The blog topic for our final week of class is on Assistive Technology. As stated by Young & MacCormick, “assistive technology refers to the devices and services that are used to increase, maintain, or improve the capabilities of a student with a disability” (2021, page 1). Many of the devices that we learned about in this weeks presentation were new to me, but after reading the articles, I realized that I do use assistive technology on a daily basis. In my classroom, we use many low tech devices to assist not only the Inclusive Education students, but to accommodate all learners. Devices such as electric pencil sharpeners, color coded baskets, alphabet and handwriting strips, white board tables, portable whiteboard, alternate seating plan, and beanie bags are included in classroom planning. Technological devices we use are interactive smart board, document scanner, headphones, tablet/chromebook, laptops, mobile devices and digital cameras.
Universal Design for Learning principles support the inclusion of all students in our school. Inclusive accommodations include a culture room that is circular with a platform for tiered seating, outdoor tipi classroom, hallway with a skylight that provides natural light, circular tables in the hallway, extra wide hallways, wheelchair accessible doors, and an elevator. In terms of our cultural programming, “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people” (ACCESS Project, 2011), has been considered when planning takes place. Where and when to host cultural programming for all students is highly considered. The use of a large space to host workshops is essential for freedom of movement. Most of our cultural space is circular with the instructor/facilitator in the center. This allows for enhanced hearing and speaking ability. Cultural protocols are sensitive to each learner and their unique abilities.
The impact of using assistive technology in the classroom must be considered. I like how Cranmer summed up inclusive education as “inclusive education is based on the assertion that all children should be enabled to access an equivalent education to that of their non-disable peers” (2020, page 317). We can incorporate daily practice with assistive technology by creating a classroom that supports all learners, that is inclusive of all abilities, by providing assistive technology as part of daily learning.
Ekosi. Thank you for reading by blog!