This week my EdTech class had Chantelle Morvay-Adams from BCEdAccess as a guest lecturer on the topic of assistive technology.
Assistive Technology is the implementation of specialized technology to allow for a more inclusive learning environment that allows students to be more independent in their learning and enhance their learning experience. Once way that assistive technology can be implemented into the classroom is through the use of iPads, text to speech programs, chrome-books, and more.
In my link2practice experience in a grade 8 classroom, I was able to see how beneficial having chrome-books available to students was. Certain students who found difficulty with assignments dependent on writing found that using a chrome-book helped them to be more independent in their learning. This was very much a way that assistive technology was being used in the classroom and the benefits for the students were immeasurable.
One thing that I have noticed as a road block for implementing assistive technology in the classroom is funding. The availability of resources such as chrome-books or iPads are often limited within schools and in high demand as they are shared between classes. Having dedicated technological resources for students who need this assistive technology can be more difficult to have in the classroom because of this. If a student has a Individual Education Plan (IEP) this can sometimes help with gaining access to devices that are designated for that students use, however not every student who needs assistive technology will have an IEP.
This is where teachers can help to learn what their students need and work to create inclusion and accessible learning for all students in whatever form that may mean.