Raising Awareness of Assistive Technology: A new tool by AHEAD to help guide people to AT options.

‘Both UDL and AT work to overcome barriers, provide access, and support participation for
students with disabilities.’ (Rose, Hasselbring, Stahl, and Zabala, 2005)

Assistive Technology, or AT for short, has evolved in an awe inspiring way over the past few decades and its possibilities to empower students to overcome learning barriers has never been so abundant. Raising awareness about AT and its ability to support our diverse learners is needed and In AHEAD, we are raising awareness about Assistive Technology and addressing this gap in AT knowledge. In our website, we have created a section dedicated to AT that has not only information about different types of AT to support reading, writing, organization, collaboration, communication as well as magnification and more, but we have added a section called ‘Discover your Assistive Technology’ that has 3 simple questions for you to answer. At the end of answering 3 simple questions, a list of AT tools are created that are starting points to help focus and begin peoples exploration of AT. This tool is accessible to everyone as we want all types of people from all walks of life to try this tool and delve into the world of Assistive Technology. We invite you to try it and share it with others as there are so many possibilities with AT and how it can help people of all ages and backgrounds.

‘Assistive technology is essential in the application of a UDL instructional design and, in return, a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides accessible Curriculum Content, helping to raise the value of Assistive Technology’ (Basham, Israel, Graden, Poth, &Winston, 2010).

AT and UDL are a powerful partnership as they offer learners choice about how they access and express knowledge. Now AT options are available on all devices and digital eco systems like Google Workspace and Office 365, so learners have many AT options at hand and our ‘Discover your AT’ website helps to guide them to appropriate technologies in a focused way.

Take time to try ‘Discover your Assistive Technology’ and explore AT types for your devices that can help you in different ways.

By: Trevor Boland, eLearning and Digital Office, AHEAD