First of all, let me start my blog post by thanking Haiming, Channing, and, Kelsey for an exciting and informative presentation about Assistive Technologies and tools which greatly enrich our classrooms. The interesting perspectives they shared throughout their presentation was so inspiring, and I must say that I was impressed with the whole concept of assistive technology and the fantastic way of presenting the facts. Even though Assistive technology was created to aid students with the special need but today it has gone beyond that purpose by helping even those students who require more support and assistance in carrying out a specific task.
After the presentation, I began to reflect my own experience using Assistive technology. Assistive technology can be a massive help for students with mathematics learning problems like dyscalculia. As a mathematics educator, I have used several Assistive technology tools for math which are common in most math classrooms, like
talking calculators and graph paper. However, there are many other Assistive technology tools which can effectively enrich our teaching practice and in return help students. I couldn’t agree more with my classmate Amy.C when she states “With all the challenges teachers are facing and have many diverse needs in the classroom, we can’t imagine the class without assistive technology. But having said that as a mathematics educator, it was always essential for me to first to understand how a student struggle with math and that understanding helped me to figure out which assistive technology tools suit that particular child.
Using technology just for the sake of using it will never serve the purpose, as an educator, I think we must first have to analyze what the situation demands and which assistive technology to use to that particular situation. In short education to educators is vital because many teachers do not have an adequate level of knowledge and skills of using assistive technology and the article “Teachers Knowledge and Use of Assistive Technology for Students with Special Educational Needs” provided by the presentation team is an excellent example, which showcases the need of assistive technology knowledge and skills among teachers.
In my seven years of teaching experience, I have used many assistive technology tools in my classroom. I have utilized various kinds of Calculators, Math notation tools, graphing tools, drawing tools which help students draw lines, shapes, angles and other geometric topographies, Equation-solving tools, Manipulatives, and Text-to-speech. These Assistive technology tools for math are designed to help students who struggle with computing, organizing, aligning, and copying math problems down on paper. Such Assistive technology tools not only help students with special needs but also will be a boon for those students who are struggling with math and overcoming math difficulties.
Finally, as a math educator, I am curious to know which math assistive technology tools are being used in your classroom? And are they effective?