Vital role of ict for disabled children
- Perceptions about learning and teaching in sophisticated 21st century classrooms are fast changing – to deal with the integration of ICT assisted pedagogy, inclusion of persons with disabilities and other differences in regular classrooms. Because of the emergence of innovations to enhance teaching and learning today, teachers across the education spectrum need to acquire and internalize effective and usable skills in managing ICT in teaching and learning. Conscious of this diversity in the 21st century classroom, the following guide underscores various perceptions of learning and highlights certain principles and practices. It is meant to make you an informed, dynamic and innovative teacher who is able to:
•Reflect on different types of learning and the ensuing principles to guide your understanding and practices in ICT integrated classrooms.
•Familiarise yourself with knowledge about cognitive skills and learning strategies.
•Plan, implement and evaluate learning in an ICT assisted curriculum .
•Manage effectively the human and material resources for effective learning using ICT.
•Enable the learner to use ICT to maximize concepts, skills and processes acquired from his/her learning.
•Use ICT to develop inquisitive, inquiring, research and curious minds leading such learners to be creative, cultivate independence of thought to exploit learning opportunities.
•To acquire and internalize effective and usable skills in managing ICT assisted classrooms for quality learning outcomes.
Disabled children and their education in INDIAN perspective-
India has some forty to eighty million people living with disability; among them thirty percent of them are children below the age of fourteen years. In Indian ninety per cent of disabled children do not get any form of schooling. There are number of families which are living below the poverty and many families have to make choices about which of their kids they can afford to send to school. Parents of disabled children have more difficult choices, as they also have the burden of medical treatment, and others.No population-based study has been conducted at the national level to supply genuine data on the prevalence and incidence of disability in India. Therefore we must rely on the projections made by trial surveys. According to an estimation population with disability in India is about over 90 million, of these Twelve million are blind, Twenty nine million are with low vision, Twelve million are with speech and hearing defects, Six million orthopedically handicapped, twenty four million mentally retarded, Eight million mentally ill.
INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) FOR INCLUSION TECHNOLOGY AND PERSON WITH DISABILITIES
ICT promotes greater independence by enabling them to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing.
TYPES OF AT
_A no-tech,low-tech or high-tech tools and strategies that match a person’s needs,abilities, and tasks. _Selection of appropriate technology as per individual case.
SOME OF GUDGETS AVAILABLE
Impairment Battery, Powered Joystick, Operated Wheelchair, Aluminum Crutches , Ankle Brace for ankle support , Prosthetic limbs, Cervical Immobilizer, Child model tricycle, Folding sticks and folding walkers.
Basic Skill- Wooden Puzzles We can (daily living activities) , Calendar of seasons , Punnarjani.
Sanyog, Gupshup, Switches.
AT FOR INCLUSION
Examples of some AT to help PWDs in education includes - Braille Duplicators and Writers,Group Hearing Aid for classrooms , Alternative & Augmentative Communication software/devices, Multi-Sensory systems , Tactile mathematical devices , Web-Portal , Edusat , M-Learning , Web-cast , Online learning , On demand examination.
BENEFITS OF ICT
Some of the claimed benefits of ICT for Education are:
1.Easy-to-access Course Material–Multimedia/easy to understand course material can be posted on web which learners can access at a time and location they prefer.
2.Motivation-Computer-based instruction can give instant feedback to students and explain correct answers. Moreover, a computer is patient and non-judgmental, which can give the student motivation to continue learning.
3.Wide Participation -Learning material can be used for long distance learning and are accessible to a wider audience .
4.Improved student writing -Convenient for students to edit their written work which can, in turn, improve the quality of their writing.
5.Subjects made easier to learn -Many different types of educational software are designed and developed to help users to learn specific subjects/topics easily.
6.More amenable structure to measure and improve outcomes.With proper structuring it can become easier to monitor and maintain student work while also quickly gauging modifications to the instruction necessary to enhance student learning.
First ICT lab for disabled children. Commemorating International Software Freedom Day on September 19, an Indian NGO launched the first ICT lab for disabled children on 22 September 2009. The activity lab equipped with educational softwares will develop simple games for autistic children to help them learn and communicate. The first-of-its-kind ICT activity lab for children with autism and other disabilities has been opened in the capital city.
Express Buzz/ Lab for autistic children launched
The lab has been set up entirely on Free Software by Insight, which aims to use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for the development of the differently-abled in the State. The lab was inaugurated by Vivek, a physically-challenged boy, on Saturday, on the occasion of the International Software Freedom Day, 2009. The lab has been set up at the Insight office at Vellayambalam here and will be open to public except on Sundays. "Educational software have been found to be useful in building learning capabilities and communication skills of autistic children. The lab was inaugurated by Vivek, a physically-challenged boy, on Saturday, on the occasion of the International Software Freedom Day, 2009. The lab has been set up at the Insight office at Vellayambalam here and will be open to public except on Sundays.
"Educational software have been found to be useful in building learning capabilities and communication skills of autistic children"
The programme seeks to explore the use of various digital technologies to enhance learning and communication of children with disabilities.
