Defining Effective Assistive Technologies
The National Center for Technology Innovation has recently released a new paper called "Unleashing the Power of Innovation for Assistive Technology." The paper describes the ideal elements of assistive technologies, which are broken down into five categories:
• Convergence, which refers to a "transformation of various systems or devices into a single platform or device";
• Customizability and universal design for learning, which means it is "designed to be configured to meet the unique needs of individuals;"
• Research or evidence-based, which means it is "supported by evidence of effectiveness for students with disabilities";
• Portability to promote independence, which refers to "assistive technology that offers flexibility to be used in various settings and moves with the user"; and
• Interoperability, which is "the ability of two or more systems to exchange information."
Bottom line, concludes the report, is that the assistive technologies need to be simple to learn, use, and support. The report also talks about the ways that funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act can be used to support assistive technologies, as well as findings about how assistive technology is implemented into the classroom.
When I look back at the list of five trends, it seems like it could easily be applied to technology in the classroom in general. Check out the full report for a much more detailed rundown of the importance of each of the five trends.