Low-Tech Solutions for High-Interest Instruction
Not all assistive technology involves computers, tablets, or software. Sure, it is fun to have shiny new devices that are full of bells and whistles, but the key is to utilize items that best support the needs of a particular student. Hamm, Mistrett, and Ruffino (2006) asserted that low-tech devices are often preferable for teachers as they tend to be inexpensive, readily available, and easy to access.
When we happen upon an exciting high-tech device, it can be tempting to force fit a way to use it with our students. It is essentialthat assistive technology devices are chosen based on specific need. While some students may greatly benefit from a tablet or laptop, other students may find such high tech solutions distracting (Reichle, 2011).
The great news is that you have potential low-tech solutions all around your classroom.
Some popular examples include:
Used as a slant board, a binder provides an inclined surface to help students with writing.
Inexpensive shelf liner (look at the dollar store) is great for keeping objects in place on a student’s desk.
Identify particular words or passages of a text on which students should focus.
A ruler can be used to help students monitor the line of text that is being read.
Hamm, E. M., Mistrett, S. G., and Ruffino, A. G. (2006). Play outcomes and satisfaction with toys and technology of young children with special needs. Journal of Special Education Technology, 21(1), 29-42.
Reichle, J. (2011). Evaluating assistive technology in the education of persons with severe disabilities. Journal of Behavioral Education, 20, 77-85.
The term “intellectual disability” is used when describing a very broad and diverse group of students. Here, you will find information and resources for professionals whose students access the curriculum through the Aligned Standards of Learning (ASOLs).
The I’M DETERMINED Project is all about helping students learn self-determination skills. Browse the site to learn about many great resources. You will find tools such as the One Pager and Good Day Plan, which help students take an active role in goal planning, the IEP process, transitioning, and behavior planning. Best of all, you will find templates for the tools, authentic student examples, and videos of teachers & students using these tools.
Are you in need of a little inspiration today? Check out this video and then “take the path that leads to awesome!”
Tar Heel Reader is a free site that offers thousands of high-interest e-books for students. All texts are switch accessible.
Writing with Alternative Pencils is a great option for students who cannot hold a writing utensil or use a keyboard.