I’ve really enjoyed spending time on my genius hour topic this summer! I started out not knowing anything about assistive technology, to spending my free time on Pinterest discovering the most creative ways to incorporate it into my future classroom. I’ve learned all about the types of AT, low-tech to high-tech, and numerous examples of each. All of the low-tech tools have interested my most, and Universal Design for learning is definitely a framework I think all classrooms should support. It’s so important to find a way to teach each and every learner, and assistive technology is an innovative solution to this need in education. I’ve also enjoyed learning about the variety of disabilities that students in general classrooms have so I can use AT to aid them as best as I can.
This might be my last genius hour post, but I certainly am just beginning my research on assistive technology in general classrooms. I still need to learn about the type of students I will be working with each year before I can select any type of assistive technology to be used in my classroom. I want to continue learning more examples of AT so I can have ideas in my head when situations come up. Though I’ve learned about many apps and accessibility options for the iPhone and iPad, I plan to keep learning about new advances in these technologies and specific areas they will help with. With all of the saved links and resources, including my Symbaloo, I will continue to have access to the immense amount of information I have learned this summer.
All educators should have a general understanding on assistive technology. It’s important that they know that any type of learner can benefit from this learning tool, and that there are thousands of tools to choose from. Some teachers might not have access to technology, but low-tech tools support the needs of learners, with disabilities or not. Classroom setup is also a large part to teaching all learners; thinking about UDL and multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement include every student to learn to the best of their ability.
To continue my research, other students could focus on apps specifically that serve as an AT tool. There are so many for a wide range of learners that it could be a genius hour topic in itself! They could also focus on areas in the classroom and what tools could be added to each area. For example, the classroom library has interested me a lot during my research, and I could mention large font books, iPads for audio books, and comfortable seating to accommodate to specific needs. More areas could be group tables, the front of the classroom, etc. Overall, future students could spend a lot of time searching through resources to find less common devices that would be helpful to others.