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A.T.TIPSCAST Episode #129: Redefining “Assistive Technology Device”

Download the audio directly – Episode 129: Redefining “Assistive Technology Device”

This episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST is sponsored by Texthelp, provider of the award-winning Read&Write software solutions. Click on the banner below to learn about the amazing Read&Write products.

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 Use promotion code ATTIPS14SAVE10 to get

10% off online orders of Read&Write!

Cannot be combined with other offers. Offer expires March 31, 2014.

Episode Overview-

Episode #129 features a reading of the blog post below which outlines challenges with the current definition of an assistive technology device and proposes a new way to define the term. I didn’t want to wait to record the audio to get these ideas across so the text below came out one day before the audio was posted.

Redefining “Assistive Technology Device”

by Christopher Bugaj

There is a problem with the definition of an assistive technology device. I am, someone who hosts a podcast, has co-written a book, authored an app, has a job title, and works in a profession which all use the common term “assistive technology” in the title, and yet I wonder if we either need to eliminate the term or, at least, redefine it.

Let’s start by quoting the definition of an “assistive technology device” as it stands with regards to education.

An “assistive technology device” is defined by education law as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.”

Let’s focus on the verb. I believe the verb is the crux of the problem with the definition. The verb in question is “used”.

Let’s put that into play with a made up example juxtaposing two students; one with a disability and one without. For the purposes of the example, I’m going to use a made up piece of technology and a generic task, because the tools and task don’t matter. It doesn’t matter whether the tool is high tech or low tech in relation to the definition.

Here’s the example:

“A student without a disability uses a flibbertyjibbet to learn math”. – We call the flibbertyjibbet “technology”.

“A student with a disability uses a flibbertyjibbet to learn math”. – We call the flibbertyjibbet “assistive technology”.

Both students are using the flibbertyjibbet to increase, maintain, or improve his or her functional math capabilities. The only difference between the two is that one has a disability and the other does not.

When used in this way, the term “assistive technology” spotlights the disability and is ultimately discriminatory.

Now, how about a real example, with a real piece of technology (just in case I lost you with the flibberyjibbet)?

“A student without a disability uses a keyboard to author his essay.” – We call the keyboard “technology”.

“A student with a disability uses a keyboard to author his essay.” – We call the keyboard “assistive technology”.

The only difference between the two students using the device, whatever that device might be, is that the student with the disability might require the device to complete the task where the student without the disability might not require it.

That is, a student with a disability might NEED the keyboard to author the essay where the student without the disability might only prefer to use the keyboard to author the essay despite having the ability to complete the task in other ways.

The need to use a tool is the difference.

So, what do we do to fix this problem with the definition?

I think there are two potential solutions.

Option 1 - Abandon the use of the term “assistive technology” and just call it “technology”. I tweeted a similiar message on Super Bowl Sunday of 2014 immediately after the Microsoft #empowering video aired.

Screenshot of tweet by Chris Bugaj on February 2nd that reads "It's time to lose the adjective "Assistive" before the word "Technology". It's just technology. #empowering Thank You Microsoft!"

You can watch the ad at http://bit.ly/msempoweringvideo. The point of the ad, besides selling Microsoft products, was to demonstrate how technology can be used to empower individuals, whether you have a disability or not.

The option to eliminate the term “assistive technology” would be hard pressed and wrought with pitfalls. I’m not saying it would be impossible, especially if everyone agreed this was the correct thing to do in the long run, but entire organizations, institutions, careers, professions, and college programs have been built around the term. It is an established “thing” and “things” are hard (not impossible) to change. Myriad questions about funding sources arise as well, as pointed out by some colleagues with whom I correspond via social media. If the term is too well established to be abolished, what else can be done?

That brings us to Option 2.

Option 2 - Redefine “assistive technology device” to use the verb “requires” or “needs”. What if the definition of an assistive technology device read “Any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is required to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.”?

Wouldn’t that be a better definition?

Using this definition, any item used by a student, whether they have a disability or not, would just be considered “technology”. Any item necessary to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of the student would be considered “assistive technology”.

Are there repercussions I’m not thinking of when proposing the change in the verb in the definition from “used” to “requires” or “needs”?

