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Chapter image Chapter 18: Strategy 16: Assistive technology

Self Evaluation

Please rate yourself or a teacher you have closely observed.




16./17. Uses available information and communications technology

You appropriately employ available information and communications technology (ICT).

In the case of learners with special educational needs, appropriate assistive technology, including augmentative and alternative communication techniques, are employed.


Mitchell, 2014, pp191–201 and 202–212.

  1. Learners are taught to use ICT to its full capacity to gather, manipulate and communicate information and to solve problems.
  2. Where there are learners with special educational needs in the classroom, they are given access to and helped to use appropriate assistive technology, including augmentative and alternative communication techniques.
  1. Both indicators are fully met.
  2. Only one indicator is fully met and the second is only partly met.
  3. One or both indicators are only partly met.
  4. Neither indicator is met.

YouTubeYouTube links

How is technology transforming education? Sir Ken Robinson video series from Adobe Education. (2.22 UK)

Technology is changing the world rapidly, impacting the way students learn and opening new possibilities for educators. Sir Ken Robinson talks about the role of technology in education.


Changing education paradigms by Sir Ken Robinson – February 2012. (11.41 UK)

In this visually impressive presentation (worth watching if only for this – the ultimate mind map), Robinson offers a critique of contemporary education and its origins, and argues for creative and collaborative transformation in the classroom.


Meet Lianna – Assistive technology and cerebral palsy. (7.54 US)

Lianna has cerebral palsy, which affects her ability to move around independently as well as communicate with her voice. Lianna tried quite a few augmentative communication devices through the years and struggled to find an easy way to express her thoughts. Now a special eye-controlled camera attached to a computer gives her the ability to let the world know what she is thinking.


Assistive technology in action – Meet Elle (Dynabox). (3.42 US)

Elle, a 14-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who is able to communicate with family, friends and teachers, using Dynabox.


Assistive technology in action – Meet Sam. (4.15 US)

Sam, a young man with cerebral palsy who, with the help of AT, is a successful college student, blogger and sportsman. Fully captioned.


Assistive technology. (9.09 US)

A special education teacher introduces to a few assistive technology pieces she uses in her classroom.


websitesWeb links

Strengthening the use of assistive technology, Queensland Government.

Through three main projects, school leaders, teachers, teacher aides and support staff will be provided with training to strengthen their skills in the use of assistive technology in classrooms. These projects will be delivered regionally by assistive technology teachers: Digital Literacy, Support Teachers – Literacy and Numeracy and Assistive Technology in Tablet Devices PD Package.


Communication and assistive technology for people with disabilities, Scotland.

CALL (Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning) Scotland is a small unit within the Moray House School of Education, The University of Edinburgh. CALL is both a Service and a Research Unit.


Assistive technology: An overview.

This module offers an overview of assistive technology and explores ways to expand students’ access to it in the classroom.


Inclusive technology, special needs articles and information pages, UK.

This website offers practical advice to those who have any interest in special needs and information technology. In addition, it provides details of support organizations who may offer more general assistance regarding special needs.


Ability Net, UK.

AbilityNet focuses on accessibility and assistive technologies and provides a range of free services for disabled people, their family and friends, their employers and other people who care for them.


:/technogogy, UK.

The aim of  :/technogogy is to promote and expand the educational potential of new technologies through sound pedagogical exploitation. Here you can find materials and advice on the use of ICT, new technologies and social media in education.


Special Education Assistive Technology (SEAT) Center at Illinois State University.

The Special Education Assistive Technology Center at Illinois State University is a community of people working together to help individuals with disabilities through assistive technology.


The Family Center on Technology and Disability, US.

The Family Center on Technology and Disability is a resource designed to support organizations and programmes that work with families of children and youths with disabilities. It offers a range of information and services on the subject of assistive and instructional technologies. The website provides thousands of assistive and instructional technology resources of interest to families of children with disabilities, as well as access to fact sheets, PowerPoint presentations, monthly newsletters, online discussion and summer institute transcripts, a database of more than 3,500 organizations, a resource review database with hundreds of reviews of AT resources, and more.


The national public website on assistive technology, US.

Its mission is to provide access to information on AT devices and services, as well as other community resources for people with disabilities and the general public.


European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education.

European and International Policy Supporting ICT For Inclusion (2013)

This report deals with the following issues:

  1. ICT should be considered as a key tool for promoting equity in educational opportunities;
  2. Access to appropriate ICTs should be considered an entitlement;
  3. Training of educational staff in the use of general and specialist ICT must be considered a priority area;
  4. The promotion of ICT research and development requires a multi-stakeholder approach;
  5. Data collection and monitoring in the use of ICT in inclusion should beconsidered an area requiring attention at all levels of educational provision.


Assistive technology resources, New Zealand Ministry of Education.

A catalogue of software and assistive devices that can assist and support learning.


Report on current assistive technologies situation at the EU level, 2009.

The objective of this report is to analyze the current situation of the assistive technologies at European level, identifying the most innovative developments of the sector, the recent trends followed by the market and the different currently existing market niches.



A comprehensive information centre for assistive technology and rehabilitation equipment, AbleData is federally funded and sponsored by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in the US. The centre produces publications and fact sheets on product-purchasing information for individuals selecting assistive products.


Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd).

Housed at the American Institutes for Research in Washington, DC, the Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd) is a national technical assistance and dissemination project aimed at effectively integrating technology so that students with disabilities have access to the general education curriculum and high standards. CITEd focuses on knowledge development, implementation support, evaluation and scaling-up support, and information dissemination.


Described and captioned media program (DCMP).

The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP), previously known as the Captioned Media Program, is a service funded by the US Department of Education to provide captioned media materials for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, teachers, parents and others. The center offers more than 4,000 educational and general interest open-captioned titles. Levels range from pre-school to college, and many titles are available to stream from the DCMP’s website. Teachers/interpreters (including those still in training), other professionals, and family members whose use benefits these students qualify to borrow DCMP media through the mail or online. Classroom use of DCMP curricular media must include at least one student who is deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind in the audience. By federal law, the DCMP may only legally serve individuals, educational programs, and organizations in the US and its territories. Services can be provided to those located at US military bases in other countries if the qualifying students are American citizens.


Cumming T., Rodriguez, C.D. and Strnadova, I. (2013). Aligning iPad applications with evidence-based practices in inclusive and special education.

Special educators globally are adopting mobile technologies such as the iPad for use in classrooms for everything from textbook replacement to assistive technology. Despite the devices’ large potential for individualizing teaching, learning and communication, these are relatively new technologies, and the evidence base to support their use as teaching and learning tools in special education is scarce. This chapter discusses a theoretical framework and several methods that can be used to support the use of iPads to assist students with disabilities. It also details the potential uses of iPads and their corresponding applications for students in special education.


journalsJournal links

Maor, D. Currie, J. and Drewry, R. (2011). ‘The effectiveness of assistive technologies for children with special needs: A review of research-based studies’. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 26(3), 283–298.

This paper describes the results of a systematic search of research-based studies published in the last six years that examined the effectiveness of assistive technologies that have reading, writing, spelling and speech as their focus. After a rigorous process, fifteen empirical research articles were selected based on the following criteria: empirical studies involved students who identified as having special needs; the assistive technologies had a literacy and speech focus; participants were in years K–12; and a clear skill or academic improvement was shown. Findings revealed that while some programmes saw no improvement in spelling, reading or writing as a result of using the assistive technology, the majority of studies found consistently improved outcomes.