Use of ICT for autistic children-
Educational software such as GCompris and programming interfaces such as Scratch have been found to be very useful in building the learning capabilities and communication skills of autistic children.
“As of now, the lab is an experimental one. We will monitor the way children use these softwares.
What are the activities that distract them or interest them will be located and documented and with the added suggestions from parents and doctors, new custom software will be developed. It is time-consuming and a constant programme,” said James Mathew, Insight co-ordinator.
There are many children with autism who find it hard to maintain direct eye contact. The lab will try to develop simple games through which such children will learn to establish eye contact. Similarly, autistic children show love to certain animals, so games using these animal figures will be developed, James said.
Use of ICT for visually-challenged-
Insight has been providing the ICT training and resources for the visually-challenged people in the State since May 2007. The lab will be a continuation of its initiative to extend the benefits of the ICT to people with disabilities.
Insight is a joint initiative of KSITM (Kerala State Information Technology Mission) and SPACE (Society for Promotion of Alternative Computing and Employment).
The KSITM provides the financial support for the project and SPACE provides the technical and managerial assistance
Use of ICT for mobility impairment -
A person with mobility impairment can use technology with adaptive keyboard featuring keys that are four times bigger or mouse alternatives such as the Trackball Mouse to operate a computer.
Use of ICT for cognitive or learning impairment-<>br
A person with cognitive or learning impairment who has difficulties reading, writing and spelling or has Dyslexia can use literacy software solutions. It includes Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and converts scan printed pages into electronic text, the digital talking book player allows the user to read and listen to content through a combination of text, audio and images. A hearing impaired person can use the hearing aid compatible and large key phone for assistance.
ACTIVITIES TO HELP STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
You can help students develop cognitive skills to use ICT by: •Developing self-monitoring & self-regulating skills by helping them to develop intrinsic motivating projects.
•Developing skills in communicating effectively, using ICT by creating such opportunities.
•Creating opportunities for learners to share outcomes and receive feedback and provide feedback to them on their progress.
•Engaging learners in discussions.
•Orienting learners to be able to link procedural skills to conceptual understanding.
•Helping learners to set and monitor progress toward intermediate and long-term goals.
•Helping disabled persons to learn better with the use of assistive technology.
Activity patterns and the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) outside of
school for boys and girls with motor disabilities
Research concerning activity patterns outside-of-school indicates that children with disabilities have restricted participation in activities in comparison with non-disabled peers. However, the activity patterns outside-of-school of children and youths have changed in recent years as a result of the increased use of ICT. ICT has huge potential to compensate impaired function in the area of communication, information and knowledge gathering, without physical transportation.
activities, such as using the Internet, playing computer games and visiting communities. Our study reveals a positive result from a gender perspective, where the use of ICT activities is more equal among boys and girls with disabilities than among non-disabled boys and girls.
Conclusion: The outside-of-school activity patterns of children with disabilities seem to be
characterized by a focus on ICT activities, while non-disabled children are engaged in a broader
range of outside-of-school activities. This brings new interest in ICT and computer activities as an
opportunity for all boys and girls.
Contribution to occupational therapy: ICT provides opportunities for children with motor disabilities
to participate in meaningful out-of-school activities to compensate for limitations in other activities.
SOME LABS FOR DIFFERENTIALLY ABLED CHILDREN-
1.Insight – ICT for the differently abled
Profile Insight is aimed at empowering the differently abled by expanding their job competencies and resourcefulness through ICT. The primary concern of Insight is to aid people with special needs access technology. The organization aspires to play a productive role in helping the differently abled secure a job and lead an independent life. Currently, Insight imparts ICT training to visually challenged people. The training programme is designed in such a way as to help them comprehend the various distinctions of ICT. It resorts to cutting-edge technology and software, that are specially designed for the visually challenged, for the training programme. The training at Insight will help them familiarize with IT-enabled services and applications that will enhance their career skills. The training programme makes use of Orca (an assistive technology for the visually challenged), Ubuntu and other GNU/Linux based operating systems. Training will also be given in other free and open source technologies. On successful completion of the two-month programme, students are awarded a certificate by the IGNOU. Insight imparts training to autistic children using GCompris, a package of free educational software for children.
COMPUTERS TO HELP THE DISABLED
1. Computers allow the disabled to lead a more independent life.
A computer is an efficient and economical source of help for the disabled. Its programs can open and close doors, turn lights on and off, and control heating or cooling systems. Disabled computer users work, play games, movies and music, communicate with friends, access bank accounts to pay bills and shop for groceries and clothes, all via the Internet, giving them a much-valued measure of independence.
2.Computers Adapt to Disabilities.
Computers are adapted to disabled users by the use of aids which enhance or replace the standard controls. Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D., outlines the issues for disabled users in a study she did for the University of Washington called "Working Together: People with Disabilities and Computer Technology." She writes: "People with disabilities face a variety of barriers to computer use. These barriers can be grouped into three functional categories: barriers to providing computer input, interpreting output, and reading supporting documentation." To access output, computers for the deaf employ programs which replace sounds with written words and images. For blind users, programs like JAWS read any text out loud. Screen-magnification programs assist partially sighted computer users. To input data, tools like voice controls, Braille keyboards or pointers attached to the mouth, finger, head or knee aid disabled computer users. Attached printers can produce Braille documentation for blind users and large-print copies for the visually impaired.