At the very least the definition should be changed because the nouns “technology” and “device” are synonyms, making the term “Assistive Technology Device” redundant, right? :)

What are your thoughts? I’d love to read them publicly in the comments below or you can e-mail me privately at attipscast@gmail.com.

A.T.TIPS in this Episode -

A.T.TIP #417 – Redefining “Assistive Technology Device” swapping the verb “used” for the verb “required”.

Upcoming Presentations -

ISTE SIGML Second Life and TweetChat -

Mobilize your Productivity with iOS7 Accessibility Options – Tips and Tricks for All! -March 24th with Mark Nichols

8:00pm – 9:00pm ET Second Life Presentation, 9:00pm – 10pm ET Tweetchat

ATIA Webinars

Low Cost Ways to Provide More Options To Help Students with Reading and Writing - 3:30pm – 4:30pm ET on November 12th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Getting Your AT Party Started: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Program Building with Sally Norton-Darr – 3:30pm – 5:00pm ET on December 11th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Contact Information-

Follow me on Twitter

Send an e-mail to attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

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A.T.TIPSCAST Episode #127: Audio Stories for Secondary Students

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Download the audio directly – Episode 127: Audio Stories for Secondary Students

This episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST is sponsored by Texthelp, provider of the award-winning Read&Write software solutions. Click on the banner below to learn about the amazing Read&Write products.

Texthelp ad that links to http://www.texthelp.com/north-america/campaigns/attips

 Use promotion code ATTIPS14SAVE10 to get

10% off online orders of Read&Write!

Cannot be combined with other offers. Offer expires March 31, 2014.

Episode Overview-

Episode #127 features a discussion of the benefits of inviting secondary students to listen to audio fiction.

This episode features a bumper from David Jackson from Lafayette, Indiana.

A.T.TIPS in this Episode -

A.T.TIP #404 – Cast of Wonders

Logo for the Cast of Wonders

A.T.TIP #405 – Podcastle

Podcastle Logo

A.T.TIP #406 – EscapePod

Escape Pod Logo

A.T.TIP #407 – PseudoPod

Logo for Pseudopod

A.T.TIP #408 – Giving out CDs with audio stories as prizes and gifts

Evidence that Listening to Audio Stories Improves Reading Abilities – http://bit.ly/audiostoriesimprovereading

Also Mentioned In this Episode -

The 2013 Edublog Award nominations are out!

The A.T.TIPSCAST has been nominated in the category of “Best Podcasts or Google Hangouts“. Also, ATEval2Go has been nominated in the category of “Best Mobile App“! Please vote to bump them up the rankings. Share with your colleagues, friends, and family!

ATTIPScast Logo 1 big

Click the logos to vote!

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Click on the little arrow below the A.T.TIPSCAST or ATEval2Go logos to vote! You should see the number go up by one. See the image below.

howtovote2013Voting ends on December 18th, 2013

Upcoming Presentations -

Assistive Technology Industry Association

Orlando, Florida

REGISTER NOW! —> Digital Make N’ Take: Digging Deeper           with Beth Poss – Two-Day Preconference on January 28th and 29th, 2014

Comic Strip Advertisement for Digging Deeper Presconference. It is a three panel comic.

Professional Development Smackdown with Beth PossKirk BehnkeMike Marotta, and Diana Carl – 12pm, January 30st, 2014 in Caribbean VII

Twitter 101 with Beth Poss – 4:30pm, January 31st,2014 in Caribbean II

Creating Core Vocabulary Culture: A Little Help From Our Friends with Sally Norton-Darr and Judith Schoonover – 8am, February 1st, 2014 in Bonaire 2

ATIA Webinars

Low Cost Ways to Provide More Options To Help Students with Reading and Writing - 3:30pm – 4:30pm ET on November 12th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Getting Your AT Party Started: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Program Building with Sally Norton-Darr – 3:30pm – 5:00pm ET on December 11th, 2014. Webinar for the Assistive Technology Industry Association

Contact Information-

Follow me on Twitter

Send an e-mail to attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

About.me

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A.T.TIPSCAST Episode #119: Assistive Technology Movie Review – Man of Steel

A picture for Chris wearing black-framed glasses pulling open a white shirt to reveal a super hero logo resembling the A.T.TIPSCAST log on it

Download the audio directly – Episode #119: AT Movie Review- Man of Steel

Episode Overview-

This episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST is sponsored by Texthelp, provider of the award-winning literacy solution Read&Write GOLD. To learn about Read&Write Gold and Texthelp’s suite of web apps click on the banner below!

