Assistive technologies and online learning
Assistive technologies and online learning

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Assistive technologies and online learning

3 Specialist assistive technology

In Activity 2, you tried some assistive technology using tools that come with an operating system. For those students who have sufficient funding, there are more powerful tools. These have features such as customisation for different user needs and different applications. Here we have a look at some of those by listening to some of the students who use them.

Firstly, we should read what students have to say about how these specialist technologies enabled them to participate in online learning:

In the Glasgow Caledonian University Library there is a disability room. This is equipped with items such as large display screens on computers, screen readers, screen magnifiers, scanners, CCTV units to enlarge the print of any document and Braille printers that are invaluable to students with disabilities. The room can also be used for exams where the exam papers are provided in large print or electronic format. I additionally have the use of a computer at home that has all the software installed to enable me to complete the course.

James Owens (SKILL, 2006).

But there are problems that are faced by the students too:

They have done my DSA (Disabled Students’ Allowance) assessment, and I’m waiting for approval, which should come through this Friday, then my equipment will be in place. I applied in September but it’s taken about a term. I tried to apply earlier but it took ages to get the application form so by the time I sent it, it was too late to have equipment organised for the first term.

Emmanuel Osei-Tutu (SKILL, 2007).
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