Assistive technologies


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EdTech 541
Assistive Technologies
Fall 2010

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Assistive technologies

  1. 1. Assistive Technologies Erin Markus EdTech 541 Fall 2010
  2. 2. Cognitive Assistance Cognitive disabilities are usually considered "mild" disabilities and include learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, and emotional disorders. People with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities typically use assistive technology in order to help the individual in their daily living skills. • A person with a cognitive disability is said to have greater difficulty in one or more mental tasks than a "normal" or "average" person. • Individuals that exhibit significant delays in measured intelligence, adaptive functioning, and academic functioning. • A cognitive disability is any disability that affects mental processes (, 2010).
  3. 3. Cognitive Assistive Technologies Switch Software can be used to teach simple skills from any part of the curriculum by using simple commands on the screen and a large button that acts as a selector, mouse, or keyboard key (such as a space bar). In this Unit, the student will be learning about simple life skills, such as tying their shoes. Switch software is a type of software program that is operated by only a few defined keystrokes and/or a mouse click. Usually, a switch is connected to the computer that will emulate these keystrokes or clicks. The most common type of switch is a very large button that can take quite a bit of abuse. There are many types of switches on the market appropriate for various forms of disabilities.
  4. 4. Cognitive Assistive Technologies Kidpiration or Inspiration Software can be used in this Unit for organizing thoughts about Life Skills learned, or plotting steps in a process that they learned about to make them more visual. They can also collect pictures or make lists to organize what they have learned. Kidspiration and Inspiration is a concept mapping/outlining software which allows students to map out their ideas and thoughts. This can be a beneficial program for students with spatial reasoning disabilities, or can help struggling writers. Inspiration can switch between a diagram view or outline view, insert pictures, and can even transfer work into a word processing program.
  5. 5. Physical Assistive Technologies A Zoom Text Screen Reader can be used for a child who has vision problems. This software can be installed on any computer that they will be using for their studies. In this Unit, several computer integration activities are used, and this software will allow the child to use any of these integrations, but with the content at a size where they can see it. Zoom Text Screen Reader makes seeing and hearing everything on your computer screen clearer than ever. The new xFont magnification displays high-definition text that you'll recognize effortlessly. With our new NeoSpeech synthesizers, your applications and documents are read aloud by friendly, human- sounding voices - right through your computer's speakers (AI, 2006). This ability to increase the size of on screen text exponentially is a great advancement for those with limited and low vision.
  6. 6. Physical Assistive Technologies A Magic Touch screen can be used for children that do not have the physical ability to use a mouse. This tool allows them to use their finger as a mouse to navigate through activities, such as those in the Life Skills Unit. Magic Touch is a touch screen designed for convenience and accessibility. Just mount it onto your existing monitor! Durable and easy to clean, it functions with both Macs and PCs.
  7. 7. Sensory Assistive Technologies Sound blocking earphones can be used for a child with sensory conditions during our computer activities by allowing the sound to be a the level that is conducive to their needs. The sounds of other children will be cancelled out so they can focus on their own tasks. They can also wear the phones if they are uncomfortable in a loud environment, such as a visit to the Fire Station during our Fire Safety section of the Unit. A person with autism or other sensory conditions might be extremely sensitive to sounds that other people would not hear. Using sound blocking ear phones can make it possible for them to function in a situation that would otherwise be too loud for them.
  8. 8. Sensory Assistive Technologies A Braille keyboard can be used with any computer. During our Unit, the computer will be used for many activities. If the child has learned Braille, then they can use this keyboard when using a computer. Certain computer activities will need to be adapted, if they require sight, and the keyboard cannot be used. Braille Keyboard: A student that is blind can benefit from a keyboard that has Braille letters and numbers. Braille is the system of raised dots that are used to symbolize letters and numbers for a person that is blind or is unable to see letter, numbers and words.
  9. 9. At-Risk Assistive Technologies Herotopia can be used in a Life Skills Unit when teaching about respect, self-esteem, or bullying. At-risk youth can greatly benefit by using virtual worlds because it helps them to escape from their daily struggles and learn in a world that is non-judgmental and allows them to think without outside pressures. Herotopia: Arming kids with the best tools to combat the scourge of bullying — integrity, self-empowerment, compassion and respect for self and for others — is the core mission carried out by an exciting and free new online game designed by the New York-based husband and wife team Wade and Caryn Teman. Herotopia provides a safe and fun virtual world for kids to travel and explore while they learn the personal skills necessary to becoming their own super hero.
  10. 10. At-Risk Assistive Technologies Kidpix can be used in a Life Skills Unit in many different ways, such as re-creating an activity or field trip by drawing a picture or telling a story about their experience. Kidpix: Kidpix is a great tool for use with at- risk children. With Kidpix, the imaginary opportunities are boundless. Often with children at-risk, finding an avenue for them to share their emotions and thoughts can be very beneficial. Art and creativity can do this. With this software, they can create pictures, worlds, and write stories using their imagination.
