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.


IntelliTools Suite

IntelliTools Classroom Suite is only as dynamic as you make it. It "combines direct instruction with a flexible tool environment to help students in grades Pre K through 5 achieve mastery in reading, writing and math.

Classroom Suite 4 provides students with explicit instruction, constructive practice and embedded assessments to allow teachers to gauge progress and individualize instruction for their students.

Classroom Suite 4 includes research-based activity templates that can be used out-of-the-box, or easily customized to meet targeted needs. Lessons can even be sequenced into “intelligent” units to align with district or core curriculum."

Version 4 of Classroom Suite will allow a teacher to use pull-down menu options to create the number of problems in an activity, the type of phonemic sound or skill, the word list to use, etc.Once all the choices have been entered and the activity created, it can be saved in a student folder and used by the student. Scores are recorded in a report area and can be used for data collection and re-teaching/reinforcement if necessary.

You might want to start by watching a YouTube video to see if this is the right software for you.  This will give you a nice overview of the program in about 5 minutes. 

You can download the free 30 day trial. This software not only supports specials needs but goes beyond the special needs applications and supports remediation for the elementary general education classroom. Great tool for the UDL classroom. Check out the free online video demonstrations.

How to Guides:
  • A great Overlay tutorial from ATTO

  • Learning Magic, as always, has provided a listing of goodies to use with IntelliTools Suite.   
  • IntelliTools has a blog worth staying in touch with. "The goal of this blog is to provide a place for those of us dedicated to assisting students who struggle with literacy and learning to share ideas and connect." 
If possible, try pairing up the Classroom Suite Version 4 with an Interactive WhiteBoard  - you will be surprised at what it can do. Intellitools has done all the hard work for you to build easily adapted and personalized remedial activities in reading and math. They have a free trial available for download.

Other tools to know about:
  • IntelliKeys is an alternative keyboard that can be used as a stand alone tool or with IntelliTools Suite. This keyboard is often the logical next step after the touchscreen when students are working towards using a keyboard and mouse.  Intellikeys has several overlays providing various keyboard options, mouse control and cause and effect activities.   
  • The company also offers the OverlayMaker software which allows you to create overlays that match what the student sees on the screen then uses on the IntelliKeys. It is a simple, easy-to-use drawing program. It comes with the IntelliTools Picture Library of over 300 graphic images. You can also add pictures from your favorite clip art source or use digitized photos.
  • Keyguards are also available from IntelliTools to help prevent unintentional keystrokes when using IntelliKeys.
  • IntelliTools Extreme! Is a book written by Daniel Herlihy and Connective Technology Solutions Inc. "This idea book for using IntelliTools Classroom Suite sets your imagination loose right after your training ends." And that, is exactly what you need when you have the opportunity to use this wonderful software in your classroom!  
  • IntelliBraille is used with Classroom Suite, Overlay Maker 3 and IntelliKeys. It is for visually impaired students. It is a complete Braille curriculum with over 115 activities. Tack-Tiles KeyPad for IntelliKeys is designed for students who are Visually Impaired.