Teachers Use Edtech to Invent Open-ended Accessibility Tools

When you think of assistive technology, chances are you’re thinking about specialized technology like speech-to-text software, Braille note-taking devices, and screen magnifiers — tools that serve a specific purpose. Think again. Teachers are using edtech to create homegrown, open-ended accessibility tools for their students and here at Douglas Stewart, Co., we’re loving these teacher-inventors who spark fun and better learning for their special education students.

3D printing for accessibility

3D printing is a 21st-century learning tool that lets students unleash their creativity. Now teachers are creating their own tools to bridge the accessibility gap. Teachers with blind or visually impaired students find that if they need to explain an object, then can 3D print the object and let their students touch and learn. One teacher designed and printed a plastic quadrant graph that works with reusable push pins that eliminated the need for separate embossed graphs for each problem. Click here to learn more about 3D inventions for education accessibility.

3D Printers for Education

Inspired to start 3D printing? These 3D printers from FlashForge are easy-to-use and reliable printers that work well for classrooms and makerspaces. Besides designed to be beginner-friendly, these models all have enclosed print chambers to keep students safe.

Shop FlashForge 3D printers here.

STEAM learning tool doubles as assistive tech

Makey Makey is an invention literacy kit for K-12 schools that can teach kids to become inventors. Students plug Makey Makey into a computer and transform everyday conductive objects into touchpads. Makey Makey’s plug & play apps offer hands-on lessons for teachers and students; however, come creative K-12 teachers, therapists, and even students are creating their own assistive teach to aid special education students. Click here to see some examples of students using Makey Makey to create assistive tech.

Shop Makey Makey here.  

Special educator spotlight

Melissa Abadia, an Adaptive Physical Education Specialist for San Leandro Unified School district, broke down barriers for students at her school when she invented a way for children in wheelchairs to play kickball. Her invention, the Kicker Helper, is an amazing way to make recess exciting. Click here to learn about the Kicker Helper. While Abadia created this invention without edtech, we thought this invention is an incredible inspiration for future teacher-inventors.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Sources:

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-08-14-with-3d-technology-special-education-students-can-focus-on-content-not-access

https://makeymakey.com/blogs/blog/assistive-technology-occupational-therapy-and-more-accessibility-resources

https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/teacher-techie-team-up-to-make-recess-more-fun-for-disabled-students/79929/

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