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.

The mission of this blog is to serve as a voice of a constant researcher in the field of educational and assistive technologies so that the best products, strategies and services may be located easily, in hopes that they will then be delivered, taught and used to better the lives of people with disabilities.

Tuesday

Technology Integration Isn't About Technology

Education Week came out with a great article by "Technology Integration Isn't About Technology". Some of the lines that created a "Yes!" response from me are:
  • It's about purpose and ease of use. We should focus on enhancing and enriching the learning experience by defining the goals and processes for why and how students will use technology.  
  • If we did this, we would look beyond our current preoccupation with the appearance of just having the "latest and greatest" technology devices and pay more attention to how these resources should be used to improve the student learning experience. 
  • educators become preoccupied with wanting to have the "latest and greatest" without thinking about purpose, process, and support.
  • We'll buy the devices for schools, and not think about what exactly students will do with the device or how they will use it. We'll give teachers the latest tools, but not think about the policies, time, and support they will need to use these tools effectively.
  • So before buying that technology, think about what you'll do with it, and how you'll do it.
  • Does technology enhance the quality of your life? If so, you know that technology isn't about the hardware specifications or code in the software, it's about how the use of technology has brought you more happiness because it helps you access or do something you enjoy.
Does technology enhance the quality of learning in your classroom? Do you collaborate and learn from your colleagues, share resources, and access the collective knowledge and resources on the Internet? Are your lessons more enriching and engaging through your use of interaction, multimedia, and creative authoring tools? Are your students more inquisitive, analytical, and creative as they use technology to collaborate, create, and apply their learning in real world contexts? 
  • If your answer is "yes," then, you know that technology integration in schools is about the learning process, and not about technology. 
  •  If your answer is "no," then it's time to start thinking about why you have these tools, and how you can start using your existing resources more wisely.
Thank you, Mr.