Assistive technology is adaptive devices mainly used by people with disabilities. Therefore, they are used to boost the functional capabilities of the disabled people. The technology plays vital roles as far as education for the disabled students is concerned. It helps them achieve their dreams. For this case, I have chosen two assistive technology tools that include speech recognition device and eBook reader.
Speech recognition software is one of the assistive technology tools and is used to convert speech to text. For it to work, the system that recognizes the speech is trained to a particular speaker (Assistive Technology in Education, 2012). Therefore, it identifies the person making the speech with the help of recognition software. For example, voices can be recognized by the call-center system since it has been designed to do that particular job. Several users have various unique voices hence the voice recognition is designed to a particular user. Some of the applications in the speech recognition include call routing. It is experienced in cases when a person tries to call the call center. The other application includes the voice dialing. However, this is experienced in most of our cell phones. The government uses mainly the domotic appliances control to identify key words spoken by the target group on a wiretap. It also uses the content-based spoken audio search for the same function.
The eBook readers are assistive technological tools that are designed specifically for reading the digital book and other printed materials. Therefore, they make it possible for people to obtain, store and read the publications. The E-readers are portable and consume less energy. Additionally, the device can download low cost and sometimes free publications and also store as many books as possible. To obtain e-book content such as a book with an e-reader that supports WI-FI takes less time of approximately less than 60 seconds (Assistive Technology in Education, 2012). The retail price for the e-book is customer friendly, and it is around $9.99 which from my opinion is cheaper than the actual hard copy price of a book. The examples of e-book readers include Sony Reader, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Amazon Kindle. These devices use the E-ink technology, and the technology consumes less power since power is only used when a page is turned.
It is possible for me to try and demonstrate these devices in the training room because of the ample benefits obtained from the devices. Demonstrating them in the training room catches the attention of many people and hence they will find it interesting to buy or use them. The e-readers have been designed to convert text-to-speech and users are also allowed to choose the voice they need. The speech-to-text software helps students to write without stressing much about spelling errors. It is possible to demonstrate how speech recognition software is used to read instruction. For this case, students will read to a computer and the computer makes an overall evaluation of their reading abilities. Lastly, the use of the software in learning language makes it possible for it to be used in a training room. The device has language software hence it can determine the student’s ability to speak a certain language. For example, when training students to speak Germany, they will be asked to speak one Germany word. Then the computer will be used to evaluate his or her ability to speak well.
Speech recognition software and eBook are useful for a broader audience. The tools have been designed to accommodate all sorts of people. The audience might be speaking a different language or are of various conditions (disabled or not handicapped). If the audience speaks a different language then the language software will be used to translate the message into the language the audience prefers. The e-readers can accommodate people with low visions since it offers various text sizes and levels of gray. Also, speech recognition software is helpful to students with physical disabilities. For example, it is useful mainly to students with little or no motor skills in their hands. The students would be able to do research, manage their software and also produce typed reports. The device is useful to students who experience learning disabilities by speeding up their learning process.
However, it might be difficult during the presentation to get the attention of the people who are far away. Also, these tools have shortcomings. The disadvantages of e-readers give a teacher a challenge to use it in a classroom or with a broad audience. Specifically, it affects the physically challenged individuals. People lacking dexterity might find themselves in trouble because of the small keyboards making it difficult for them to use. According to Bryant and Bryant (2011), the National Federation of the Blind and American Council of the Blind have launched complaints about the devices. They complain that such devices do not consider students who are vision impaired.
In conclusion, the designs of these devices have made it possible for students to access education. Specifically, the physically disabled students are now able to undergo regular school setting just like other students. However, each and every student has varied needs; hence it would be good if assessments are made, and devices are put in place to cater for every need.
Assistive Technology in Education. (n.d). In Wikibooks. Retrieved December 12, 2012 from http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Assistive_Technology_in_Education.
Bryant, D. P., & Bryant, B. R. (2011). Assistive technology for people with disabilities. Pearson Higher Ed.
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