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Assistive Technology

by Bronwyn Wade

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The Benefits of Assistive Technology
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Inclusivity
Assistive technology allows for every student to take part in classroom activities they might not have once been able to participate in. It is detrimental to a student when a teacher excludes them from certain activities purely because they have certain exceptionalities, and sometimes those that do are left behind or set aside to complete their "own work." With assistive technology, they too are able to participate and keep up with the rest of the class. It is a tool that enables inclusivity and can boost self esteem in students.
Technology Enhancing Engagement
Assistive technology can be incredibly engaging. With bright colours, curriculum-based programs and activities, and detailed visuals, assistive technology can be even more beneficial to the student using it than some regular class activities. For students that most benefit from aural learning, technology can be used to cater to these needs and recordings or videos can be accessed. Assistive technology can also be play-based or formatted in a way that best appeals to the student's interests, which might involve them all the more. Essentially, assistive technology opens up a world of possibilities; and for students, the fact that they are offered choices can make all the difference.
Alternative Ways of Learning
Some students really struggle with reading and writing. Assistive technology permits them to express their thoughts and learning by recording their voices instead of having them write pen to paper. For students that have difficulty with the traditional classroom exercises, there can always be an alternative found through assistive technology. When it comes to sharing their learning, assistive technology can provide them with multiple means of expressing themselves - be it through videos, app creations, translators, speech-to-text applications, etc. Assistive technology is extremely valuable in that it shows educators that there is never simply one way to do anything. Alternative ways of learning does exist and are just as valid.

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