Assistive technology is a topic that I feel very foreign to. This is perhaps the number one reason why I chose this topic for my tech inquiry project. When I look back at my elementary years, I have a difficult time recalling any use of technology in the classroom, besides of course, scheduled computer lab time. I know that this is certainly not the case anymore and I am looking forward to continuing to familiarize myself with this idea.
So what exactly is assistive technology? Heres what I have gathered thus far: Assistive Technology is a broad idea that describes a number of platforms and devices to aid those with disabilities. This idea seems to be quite obvious but entails such a variety of technologies. Assistive Technology (AT) is not strictly electronics but describes even the most simple of tools, an example being a pencil grip. An excellent website I found describes AT in three broad terms: No-tech, Low-tech, and High-Tech. This was very intriguing as I had previously only assumed AT to be high-level electronics. Additionally, this sheds light on a very important idea that suggests how the smallest of changes can hugely benefit a student.
Taken from develop.bc.ca
This being said AT is not only used in schools but in a wide variety of facilities to support those of all ages in their daily lives.
Now that there is an understanding of what Assistive Technology is, we can ask the next question: How are British Columbia Teachers currently implementing AT into their classrooms? After looking into a number of different websites I came across The Greater Victoria School District 61’s Technology for Learning Plan as of October 2017.
This district created a number of goals related to the use of technology in their schools and provided strategies as to how they were going to reach those goals. The most commonly discussed aspect of AT was the need for mobile technology and the question of how the use of technology can be used to track a students learning and success. I could not find a clear answer to this question but I imagine that technology is measured differently in every classroom based on every student’s individual needs.
These ideas are not just specific to School District 61 but are a common theme across the province for how schools would like to implement technology into their classrooms. Technology is constantly changing, which means classroom use is simultaneously changing with it. However, the common goal of all schools seems to be the idea of giving students access to a wide variety of technologies in the classroom in order to aid and progress their learning.