What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology is any kind of technology and/or tool that can be used to enhance the functional independence of a person with a disability. Often, for people with disabilities, accomplishing daily tasks such as communicating with others, going to school or work, or participating in activities can be a challenge. Assistive Technology (AT) devices are tools to help overcome those challenges and enable people living with disabilities to enhance and have access to a quality of life, that may otherwise not be known, and lead more independent lives.


Talking PowerPoint Books

Use PowerPoint as a way to provide information or as a method for demonstrating knowledge, either way, it can be a very powerful program.

Using PowerPoint to develop books is a wonderful approach that is perfect on any teacher's budget!! Buy a mic and make it into a talking PowerPoint! For younger students this is a great method for providing information, for older students it is a great way to have them demonstrate their knowledge. It is an ageless approach in any educational setting.

For students with severe disabilities, teachers can design presentation books for supporting the concept of cause and effect using switch access. For some students you could use PowerPoint Stories to reinforce concepts being learned or for presenting social stories. Use
PowerPoint to read books to students to reinforce the reading process or have students develop their own talking PowerPoint presentations as a report format or to make storybooks for younger students.

Create the slides as you always do and just add sound. When viewed, the slides become pages in a book with the added special feature of sound. Creating the Talking Books can be an individual or group project in or for your class. Any age level can write a book centered on curriculum material and shared with other groups.

Talking Books combine text and speech to help develop reading skills. They have application with young learners, remedial reading and students with severe disabilities or learning disabilities. The basic idea is to create some text on a PowerPoint slide and them attach recorded sounds to the text. As the user clicks on the text (or moves the cursor over it) the words are read aloud. To view talking books created with PowerPoint, you either need to have PowerPoint software installed on your computer or PowerPoint Viewer (which is FREE!) in Windows and Mac versions.

There are some talking stories on-line that you may wish to explore as examples. You may also wish to use these with your students. (Some of the following are using Flash instead of PowerPoint but the same type of presentations may be designed in PowerPoint.)
There are several on-line step-by-step guides for developing Talking PowerPoint. Find the one that you feel is the easiest to follow and begin your adventure!
Resources for digital images:
Other Resources and Ideas:
  • PowerPoint in the classroom from the "Electric Teacher" site

Graphics and Multi-Media Websites:
HIAT has a great lists of resources of graphics and multi-media websites that may be used freely. Always remember copyright laws when using graphics. It is not legal to use just any picture you find on the Internet without breaking these laws.

PowerPoint it! It is a great way to produce for students and to have students produce for others. It is a program we greatly under use!

Have fun. It is amazing what one can do with the small price of a computer microphone.