  11. 11. Helping At-Risk Youth Gifford (1991) lists seven attributes that make video games both fun and effective learning tools: • FREE PLAY (CREATIVITY): Electronic games are not tied to the limitations of space, time, or gravity in the way that mechanical toys are. Freed from these constraints, kids can exercise their fantasies without regard to real-world boundaries. • MICROWORLDS: Computers allow us to move with ease between electronic "microworlds" from one graphical environment to another. The exhilaration of multimedia world-hopping contrasts sharply with the static feeling of conventional classrooms. • INSTANT REPLAY ENCOURAGES RISK TAKING: Computers can provide an instant replay of students' performances, allowing them to study, edit, or try again in a safe environment for risk- taking. • MASTERY: Even when kids are struggling to learn a complex computer game, they usually feel they are in control. When the worst happens, they can always shut the machine off. The feeling of control is encouraged by the ease with which players can repeat an activity until it has been mastered. • INTERACTION: Kids tend to experience computers as partners in learning. They relish this nonhierarchical relationship in which the roles of teacher and student are blurred or altered. • CLEAR GOALS: Children in the classroom cannot always see the point of learning math, science, or social studies. When they play electronic games, they are usually working toward a clear objective--making a rescue, unlocking a door, unearthing hidden treasure. Compelling goals give game players high levels of motivation. • INTENSE ABSORPTION: Short attention spans and poor impulse control frequently disappear with effective computer interventions, supporting the notion changing the environment, not the child, can support individual success.
  12. 12. Gifted and Talented Technologies Virtual Museums can be used to give children, specifically in a Gifted and Talented program, a more in depth opportunity to learn about a topic of study, such as learning more about scientific agriculture when learning about healthy foods in a Life Skills Nutrition Unit. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has an online lesson about how baby chicks are born! Virtual Museums: Gifted and talented students can be educationally enriched through a virtual learning environment. Virtual learning environments can be used as a way to integrate the curriculum with information technology. An alternative to real-life field trips is online virtual visits that can be taken via computer. Clearly, nothing replaces the actual experience of a museum tour, yet experiencing a high-quality online museum yields its own rewards.
  13. 13. Gifted and Talented Technologies Secret builders helps prepare students for decision making and guiding themselves through educational and life skills activities. In this activity, children can spend money, make important decisions, and communicate with others while traveling through their virtual society. Secret Builders: Secret Builders is a quirky virtual world, with an emphasis on culture and learning. Imagine conversing with William Shakespeare or Sherlock Holmes as you build your virtual home. There are games to play and mysterious quests to undertake. It's certainly unique in the realm of kids' virtual worlds so far. Secret Builders is currently free to play.
  14. 14. iPod Applications First Then Visual Schedule- Cognitive Assistance This application can be used to help a student maintain a schedule. Although Kindergarteners may not use this personally, it can be used by a special-needs aide or the teacher that works with the child. Visual Countdown App- Cognitive Assistance This application can help a student or teacher when there is a situation or assignment that requires a finishing time. This can be used for a Kindergartener for maintaining focus on a worksheet or for a student that has earned some free time. Talking Soundboard- Physical Assistance This application helps a student that cannot talk or has minimal communication ability due to a mental or physical condition. The app can be used by Kindergarteners for communication with teachers, aides, or other students.
  15. 15. iPod Applications Yes/No Answer Application- Physical Assistance This application can be used by Kindergarteners or any age for answering simple questions if they cannot speak or have limited communication abilities due to a mental or physical injury or condition. Look in My Eyes- Sensory This application can be used by a child that has a sensory condition, such as autism. The application teaches simple lessons in various subjects, such as food, safety, and citizenship. The application uses a child talking directly at the student using eye contact. It helps teach how to maintain eye contact while the student learns at the same time. Sign4Me- Sensory This application helps a student that is deaf or mute communicate by using the sign language tools. This could be good for a student that has not learned how to sign or for teachers or aides that have a deaf student.
  16. 16. iPod Applications iReward- At-Risk This application can be used by a student, aide, or teacher to keep track of rewards earned by good behavior. This application uses child-friendly icons and is easy to learn for both child and adult. NickJr Application- At-Risk This application can be used for a child as a reward activity, since the application offers games and activities that are fun but still educational. There is a large variety of games that could easily be adapted into a Life Skills topic. BrainPOP Jr.- Gifted and Talented This application can be used for students that need to enrich their learning with more challenging activities. BrainPOP has activities for all subjects and various educational levels.
  17. 17. iPod Applications Farmville- Gifted and Talented This application can be used for the Gifted and Talented student to manage their own farm and communicate and organize the necessary duties with others. Rubix Cube- Fun Application This fun application can be used as a reward or free time activity that encourages mathematical and deep thinking skills. Wheels on the Bus- Fun Application This application can be used either as a reward for good behavior or to help a child with sensory disabilities to learn about music and rhythm.
  18. 18. Resources Ai Squared Technology. (2006). Zoom Text. Retrieved February 18, 2006, from: Gifford, B. R. (1991, August 7). The learning society: Serious play. Chronicle of Higher Education, p. 7. Assistive Technology & Autism | technology-autism.html#ixzz15r6lacIt