Today every average school in India has got a great mixture of 60+ students many of which are specially challenged. The specially challenged include: slow learners, gifted, dyslexics, [including dyscalculia and dysgraphia, autistic, visually challenged, speech and hearing impaired /challenged and many other learning disabilities as well as behavioural problems.
It becomes a difficult task for the learner to adjust to the pace of the average class as well as for the teacher to stick to the time schedule and still meet the demands of every learner.
Here , the discussion is about how learner diversity (visual and hearing impairments and common learning disabilities and marginalized learners) can be addressed using the simple ICT techniques already available, and how they can be brought into the main education stream and make learning accessible.
ICT as a tool of Assistive Technology can be very well used to address the needs of the students suffering from Sensory Impairments, speech & language impairments as well as specific learning impairments. The most common specific learning impairments can be said to be dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia.
Learning-impaired students may have problems with oral expression, listening, written expression, basic reading skills or comprehension, and maths. Moreover, this situation provokes complications in general schooling, e.g. acquisition and memorization, autonomous understanding of complex texts, problem-solving.
Since these difficulties stay for a lifetime, the whole focus is to learn to cope with it. For this reason, to support education and rehabilitation, here are some AT tools and tricks to overcome the obstacles that these learning difficulties create in academic achievements.
|Using the keyboard||The availability of the whole range of letters shortens the time needed to remember the right letter shape and write it. To push digital keys is easier than to write with a pen|
|Using the spelling corrector||It prevents from making many mistakes in writing words; students can correct their document before printing it, and get advice from the built-in thesaurus|
|Using software to create
|To facilitate meta-cognitive activities of content planning and outlining in a logical structure to circumvent short, poor, and incoherent texts|
|Using voice recognition
as input system
|An alternative to the keyboard to avoid spelling mistakes, tiredness and to support long and complex writing activities|
|Severity of difficulties||Possible solutions|
|Mild reading difficulties||Software to change the appearance of the text by modifying the font, dimensions, background colour and contrast, spacing between letters and between lines
Rehabilitation and educational software to improve reading speed and accuracy
|Severe reading difficulties||Speech synthesizers, OCRs (Optical Character Recognition Systems)|
It only takes simple ICT techniques as AT that work wonders for mild and medium difficulties ensuring inclusion in community life later too. All that is needed is the desire to change for the betterment.