The past three decades have witnessed a revolution in technology that has transformed every area of modern life from communications to business to travel to education. The advances in classroom technology are incredible to say the least, but innovations in technology for special education are particularly revolutionary.
Students, who in the past may have been hindered from recognizing their full potential, are now finding powerful new ways to grow, learn, and thrive with the help of technology.
Types of Technology for Special Education
Technology for students with special needs comes in many different shapes and forms to meet the equally diverse set of educational needs that these students have. Here are just a few exciting examples of the technologies available for special needs students:
1. Text-to-Speech Technology
Students who have difficulty reading—whether from dyslexia, visual impairment, or some other learning disability—can now utilize Text-to-Speech (TTS) technology. This technology has matured greatly over the past years. At its core, TTS takes written text and transforms it into audio, allowing student to process text aurally. Kurzweil is a leader in TTS technology, and the Kurzweil 3000 is one of the most popular TTS solutions on the market today.
2. Voice-recognition software
Voice recognition provides a compelling alternative to a keyboard for students with special needs. In the past, voice-recognition was often a standalone software solution that schools had to purchase. While these specialized solutions still exist today, they have been almost entirely eclipsed by the native voice-recognition tools in nearly every smartphone, tablet, and computer (e.g. Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant).
3. Sip-and-Puff Systems
Sip-and-puff devices from companies such as Orin are especially beneficial for students that do not have the use of their hands. By sipping or puffing into a tube, students send an air pressure signal to a sensor that is used to control a wide variety of devices, such as motorized wheelchairs and computers. This technology has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for students.
6. Virtual reality technology
Virtual and augmented reality tools now allow students to learn through visual experiences. Systems like InclusiveVR offer VR/AR tools to immerse students in 360-degree visual experiences, where they can learn and explore the world in new and compelling ways. These tools also let teachers personalize experiences to meet any student’s special needs.
7. Assistive Technology for Writing
Students with dyslexia or other learning disabilities can benefit from assistive technology like Ghotit, which helps them eliminate the frustration that can often be associated with reading and writing. Tools include predictive typing, proofreading, read-aloud capabilities, and much more to help reduce errors in writing, as well as the frustration that can be caused by a learning disability.
8. Math Learning Tools
There is an especially innovative wave of new solutions for learning math. For example, MathTalk lets students use voice commands for completing math work. Tools like Snowflake let students interactive visually with math on interactive touchscreen panels. Teachers can also use Snowflake to create customized, interactive lessons for their students.
9. Touchscreen Technology
From tablets to smartphones to interactive touchscreen panels, touchscreen technology is especially useful in today’s classrooms, as it allows all students to interact with classroom instruction through touch. We are especially passionate about our touch screen panels, which opens the door to countless possibilities for teaching and learning. Useful accessories also enable further learning and accessibility. For example, table-top mounts allow students in wheelchairs to more easily access the panel.
Benefits of using technology for special education
Schools today are developing and implementing effective special education technology strategies that are ensuring no students are left behind in the educational process. The benefits of a thoughtful approach to using technology for students with special needs include the following:
Every student learns differently. Some learn by seeing, others by hearing, and others by experiencing, and every student deserves the chance to learn, regardless of ability or style. The wide range of technologies available give teachers an extensive toolkit from which to draw to meet their students’ particular needs. The result is improved learning.
Personalization to student needs
Many of the technologies listed above give teachers useful new capabilities that they can combine in a personalized way for each student’s special needs. For example, Snowflake gives teachers the ability to create personalized lessons that combine visual, audio, and interactive elements. These lessons can also be saved and shared with students on any device.
Helping students realize their full potential
Every student deserves a chance to achieve his or her full potential. Technology not only enhances the educational experience through improved learning and personalization, but it also extends students’ capabilities. By providing the appropriate technology for a student’s particular situation, you are enabling them to overcome their disability, grow their confidence, and achieve at the very highest possible level. Nothing is more rewarding!
Clear Touch Interactive’s touchscreen panels are a technology solution designed for maximum usability. The interactive nature of this learning tool means that you can accommodate nearly every type of learning style, and a wide range of accessories ensures you can meet any situation. For example, our mobile stands let you transform your touchscreen panel into an interactive table-top display that easily accommodates students in wheelchairs.
Contact us today to find out more about how these devices can improve your ability to serve students with special needs.