With all the challenges teachers are facing and have many diverse needs in the classroom, I can’t imagine the classroom without assistive technology. Although it can be timely and costly, the benefits can have a huge impact and the barriers that may come in the way, are definitely worth fighting for.
In my 5 years of teaching, I have to say that my favorite assistive technology I have used and am currently using is the FM system (if you want more info about the hearing system, check this website out http://www.hearingloss.ca/fm-systems/)
If you have never used or heard of an FM system, it is basically a headpiece that the teacher wears that has a little mic on it. In the room somewhere there is a speaker hooked up and my voice projects throughout the whole classroom.
I often get told I look like a superstar-singer (LOL)!!!
Anyways, The reason why I need to wear it is for a student I have in my class who has a hearing impairment. I absolutely love it. In fact, I believe it does not only benefit the child with the hearing impairment but the entire class.
Below, are some reflections questions (that were used for last weeks prompt) that I thought were good reflection questions for this week too!
|Why did you choose this tool?||I chose this the FM system because I am currently using it. I also got the opportunity to use it in my second year of teaching.|
|Challenges to getting set up to use the tool||In the past, I have had a few challenges with the FM system. However, usually, when I do have a challenge it has to do with the on and off button. It often gets stuck. As well, I have had an experience where the batteries blew up in the system and that part needed to be replaced.
This becomes challenging because when it is sent away to get fixed, the student with a hearing impairment is without the adaption.
|Student response to the tool||The student loves the tool. The student can hear instructions, and not miss out on anything said in the class.|
|How did you use the tool for assessment||n/a|
|Pros/Cons to using the tool||Pros
In saying that, I think it’s safe to say that some limitations to assistive technology in the class can definitely be the cost, as well as the process in which it takes to actually get an assistive technology.
Budgets in education continue to be cut and therefore funding for things such as this become more and more sparse. As well, the waitlists for referrals are extremely LONG. What should take weeks to get something may take months, in which learning time is sacrificed.
I appreciated the section on Universal design in this weeks presentation by Channing, Kelsey, Jill, Haiming. I think it’s important for all teachers to recognize just how much UD can benefit our students. Below is a snippet from the article Universal Design for Learning in BC: that they posted that outlines the many implications it can have on teachers and students.
“UDL provides a framework for addressing the diversity of learners in our classrooms. Rather than individually adapting for each student’s needs, teachers create student-focused environments by designing curriculum that is accessible to a wide range of learners. This systematic approach removes learning barriers by clarifying learning intentions and providing fl exible instructional environments.”
Sage could not have said it any better. “With advances in assistive technology, the classroom has become more and more accessible to students. It allows for “flexible and differentiated learning experiences [and increased] student engagement and independence” (Source). “
Overall, I think using assistive technology in our classroom to meet the needs of our diverse students is very important. Children are so much more comfortable and confident when they know their teacher is doing everything they can to help them be successful in class despite what their needs are.
Thanks for reading:)
What is your favorite assistive tech that you have used?!