Sunday, November 15, 2009

Assistive Technology Week 2

solutions that would be useful additions at your school or workplace
I focused on ergonomic designs, special keyboards, and classroom participation helps that a regular education classroom could use. I teach regular second grade, and as I watch those young children learning how to keyboard, I think of how useful it would be for them to have larger keys that are in different colors, like some of the ones I found on the Infogrip website. As a person who spends a lot of time typing, I would love to have one of the ergonomic keyboards for myself. I see so many adults wearing carpal tunnel supports on their wrists, and I wonder that we allow this for ourselves. I also found the option to have the keyboard letters arranged any way you want them to be interesting. I recently had the opportunity to hear Dr. William Daggett speak, and he mentioned that the letters on a typical keyboard are arranged for the least efficient, slowest typing as a throwback to the old days when typewriters used to get stuck when the letters crossed because the typist was going too fast for the technology. Now we our technology can go as fast as we want it to, so if we rearrange the letters, we could communicate even faster. This would be great for someone who uses a keyboard to talk. Last, I liked the classroom items I saw on the EnableMart website. Again, as a teacher of young children, they could benefit greatly from some of the technology that is designed to aid children with disabilities. Many of them are still developing cognitive and motor skills needed to manipulate more "adult" items like keyboards and spinners.

I wish I had done this week's assignment before I started my assistive technology plan. A lot of the things that I laboriously searched for are right here at my fingertips!

implement simple accommodations in various

While I was searching for hardware for my assistive technology plan, I came across a thumb drive that enables any PC to magnify and read on screen information to the user. It can be easily removed and transported to other PCs, so the person isn't limited to a single computer. It's called a dolphin pen.

The Task Builder is a nice tool, both for children who cannot cognitively process multi-step directions and for young children who lack maturity to recall multi-step directions. It records the steps of a process and the child can play them back until he or she has completed all parts of a process.

As a software application, word prediction is a great feature for both children with disabilities and children who are still learning how to write. When a group of letters is typed in that do not match with a known word, the program suggests likely possibilities. This would make writing easier for a person who has motor or cognitive issues, or help a young learner with the complex task of writing.

particularly helpful in developing your knowledge about assistive technology

EnableMart was particularly helpful to me. I actually did my own research last week for an assistive technology plan, and I came across the EnableMart website and found it to be informative and have a large number of hardware and software items for a wide variety of needs.


Cathie Ruble said...

Martha....interesting info about the history of the keyboard. I thought it was arranged by most commonly used letters. Shows what I know. I think it would be beneficial to be able to munipulate the keys to the typist's liking.

Lesley Farmer said...

yes, I sequenced the plan to align with the modules;
your focus on ergonomics is useful