Assistive Technology in the Inclusive Classroom Michelle D. Davis Colonial IU 20 Adapted from: Family Center on Technology and Disability
What is Assistive Technology? AT is “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability” - 20 USC 1401(1) AT can be anything from a simple device, such as a magnifying glass, to a complex device, such as a computerized communication system.
AT Fosters Inclusion • Inclusion: The practice of educating all or most children in the same classroom, including children with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities. (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) • AT helps students who have disabilities learn the material in a way that they can understand it • AT helps eliminate barriers students may face that prevent them from being at the same level as their classmates
AT Benefits ALL Students 15-20% of the general population is in need of some type of “cognitive task assistance” A large population of “at risk” students need assistance, but because they don’t easily fit into a diagnostic profile, they do not receive assistance; if AT is available to everyone, these students can benefit AT aids in all of the subject areas in school
Why look at tools you have? Assistive Technology in the era of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) • More and more products are designed with needs of varied users/learners in mind • You need tools to meet the needs of more and more diverse learners in your classroom.
You have tools to help your learners access the curriculum • Assistive technologies will always have a role in the education of learners with disabilities, and UDL will not eliminate the need for personal assistive devices. • UDL curriculum materials assume diverse learner profiles, and therefore are designed with flexibility as their keystone.
Teachers Can Make their Classrooms More Conducive to AT • Have certain computers in the classroom that are set up for the use of the students with disabilities - ones that have necessary software on them. • Include AT in lessons. • Familiarize the other students with the AT that other students may be using in the classroom and make sure they understand why this AT is being used. • Use AT even if it is not necessary; enlarge fonts, use amplification devices, use computers, have calculators available, etc. It will benefit all of the students!
AT in the Classroom The AT you find in your classroom, may be in place to aid in the following areas: • Computer Access • Composing Written Material • Communication • Reading • Learning and Studying • Math • Mobility • Vision • Hearing
Types of AT in the Classroom Continued… Adapted from: “A Resource Guide for Teachers and Administrators about Assistive Technology” Penny R. Reed, Ph.D. Elizabeth A. Lahm, Ph.D. Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative January, 2005 www.fctd.info
General Technology General technology in the classroom can benefit students with and without disabilities. • Computers, calculators, overheads, interactive whiteboards, tape recorders, software, hardware, etc. are all examples of general technology found in the classroom. • Research shows that technology aids in the learning abilities of all students. • Even if you do not have a designated student with special needs in your classroom, have the technology available.
Technology Tools Built-In • Accessibility features in Microsoft Windows or MAC Operating Systems • School-wide software programs (Kurzweil, Read and Write Gold, Premier Accessibility Suite) • Web-based tools (VoiceThread, toondoo, wikis) FREE! http://atech.wiki.ciu20.org • Tools on your computer: Photostory, imovie, Audacity (FREE!)
Operating System Accessibility Tools Allow adjustments for visual, auditory, and motor needs, as well as personal preferences Windows XP: Accessibility Options • Start, Control Panel, Accessibility Options • Start, All Programs, Accessibility, Accessibility Wizard Mac OS X: Universal Access • Apple menu, system preferences, Universal Access
Word Processors • Most commonly available is Microsoft Word, but many of the same features apply to Appleworks, Word Perfect, etc • Research validated • Ability to manipulate text in various ways is beneficial • Positive impact of writing/editing on overall writing quality and fluency
Font: Format- font Font Color: Format- font- color (or use Formatting Toolbar) Word spacing:Edit-Find- (replace space with 2 spaces) Line Spacing: Format- Line spacing Character Spacing: Format- font Highlighting: Option on Formatting Toolbar Background Color: Format - Background Zoom: Go to View – Zoom – choose % Text manipulation
Auto Summarize: • Looks for keywords in document • Can produce a summary or abstract Good for: • Pre-reading for meaning • Post-reading to self-test or summarize • Does well with reports, articles, scientific papers; not as well on fiction, correspondence How to: • Tools-Auto Summarize • Choose size of summary (in %) • Layout of summary
Add Comments Good for: • Providing built-in support or prompts to students • Peer reviewing • Student “notes-to self” • Adding “Voice comments” to documents How to: • Click on location for comment and go to Insert- comment • Or, use icons in reviewing toolbar Looks like this!
Highlighting Text Good for: • Aiding recall of key information or vocabulary • Providing cues to return to text later for clarification How to: • View-toolbars-formatting • When text is selected, clicking will highlight once. Otherwise, it is activated and click and drag over text will highlight .
Spelling & Grammar • Right click on misspelled word-possible word choices appear • Right click on correctly spelled word to see choice for synonyms • Spelling/Grammar preferences • Tools-Options, click Spelling & Grammar Tab • 26 fundamental rules • Choose style of writing that Word grammar check will apply
Readability Statistics • Option in Spellchecker (when checked, statistics appear after spellcheck is completed) • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Grade Level • Reading ease score • # of passive sentences • Text at higher reading level can be augmented with additional features such as images, guided notes, highlighting, or text-to-speech
Text-to-Speech Get headphones! • Uses • Tool for supporting comprehension • Proofreading tool in writing process • Listening to words that are difficult to decode, or to text above reading level • Availability • Built in to Mac OS 10.4 for some apps • Featured in some common and many “AT” apps • Via software add in OS X and XP
Textbooks go digital • Check with your textbook publisher: • Audio CD versions • CD-based supplementary material • National Instructional Material Accessibility Standard (NIMAS): • Plan for eliminating barriers to electronic textbooks
Other Web Resources • Math websites • National Library of Virtual Manipulatives http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/vlibrary.html • Webmath http://www.webmath.com/index4.html
Additional Resources Family Center on Technology and Disability http://www.fctd.info/ Assistive Technology in the Classroom http://atto.buffalo.edu/registered/ATBasics/Foundation/intro/index.php/ Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative http://www.wati.org/ Schwab Foundation for Learning http://www.schwablearning.org/ National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities http://www.nichcy.org Office of Special Education Programs http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/index.html