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Accessibility of eLearning
Accessibility of eLearning

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2 A brief overview of assistive technology

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Figure 7 Using assistive or enabling devices

Many disabled people use personal computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices with a wide range of adaptations, which are called assistive or enabling devices or technology. Sometimes these are adaptations to the operating system of the device, sometimes they are software solutions, and sometimes they are additional devices used in conjunction with the computing technology. In some countries there are schemes whereby students can receive financial support to buy assistive technologies for learning. There are also many free assistive technology software tools available (see below).

The benefits of assistive technology can be completely negated by poorly designed eLearning materials. We will examine ways to avoid this in Section 3. But first we need a brief overview of the kinds of assistive technologies used by people with impairments to access eLearning.