I have yet to explore Google Read and Write but I am really interested in seeing what it’s all about. I think technology has allowed us to assist everyone, not just those with disabilities like you said.

  3. Like you, I initially felt that I hadn’t had tons of experience with assistive technologies, but when you start thinking of all of the things you can categorize as assistive technologies, we are all probably using far more than we realize! I think in my class the assistive technology I probably use the most is smartphones. I’m all for students using their devices if it can provide assistance with learning, and it can be something just like having students look up a video on the topic to hear it presented in a different context.

  4. Great post Amy! First of all, I am always so impressed how you can concisely and critically get your thoughts into your blog post so quickly after class – you inspire me to do it quicker throughout the week! When it comes to this week’s post, I am grateful that you remind me that ‘tech’ doesn’t always mean computers, Ipads, and apps. It can mean anything that helps a student concentrate, see success, and reach their potential. I have to admit – I am not the best at incorporating assistive tech into my daily teaching, but maybe that is because of the way I have been viewing it! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas – they always get me thinking about my own!

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