Monday, November 16, 2009

Assistive Technology - Module #2

Discovery Exercise #1
EnableMart is a great website for showing different assistive technology materials.  I can't believe all that is available out there.  Of course there are many resources that would be beneficial to the library.  One of the big areas within the library that students may need some assistance with is the computers.  I like the idea of having screen magnifiers for those who are visually impaired, a screen reader for those who have difficulty reading text, and large keyboards and touch screens for those who have mobility limitations.  The biggest concern I have for these wonderful innovations is finding the funds to make the most of the library for all users.

Discovery Exercise #2
Making sure your students can have the best environment in the library does not have to always involve expensive equipment.  There are simple accomodations that can be made with little effort and great effect.

For the visually impaired student:
  • Use larger fonts for signs, overheads, handouts.
For the hearing impaired student:
  • Provide handouts for directions and procedures.
For the mobility impaired student:
  • Make sure aisles are wide and free from obstacles.
For visually, hearing, and mobility impaired, and all students:
  • Use a variety of teaching styles
  • Have staff readily available to help students
  • Provide alternative forms of materials
Discovery Exercise #3
I am going to focus on a TouchScreen for my tech plan.  I think it is a great device, not only for students who are mobility impaired, but also for young students who have trouble understanding and manipulation a mouse.  It could really be a useful device for all those who would use a computer.

Discovery Exercise #4
EnableMart seems like a comprehensive list of all the assistive technology available.  It is helpful to be able to go to one site and look at all the products.  To enhance my knowledge of assistive technology, I really enjoyed browsing the National Center for Learning Disabilities website. It covers so much from the basics, to in the home, to at school, to choosing the right technology, to news, and other links.

Discovery Exercise #5
I loved watching the video on Beth Anne Luciani and her DynaVox machine.  It is so wonderful that there is technology to give people like Beth Anne a voice.  It is heartbreaking to think about the people who could not communicate before this technology was invented and how frustrating they must have felt that they had the words within them to speak, but could not verbalize them.  I know this is just one example of how assistive technology is helping people.  No matter what equipment is used, when you can enhance the learning and everyday living of someone - that's priceless.

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