Necessary for Some, Good for All

The theme of the most recent unit of study in the AQ I’m taking right now was on the uses of Assistive Technology. As I think more and more about what a differentiated classroom looks like, when I reflect on the work that @bloggucation has been doing with the Director’s Student Voice Forum, and the Transitions to High School initiatives, and all of the components that have come together to allow students to, as he says “express your voice, your way”, I find that the need to differentiate between Assistive Technology and Technology, starts to blur.

If the technology can help to propel learners forward, even if they are capable of operating without technology, why wouldn’t we all use it. I could walk to Brantford: although it would take a long time, it is something I am capable of doing. This doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be afforded a car. I don’t mean to diminish or dismiss the very real need for technology for students who struggle with learning disabilities, and who need technology in order to succeed; but I am starting to really believe that the things we do to help attend to those students, are strategies that should be applied to every student.

Currently we see students talk about the stigma of using Assistive Technology, while their classmates are able to complete the work in more traditional ways. How sad that our classrooms could create a culture in which the student with technology is jealous of the student with the fill-in-the-blanks photocopied page. It should be reversed. The students with the pencils should be raising their voices to be allowed to engage in the lesson using technology, because despite their ability to persevere through traditional tasks, they deserve to stretch their thinking to higher levels, using technology to assist them in enhancing what they do in class.

Published by jarbenne

Jared Bennett is the Student Information System Consultant at Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.

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    1. I don’t think you can say it better, especially when we are talking about simple computer programs. Certainly there are apparati for physical disabilities, and speech and language tools for ASD students that would fall into an assistive category, but something like a voice recorder so I don’t have to type, is just “technology”.

  1. I agree and I do hope that we are moving towards this. I think that all students should have the be ability to access tools that makes their work more efficient, effective and clear. As a learning resource teacher who trains kids with LDs in the use of technology, my experience has been that the other students wish they were getting the training as well. When I come into a class with my learning resource netbooks, I often have kids ask if they could have a turn to be trained. While they do get some opportunities with the whole class in the lab, I look forward to the day when all students can have easy access to technology in the classroom whenever they need it.

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