What Can Technology Do For Physically Challenged Learners?

Education Technology Insights | Monday, January 28, 2019

Education technologies are transforming the learning systems as the adoption of information and communication technologies has become a norm. The possibility technology creates for physically challenged learner is a revolutionary one among the myriad opportunities. Differently-abled students have struggled with learning because of the accessibility and instructional problems of educational institutions. The rapidly advancing assistive technology is offering physically disabled students enormous freedom in terms of accessing education, communication, information, and entertainment. Assistive technologies enable learners with motion impairments to use computers. It provides students with more customized learning experiences. The types of technologies that are popping up in the learning space are

1. The alternative input devices, designed to allow students with disabilities to use computers and related technologies easily.  They include touch screens, modified keyboards, and joysticks that direct a cursor through the use of body parts like chins, hands, or feet. Major companies like Microsoft had developed technologies which function just by inhaling and exhaling. On-Screen keyboards are another area of input technology providing learners with disabilities better use of computers and mobile devices for learning.

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2. Speech-to-text options provide a learning advantage for learners who have mobility or dexterity problems, or those who are blind. It allows learners to speak their thoughts without typing and even navigate the internet. Speech-to-text options can also talk back and let them know about potential errors in their work.

3. Sensory enhancers take into account the fact that some differently abled children may need to learn differently than their peers, for instance, a student with language hindrance may have learned numbers first. Sensory enhancers include voice analyzers, augmentative communication tools, and speech synthesizers.

4. Screen readers, slightly different from text-to-speech inform students of what is on screen. Students with sight disabilities can benefit from the audio interface screen.

5. Students with behavioral disabilities can create a comfortable learning environment with online education in which their ability to focus will not be compromised.

Today the world is having such effective assistive tools adding benefits to education offering limitless flexibility making it adaptable for differently abled learners.

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