The question I’m going to use for Genius Hour is, “How can assistive technology be used in general elementary classrooms?” My topic is vague for now because I want to explore a wide range of ideas that I will be able to use in my future classroom: devices, levels, aids, audience, and apps. I’m hoping to become overly interested in one of these ideas that will lead me to a more specific Genius Hour question. I’m totally new to the idea of assistive technology, but I know it is used more frequently in special education classes. I’m curious to find out how it can be used in a general classroom, what kind of tools work best for each learning disability, and the overall effectiveness of AT.
I was a peer leader for a Kindergarten class a few years back and one student in particular had a writing disability. He couldn’t grip a pencil well, which naturally made him a little behind when it came to writing sight words and numbers. The teacher decided to let him make letters using a variety of tools such as clay, sand, pencil grips, and highlighters. I saw this student become more independent and more successful in school. I’m pretty sure this is an example of low-tech assistive technology that I can use in my future classroom, but I would love to find out more.
All educators will be interested in my Genius Hour question and will discover many different technologies (and some low-tech/no-tech) that meet different disability needs. Assistive technology is important for educators inside and outside of special education for the purpose of constantly learning more about students. These individuals bring in countless strengths, weaknesses, disabilities, and skills to the classroom daily. As educators, it is our job to research and find the best way to instruct each learner to their particular need.
This is relevant to K12 education for the purpose of teaching in general and universal design for learning. UDL motivates learners and encourages effective instructional goals to better education. I will start looking for answers at various sites and teacher blogs, including Pinterest posts. I’m going to categorize each Genius Hour post based on topics. Some websites I plan on reading are: UDL, learning disabilities, AT in general education , and the most of learning. As I dig deeper into my question on AT, there are some people I followed on Twitter and relevant hashtags: @AssistTech, @pdsbAT, @ASHAWeb, @USSAAC, #edtech, and #assistivetech. For next week, I’m going to research more on assistive technology and what tools are most commonly used in general classrooms.