Monday, November 16, 2009

Assistive Technology - Module 2

Wow! I never realized how many types of assistive technology devices were available for those users who have physical disabilities. When browsing through the sites that provided these devices, I found some products that I feel could be useful in my library to assist students with disabilities. These are items that can be used to assist students in learning tasks and for student's personal use of the computer.

The first product that I thought could be valuable is a screen reader. A screen reader is a device that takes the words on the screen and reads them aloud to the student. This device is useful for students who have vision problems and for learning support students who are unable to make sense of the material because they cannot figure out what the words are. This could be easily added onto a few of the computers in the library to assist students with physical and learning disabilities.

The second product that I thought could be useful is the word completion software. The accommodations that need to be made in my library are primarily for learning support students. This software requires the user to enter a few letters into the computer and it will then provide the user with words that match the letters he or she entered. This can be useful for those students who have a hard time spelling words. Sometimes spellcheck is not enough to really correct errors in some students paper. This tool will provide students with learning disabilities some extra help when working on the computer to complete projects or assignments.

The final product that I feel could be implemented into my library is the reading pen. The reading pen allows the user to run the pen over words and it will read the word aloud. This is something that can be used in the library to assist students with hard to read words. It would need to be closely monitored in case of theft, but I think that it would be useful in a place where the meaning of words in so important. I am going to look into adding some of these devices into my technology plan.

I thought EnableMart was the most useful website that was provided in this weeks blog. It provided a wealth of products in eleven different categories. I found the products mentioned above through this site. It lets the reader know what each product can be used for, which is very helpful. I am going to bookmark this site to ensure I have a resource for locating assistive technologies.

I am glad that we got a chance to look at some useful products for the library. Many times when creating a technology plan, assistive technology devices are left out of it. Looking at these sites reminded me that it is important to meet the needs of all students and not just some. I also noticed that many of these devices do not have to be just for the students with disabilities. Many of the devices can be useful to any student. I thought this week was interesting and relevant.

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