Thursday, September 18, 2008

Assistive Technologies for all

I failed to post an entry last week on assistive technology (AT) and accessibility. Crisis of family and friends diverted my attention and time. Here are a few thoughts on the subject.

The lesson opened my eyes to two items that I would not have identified on my own. I am well aware of text reading, magnification, speech-to-text, and keyboard accessibility technologies. I have worked with many of them and have found varying degrees of quality and ease of use with these technologies.

One attribute identified throughout the lesson, and the topic of the newsletter that I created, was the usefulness of these assistive technologies to the general population as well as to the disabled. Discussion about uses of text reading technology to assist ESL students, slow readers, aural learners, and others beyond the visually handicapped opened my eyes to benefits I had not previously considered. The added benefit of using these technologies across the population and curriculum is the reduction and elimination of stigma attached to these technologies.

My other takeaway had nothing to do with AT but with the tool we used. So often, we provide communication about services available at the library in the form of an e-mail to teachers or a poster or bulletin board for students. Building a newsletter was a little time consuming, and perhaps my effortwas too wordy (who me?) but with a little effort and creativity could be a great medium for communication with faculty and even parents and students.

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