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Using Assistive Technology in Special Education

For many students, technology may seem like something they just use for fun outside of the classroom, but for people with special needs, it can be the key to unlocking new educational doors. The use of technology in special education isn’t exactly new, but the technology being used is rapidly evolving. Those with a master’s in educational technology can be the leadership that school districts need to ensure that the implementation of new devices is the most effective tool to help students learn.

Giving a Voice to Students

Non-verbal students create a special kind of challenge for an educator. Using technology in special education settings can help students communicate through the devices specifically. By typing in and having a program create audible output, the student can better communicate with instructors. Sometimes these are programs on a standard tablet or device, but sometimes they are specially designed devices called Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices.

Gaining Independence

While some students are gaining a voice through using technology in special education, others are using technology to gain more independence. For example, for a student with mobility issues, specific applications can replicate the whiteboard on a tablet and also recreate their interactions on the whiteboard for the class. Using these types of devices can offer these students a way to perform tasks on their own without assistance from an aide.

Leadership for Implementation

Implementing these types of devices is no easy task. It takes a well-trained professional who can navigate the technical and social aspects to install devices and applications. By earning a master’s in educational technology, professionals can be sure that they will be able to do exactly that. Assistive technology can be life-changing for those with disabilities.

From devices that allow those with no voice to speak to applications that connect students to physical devices that they couldn’t use otherwise, helping those with disabilities have equal access to education is no easy task, but with technology it can be easier to accomplish. Proper training for staff and support for students is vital, but training for the professional who will be leading the project is even more important.

Learn about the Lamar University M.Ed. in Educational Technology Leadership program.


Sources:

http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/fort-worth/article20782497.html

https://www.edsurge.com/n/2014-12-15-inside-the-special-education-classroom-how-tech-can-help-special-needs-students


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