Texthelp Advertisement

Use promotion code ATTIPS13SAVE10 to get 10% off online orders of Read&Write GOLD!

Cannot be combined with other offers. Offer expires July 31, 2013.

Episode #119 features a review, including spoilers (you have been warned), of the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, and how it relates to contemporary assistive technology and educational practices.

Special thanks to Carrie Baughcum from the blog, Hold On To Your Chair, for creating the super picture at the top of the blog post!

A.T.TIPS in this Episode -

A.T.TIP #360 – http://bit.ly/lcpsatdiigolearningstyles – List of resources pertaining to student Learning Style Inventories/Profiles/Assessments.

A.T.TIP #361 – http://bit.ly/studentprofilesurveyingoogledocs – One example of a student learning style inventory/profile/assessment.

A.T.TIP #362 – Tools Checklist

A.T.TIP #363 – Use gestures or symbols and limit auditory input when calming a student.

Upcoming Presentations -

300lbs of Brain Power (Keynote) with Mark Nichols & Chris Bugaj. July 19th, 2013 at Bridging The Gap.

Can You Hear Me Now? Integrating Audio in the Classroom with Melissa Bugaj & Chris Bugaj. July 19th, 2013 at Bridging The Gap.

Contact Information-

Follow me on Twitter

Send an e-mail to attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

Check out my bio at About.me

A.T.TIPSCAST Episode #112: Taking the “Ill” Out of Literacy at VSTE ’12, Part 2

Title Slide from the Taking the "Ill" out of Literacy presentation from VSTE 2012

Download the audio directly – Episode #112: Taking the “Ill” Out of Literacy at VSTE ’12, Part 2

Episode Overview-

This episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST is sponsored by Texthelp, provider of the award-winning literacy solution Read&Write GOLD. To learn about Read&Write Gold and their suite of web apps click on the banner below!

Texthelp Advertisement

Use promotion code ATTIPS13SAVE10 to get 10% off online orders of Read&Write GOLD!

Cannot be combined with other offers. Offer expires May 31, 2013.

Episode #112 features the second half of the recording of a live presentation by Christopher and Melissa Bugaj at the 2012 Virginia Society for Technology in Education Conference about commonly recommended,  evidence-based reading solutions. Access the entire presentation from http://bit.ly/vste12literacy.

A.T.TIPS in this Episode -

A.T.TIP #330 – Recordmp3.org (to record and save audio files)

A.T.TIP #331 – Biblionasium.com (for Reading Logs)

A.T.TIP #332 – The philosophy of using least restrictive tools first to solve a problem

A.T.TIP #333 – Prescribe television programs based on targeted goals

A.T.TIP #334 – Wordgirl (Television Show) Image of WordGirl flying and Captain HuggyFace jumping

A.T.TIP #335 – WordWorld (Television Show)

Image of the characters of Sheep, Duck, Pig, Dog, and Ant surrounding the Word World logo

A.T.TIP #336 – Sesame Street (Television Show)

Image of many characters from Sesame Street surrounding the Sesame Street logo

A.T.TIP #337 – Closed Captioning feature of YouTube.com

Tutorials – http://bit.ly/turnoncconyt

A.T.TIP #338 – Use “Frill-less” e-books

A.T.TIP #339 – Guided Access accessibility feature of iOS (iPad)

Tutorial – http://bit.ly/guidedaccessonios

Upcoming Presentations -

FREE Webinar: Can You Hear Me Now? Integrating Audio in the Classroom with Melissa Bugaj for the Virginia Society for Technology in Education. Wednesday – April 10th, 2013 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm ET

Contact Information-

About.me/chrisbugaj

Twitter.com/attipscast

attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

A.T.TIPSCAST Episode 105: An App for Literacy

Download the audio directly- Episode #105: An App for Literacy

Episode Overview-

Episode #105 features a brief discussion about what to look for when evaluating storybook apps and an example of a quality storybook app.

