Expanded Core Curriculum

Assistive Technology

This technology enables students to access information, participate in age-appropriate activities, or complete a task independently or with minimal assistance. The term “assistive technology” refers to a broad range of devices, such as video magnifiers (i.e., closed circuit televisions), low vision devices, computers with Braille input/output, Braille embossers, software used to vary print size, large screen monitors, talking calculators, etc. Instruction in the use of assistive technology begins in the preschool years and evolves as the needs of students change. Mastery of assistive technology contributes to the development of literacy and academic success, social interaction among peers, independence and the potential of future employment.

Taken from:
Alberta Education. Special Programs Branch. (2006).  Appendix A of Essential Components of Educational Programming for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired.
Online Modules
The online training modules that are included in this section are designed to provide students, educational assistants, teachers, parents and others with an introduction to the implementation of some of the assistive devices that students are using in their educational programs.  We encourage you to learn more advanced features by studying the user’s manuals or going to the manufacturer’s websites.
Handouts from previously held Alberta Workshops:

iPad Workshop Powerpoint

20 Apps for iPads that Educators Can't Live Without  

BraillePen 12 Commands with Apple Products

Explore with the iPad: Accessibility Resources and Tips

Additional Links

Tips and Tricks: Improving Accessibility to Electronic Board Notes for Students with Visual Impairments
This resource, created by Brenda Bentz and Niels Nicolajsen, contains tips and tricks that are designed to assist the classroom teacher in enhancing the visual quality of the digital materials that are presented in the classroom.  A practice which, the authors note, will not only benefit the student with low vision, but all students. 

Assistive Technology News

From their site: 
“Axistive is the world’s leading news portal for assistive technology, providing a wide range of free services including product reviews, industry news, market trends, workshops, downloads, and product and organization information.” (retrieved January 20, 2009)

The Center for Accessible Technology
The ‘Center for Accessible Technology’ is a non-profit organization that works towards increasing the accessibility of technology for people with disabilities.  Some of their services include: consulting services to businesses, advice on increasing the accessibility of websites, and giving people with disabilities the opportunity to conduct product testing.

Voice Print
Voice Print is a Canadian site that provides an audio stream of various full-text newspaper files, free of charge.  Streaming audio runs on Windows Media Player.

A link to HumanWare’s homepage.  HumanWare is one of the leading retailers of assistive technology in Canada.

Special Education Technology - British Columbia (SET-BC) is a government organization that provides assistive technology equipment and services to students with disability, including those with visual impairment.  The following link to their website contains an extensive list of on-line assistive technology resources. 

TSBVI Assistive Technology
A technology reference page from the Texas School for the Blind’s website. This page contains links to the other technology-related information on their site, thus making it an ideal starting place for a search of their site.

Dance Mat Typing
A free on-line touch-typing program for younger students.  Its usefulness would depend on the student’s functional vision.