As consumer technologies are being fitted with assistive capabilities, special needs students are gaining access to the same tools and opportunities that mainstream students have.
Califone has introduced a new portable assistive listening system intended for use in auditoriums, lecture halls, school outings, or other situations where an instructor or guide requires amplification to be heard above surrounding ambient noise.
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has renewed its statewide license on the assistive software Read:OutLoud 6, which reads digital books aloud for students with print disabilities. Developed by Don Johnston Inc. and licensed through George Mason University's Accessible Instructional Materials Center (AIM-VA), the software helps approximately 170,000 students in 1,900 Virginia public schools.
With the help of a $100,000 supplemental grant from the United States Department of Education Office of Special Education (OSEP), Bookshare will begin to make open content textbooks accessible to readers with print disabilities, as well as to those without such disabilities who might nonetheless benefit from the technology.
Technology is helping to meet a critical 21st-century challenge: how to equip the swelling number of autistic students to enter the mainstream student population.
The California School Library Association (CSLA) has launched new teacher professional development resources focused on strengthening 21st century teaching skills. All of the resources are free.
Palm Springs Unified School District took its use of technology to a new level last month by opening an Assistive Technology Diagnostic Center that will serve as a local resource for students with cognitive, academic, and physical challenges. The new facility provides free assessments for local students who in the past were forced to travel two to three hours to receive such services.
Atomic Learning, a provider of online technology training and support, has expanded The Assistive Technology Collection, a suite of tutorials to help train users in a number of widely-used educational software applications and devices.
The NEC Foundation this week awarded grants to five different programs supporting special needs students, specifically students with disabilities. The grants, which focused largely on assistive technologies, totaled more than $230,000.