Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Journal # 7

Disabled Bodies, Able Minds: Giving Voice, Movement, and Independence to the Physically Challenged, by Diane Curtis
Published on 2/2/05 in The Journal

In this article the author, Diane Curtis, discusses the new opportunities available to students who live with disabilities as a result of the advances made in assistive technologies and alternative augmentative communication devices. The author also discusses the importance of making these new opportunities and technological resources available to the students who need them. Curtis says that “DO-IT, the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, and other widespread efforts and laws seem to have created a greater determination among students and parents to make sure disabled people are included in all activities”. Assistive technologies are a great way to allow kids who live with disabilities to participate in a wider of school activities. Moreover, in the past, students with special needs relied on aids to take notes, to take tests, to communicate, and so on. But with new assistive technologies, kids can do many of these tasks on their own. This empowers students and gives them some much needed independence.
I found this article interesting because it reminds us that assistive technologies, like other educational technologies, offer many horizons and opportunities for both teachers and students. Educators, schools, and districts need to educate themselves about what’s out there so that they can make the best out of the resources available, and provide all of their students with the best education possible.

Question 1:
Why is it that full time aids are not adequate substitutes for assistive technologies?

While classroom aids can be a very valuable resource for students who live with disabilities and their teachers, they are not a substitute for assistive technologies. If students have access to assistive technologies they can communicate on their own, they can do their own assignments both inside and outside of class, and they can participate in many activities without any need for constant adult supervision and assistance. This gives them some independence which may be important in developing their self-esteem, and their ability to socialize with their peers.

Question 2:
Assistive technologies are wonderful tools that help make education more equitable by empowering students who live with disabilities. What are some other ways that technology can be used to make education more equitable?

There are many ways that technology can be used to enrich education and make it more equitable. For instance technologies offer educators many tools for reaching children with a wide variety of learning styles and academic abilities, children with learning disabilities, and English language learners. Technology also provides many resources for teachers looking to broaden the scope of their curriculum and make their teaching more multicultural.