Copyright
Psychology Courses / Course / Chapter

Assistive Technology Devices in the Classroom| Assistive Technology Examples

Randi Smith, Rebecca Harkema, Lesley Chapel
  • Author
    Randi Smith

    Randi has 15+ years of experience in education between the grades of 2-8. She has instructed learners in all subject areas, along with developing differentiated curriculum for English Language Learners and students with special needs. She is certified in K-5 education, gifted education, and every core subject classification in middle grades. She has successfully created curriculum and built an online teacher's resource store house on TeachersPayTeachers.com. This store currently has over 6,500 active followers, over 30,000 positive ratings, and has produced a total of $325,000 in revenue since 2012. She is an expert unit planner, curriculum and resource developer, and writer of curriculum materials for educators. She has experience with delivering professional development in ELA, Mathematics, and the use of technology in the classroom. She has served in multiple roles as both an ELA and Mathematics content specialist. She is skilled in project management, communication, and involving stakeholders in the instructional setting.

  • Instructor
    Rebecca Harkema

    Becca teaches special education and is completing her doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

  • Expert Contributor
    Lesley Chapel

    Lesley has taught American and World History at the university level for the past seven years. She has a Master's degree in History.

Learn about assistive technology in the classroom as well as schools and see examples of each. View the benefits and the different types of assistive technology. Updated: 01/27/2022

Assistive Technology in the Classroom

Assistive Technology (AT) is any device, software, or piece of equipment that helps a person with disabilities to communicate, function, or learn more easily. Assistive technology can be high-tech or very low -tech. Regardless of its complexity, using assistive technology in the classroom has greatly benefitted learners with a wide range of disabilities. Assistive technology (AT) has shown to be beneficial in improving students' learning experiences.

Assistive devices have been beneficial for learners struggling with

  • Attention Disorders (ADD, ADHD)
  • Organizational Difficulties
  • Specific Learning Disabilities (Reading, Writing, Mathematics)
  • Physical Impairments
  • Communicative Dysfunctions (Autism, Mutism, Speech/Language Disorders)
  • Mental Disabilities
  • Emotional Disabilities

Assistive Technology

When you think of assistive technology, do you think about complex computer programs or expensive equipment? Although some types of assistive technology can be complex and costly, there are many kinds of assistive technology that are simple and cost-effective. In fact, you may not even realize that you own at least one or two pieces of assistive technology!

Assistive technology (AT) is defined as any device, program, or piece of equipment that helps a student learn, function, or communicate better. In this lesson, we will learn how AT can support different types of learners and some of the common devices that are used in schools.

You will probably be surprised that you use AT more often than you think. Actually, you may be using it right now!

Students with disabilities often use AT, as it can help them overcome areas of weakness by using their strengths. Even though AT does not eliminate a student's disability, it can help a student perform to his or her potential.

AT can help support students in many different areas. In academics, AT can support students in the areas of reading, writing, and math. AT can also support students' organizational, memory, and listening skills. AT can help students communicate better, participate in social activities in school, and access content that would have been inaccessible to them otherwise.

AT can be organized into two categories: high-tech and low-tech. High-tech AT devices are usually more complex and more expensive than low-tech items. Let's take a look at some of the low-tech AT first. Be on the look out for items that you may own!

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Backwards Planning Tips for Teachers

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 Assistive Technology
  • 1:24 Low-Tech
  • 3:33 High-Tech
  • 4:58 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Examples of Assistive Technology in the Classroom

At present, a vast range of assistive technology is available to students with disabilities. These devices can range from very low-tech devices to very high-tech equipment. Detailed examples of these devices are below.

Low-Tech Assistive Technology

Assistive technology in the classroom does not have to be highly technical or expensive; many forms of assistive technology are pretty simple and easy to use. Some examples of low-tech assistive technology are

  • Canes, crutches, or walkers for students with physical disabilities
  • Fidget toys for students with hyperactivity or sensory input needs.
  • Pencil grips, adapted pencils, and colored writing instruments for students struggling with writing, grip, or information organization.
  • Large Print materials for students with visual accessibility needs.
  • Colored overlays for assisting students with reading disabilities with tracking their reading and following a text.
  • Word banks, sentence frames, adapted paper, and graphic organizers for students struggling with writing.
  • Visual schedules, checklists, planners for students struggling with organization and task management.

