Sunday, July 1, 2018

Thoughts on Assistive Technology

As with most things in life, there are two extremes and then a middle "grey" area. I don't know anyone who is totally against using assistive technology with students, but there are those who are more reluctant. 

Assistive technology refers to the use of computer aids in reading and writing.  Here is a good overview from Lexercise:  Assistive Technology and Dyslexia

Those who are more reluctant to use this technology often voice the fear that students will not learn to read or write efficiently as they will come to depend on devices. 

My thought is that all student who come to me CAN learn to read and write efficiently and independently.  Assistive technology will assist them as they go though the process, but does not replace good reading / writing intervention.

Here is an example of how to balance and use assistive technology:  A student gets a long term research assignment on wolves.  Within reading intervention, we find a book on wolves that is at the appropriate instructional level.  We read this book slowly, reviewing and practicing strategies for decoding and comprehension.  In the meantime, the student's class is going through reading material at a much faster pace.  While the student is in the classroom, a text-to-speech reader is provided.  The student is a part of the classroom pace and content, and is also seeing the use and relevance of reading intervention. 

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