Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Assistive Technology

No Child Left Behind has increased the time students with special needs are included into the general education classroom. Some general education teachers embrace this initiative whereas others fear this change. What do general education teachers need to know to effectively educate all students in their classrooms?

With the push for increased technology use, teachers can meet all their students' need by using multiple technologies. Many students with special needs have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that may specify assistive technologies that can benefit the student in and outside the classroom. Assistive technologies can be used for communication, manipulation, mobility, and learning depending on the child's needs.

Many teachers are exploring ways to use technologies such as iPods, iPads, and other software programs such as Kurzweil and Dragon Naturally Speaking to increase the amount to time students with special needs are included into the general education classroom. The more teachers become familiar with Web 2.0 tools and newer technologies, I believe the "fear" they once felt with having students with special needs in their classrooms will slowly disappear.

What are your thoughts and experiences with inclusion? How have you seen technology used to increase the participation of students with special needs into the general education classroom?

1 comment:

  1. Billie,

    Great piece on assisstive technologies they truly are changing the educational landscape. As far as inclusion is concerned I believe every student should be in the general classroom during a typical day. However, I feel that the amount of time that student is mainstreamed depends greatly on their disability. I have done a few field experiences at River Hills here in Cedar Falls and discussed inclusion with teachers there. Many feel the same way, that some students, simply cannot be mainstreamed for a majority of the day because they won't receive the appropriate attention they require. Other students however, that are more capable, they do believe including in the general education classroom as much as possible.

    I have seen technology used to enhance student learning, most notably at River Hills. Here they used speech sytnthesizers to enable students to communicate. It was actually really neat to see.