Image of highlighter on table

highlighter on table

High-Tech Assistive Technology

Assistive technology in modern schools can also be very high-tech and innovative. Technology-based assistive devices can be very expensive, but they are worth their cost due to their possibilities for struggling learners. Some examples of high-tech assistive technology in schools are

  • Augmented and alternative hearing/speaking devices (hearing aids, assistive listening devices, text to speech, picture to speech) for students with hearing/speaking difficulties.
  • Electric wheelchairs, standing wheelchairs, etc. for learners with physical disabilities.
  • Alternative keyboards are designed with the disabled student in mind, often having features like oversized keys, color-coded keys, and key guards to allow learners with visual disabilities to type and/or interact with a computer more efficiently.
  • Screen readers for students with reading or visual disabilities.
  • Voice recognition software allows students with physical limitations or writing disabilities to speak aloud to write.
  • CCTV, amplifiers, and digital sound devices for students with limited or no hearing.
  • Timers and clocks are assistive technology devices that allow students with disabilities to self-manage their work time and stay organized and on task during learning activities.
  • Modified paper is another assistive device that increases accessibility for learners struggling with handwriting or writing difficulties. Raised line paper allows students to adjust or monitor the size of their writing to encourage writing mastery.
  • Predictive text software is designed to assist struggling writers by using a computer to write while receiving suggestions for the next words to include, speeding up their writing pace and encouraging them to write more.

Handheld Assistive Listening Device

Image of Assistive Listening Device

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Video Transcript

Assistive Technology

When you think of assistive technology, do you think about complex computer programs or expensive equipment? Although some types of assistive technology can be complex and costly, there are many kinds of assistive technology that are simple and cost-effective. In fact, you may not even realize that you own at least one or two pieces of assistive technology!

Assistive technology (AT) is defined as any device, program, or piece of equipment that helps a student learn, function, or communicate better. In this lesson, we will learn how AT can support different types of learners and some of the common devices that are used in schools.

You will probably be surprised that you use AT more often than you think. Actually, you may be using it right now!

Students with disabilities often use AT, as it can help them overcome areas of weakness by using their strengths. Even though AT does not eliminate a student's disability, it can help a student perform to his or her potential.

AT can help support students in many different areas. In academics, AT can support students in the areas of reading, writing, and math. AT can also support students' organizational, memory, and listening skills. AT can help students communicate better, participate in social activities in school, and access content that would have been inaccessible to them otherwise.

AT can be organized into two categories: high-tech and low-tech. High-tech AT devices are usually more complex and more expensive than low-tech items. Let's take a look at some of the low-tech AT first. Be on the look out for items that you may own!

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

  • Activities
  • FAQs

Prompts About Assistive Technology in the Classroom:

Definition Prompt:

Provide the definition of assistive technology (AT) in approximately two to three sentences.

Example: Assistive Technology aids many different types of learners.

Essay Prompt:

Write an essay of approximately three to four paragraphs that explains how assistive technology can be used in the classroom.

Example: Assistive technology can help students become more proficient readers.

Graphic Organizer Prompt 1:

Create a chart or poster that lists and describes low-tech AT devices (timer, calendar or planner, graphic organizer, pencil grip, raised line paper, highlighters or highlighter tape, reading guide, magnifier, talking calculator).

Example: You could draw each item and then write explanatory text next to it. For instance, for highlighter, you could literally draw a highlighter with a highlighter!

Graphic Organizer Prompt 2:

Make a chart or poster that lists and describes high-tech AT devices (audio recorder, text-to-speech software or audio books, alternative keyboard, speech recognition software, word prediction, portable word processor, talking spell check).

Tip: It might be more difficult to draw the high-tech AT devices than the low-tech ones. But, you could do a Google Image search for these high-tech devices to see what they look like.

What are the benefits of assistive technology in the classroom?

Using assistive techology in the classroom benefits the learner by allowing access to material and easier communication. Students are able to learn cause and effect relationships, develop fine motor skills, and increase overall academic progress.

What are some examples of assistive technologies?

Low tech assistive technologies can include adapted paper, graphic organizers, pencil grips, highlighters, and highlighters. High tech devices include voice recognition software, modified keyboards, voice to text programs, and electric wheelchairs.

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Resources created by teachers for teachers

Over 30,000 video lessons & teaching resources‐all in one place.
Video lessons
Quizzes & Worksheets
Classroom Integration
Lesson Plans

I would definitely recommend Study.com to my colleagues. It’s like a teacher waved a magic wand and did the work for me. I feel like it’s a lifeline.

Jennifer B.
Teacher
Jennifer B.
Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account