A.T.TIPS in this Episode-

A.T.TIP 299 – Flying Books App

Flying app iTunes logoFlying Books logo (green book worm)

Download Flying Books for iOS (Free) – http://bit.ly/flyingbooks

Website – Flyingbooks.me

Twitter –  @flyingbooksapp

Facebook Page – http://facebook.com/FlyingBooks

Night Light Story available via Flying Books App-

Dragonfly, Dragonfly, Show Us the Way – Dragonfly, Dragonfly, Show Us The Way Cover
Three unique friends embark on a journey of discovery which reveals their individual talents.

Free audio download (15:03): Dragonfly, Dragonfly, Show Us the Way

Blog with activities:                    Dragonfly, Dragonfly, Show Us the Way

Reg Silva’s blog post about creating the illustrations:

http://bit.ly/regdragonflypost

YouTube eBook announcement:                 

PDF of Mistakes in Various Storybook Apps-

Problematic Storybook Apps

Upcoming Presentations-

REGISTER NOW!

Mission Possible: Proliferating a Culture of Universal Design for Learning with Beth Poss & Chris Bugaj. January 29th & 30th, 2013 at the Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Contact Information-

About.me/chrisbugaj

Twitter.com/attipscast

attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

A.T.TIPSCAST Episode 104: It’s Alive!

Black and white pic of Chris dressed in a lab coat with gloves on his hands and goggles on his forehead looking crazed as he gazes off into the sky. He is surrounded by lightning and there is text in the foreground in a creepy font that reads "A.T.TIPSCAST Episode 104: It's Alive".Download the audio directly – Episode #104: It’s Alive

Episode Overview-

This episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST features a recording of the events that transpired in the attic of the Bugaj household on a stormy night in October 2012 which involves electricity, a tablet computer, some spare parts, and (of course) some strategies that can help students.

A.T.TIPS in this Episode-

A.T.TIP 294 – Online, Virtual Techknowledgy Conference – http://bit.ly/vafreetraining

A.T.TIP 295 – Mindmeister for iPad graphic organizer app for iOS

Night Light Stories outlined on MindMeister

Example of a MindMap created using MindMeister

A.T.TIP 296 – High Contrast Feature of iOS

A.T.TIP 297 – Communication Lanyard for Receptive Purposes

A.T.TIP 298 – Sentence Starter/Carrier Phrase Strips – Examples from jgitchelself on BoardmakerShare.com

Upcoming Presentations-

REGISTER NOW!

Mission Possible: Proliferating a Culture of Universal Design for Learning with Beth Poss & Chris Bugaj. January 29th & 30th, 2013 at the Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference in Orlando, Florida.

kidshalloweenwithtextContact Information-

About.me/chrisbugaj

Twitter.com/attipscast

attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

A Frankenstein's Monster head to the left of text that reads "A.T.TIPSCAST Episode 104: It's Alive!"

A.T.TIPSCAST Episode #103: Introducing ATEval2Go

ATEval2Go logoDownload the audio directly – Episode #103: Introducing ATEval2Go

Episode Overview-

Episode #103 of the A.T.TIPSCAST describes ATEval2Go; an iPad app designed to help professionals conduct assistive technology consultations and evaluations.

A.T.TIPS in this Episode-

A.T.TIP 291 – ATEval2Go by Smarty Ears

Watch this short trailer describing the app:

Watch this longer (about 20 minutes) tutorial describing the app:

A.T.TIP 292 – GeekSLP.com by Barbara Fernandez

A.T.TIP 293 – SpeechTechie.com by Sean Sweeney

Upcoming Presentations-

REGISTER NOW!

Mission Possible: Proliferating a Culture of Universal Design for Learning with Beth Poss & Chris Bugaj. January 29th & 30th, 2013 at the Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Contact Information-

About.me/chrisbugaj

Twitter.com/attipscast

attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

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