3.Computers and Programs for Disabled Users.
A variety of programs for disabled computer users help them to access the information they need to find and carry out work, learn, communicate and enjoy all kinds of entertainments. Finding and installing the relevant software may require the help of attendants and family members. A writing program called "Dasher" allows those who cannot type on a keyboard to use their eyes to write 25 words a minute. Its designers, David Ward and David MacKay of the Cavendish laboratory, used the tracking mechanism of a camera combined with logic from a video game to invent a program which learns a writer's style and predicts words based on that information. Dasher can also be combined with touchpad, mouse or rollerball. An American company, Blink Twice, developed a minicomputer called Tango for disabled children. Tango, which resembles a computer game, uses touch-screen technology to express a variety of prerecorded messages, activated by familiar icons, conveying moods and needs.
4.Access to Computers for Disabled Users.
For many disabled individuals, owning a computer is too expensive. A variety of charities and foundations exist that help them acquire the units. Charities such as Computers 4 Kids collect, repair and distribute units to disabled children of low-income families. The CRC computer-recycling center takes computers destined for landfills, recovers any usable parts and produces refurbished units for groups like schools, community programs and disabled people.
SOME SOFTWARES FOR DIFFERENTIALLY ABLED CHILDREN
1.AbilityNet Accreditation -A Software program for enabling children with a disability in Northern Ireland Find out more about AbilityNet Accreditation.
Are you an Education or Health Professional based in Northern Ireland who wants to enable children with a disability to access a computer? AbilityNet have a further 2 years funding through The Roach Dahl Foundation to train and support an additional 50 Nursery schools and associated professionals to enable children with a disability access a computer. This project includes training a loan bank of specialist equipment including accessible toys, keyboards, mice and switches. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
2.AVAZ AVAZ is the product which is India's first portable speech synthesizer and enables non-verbal persons to convey virtually any thought in their mind by providing them an 'artificial voice'. The principles of universal design is being followed by Inventions Labs so as to enable non-verbal persons with different kinds of disabilities to use the device. For example, the lack of motor control skills prevents persons with Cerebral Palsy, many of whom are non-verbal, from using traditional means of communication like writing or typing. AVAZ can easily be adapted for use by such persons with the help of commercially available access switches, many of which are compatible with the device.
3.Literacy software Literacy software solutions are also useful for those who have difficulties reading, writing and spelling or have Dyslexia. By harnessing the power of the inbuilt speech output facility, computer users can write, read, view and check text alongside a human sounding voice. High tech readers can be used by a visually impaired person to read any kind of printed material.
4.BarrierBreak Technologies BarrierBreak Technologies has launched the Signntalk website (www.signntalk.org) in India, the first of its kind, to enable the hearing impaired community to communicate with the hearing world using sign language. Signntalk acts as a bridge to connect the hearing impaired with the hearing world.
ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR EDUCATION AMONG DISABLED CHILDREN-
Education can be made much more effective and accessible to persons with disability by including assistive technology products and services into the system. Text books used by students can be converted to digital talking books and be made available for the print impaired (people with learning and visual impairment). Computer aids such as screen readers, adaptive keyboards and desktop magnifiers can have a major impact in the education of persons with disability. The primary problem that needs to be addressed, says Kapoor, is the limited access to technology for people with disabilities. In education and day-today life, assistive technology is not available to the persons with disabilities. This hampers them in their education and growth. Many schools in India are not even aware of available assistive technologies, and thus the use of these technologies is minimal in schools across the country. Also, one needs to work on training the special educators so that they are aware of the technology and how it can benefit the students. Children are taught many skills, concepts and activities as part of their education, and some of these may be difficult to accomplish for disabled children. Assistive technologies can help in ensuring that the medium of instruction can be sufficiently modified to help disabled children overcome these challenges that are part of their education. These technologies will empower children to actively participate in their classrooms and ensure that they are provided a well-rounded education. Talking about the work of Inventions Lab in this regard, Chandrasekaran adds, "The experience of Inventions Lab has been limited to schools that are working with children with developmental disabilities. From what we have observed, assistive technologies can play a vital role in the education of children with special needs as well." "Assistive technology is very useful in the education sector; may it be for visually impaired, mobility impaired or students with learning disabilities", says Chakravarthula. A visually impaired person, who can't read a physical book, can scan the same and read it using a computer with the help of screen reader such as Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA). They are able to attempt their examinations using the computer, instead of depending on a scribe to write for them and this will in fact, improve their output quality too. A mobility impaired student, who can not write using a pen can use voice recognition software on the computer. A learning disabled person, who can not read text can learn with the help of graphics, available through computer based AAC devices, like the Aavaz from Invention Labs.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF THE UN CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSON WITH DISABILITIES.
There are eight guiding principles that underlie the Convention and each one of its specific articles:
•Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one's own choices, and independence of persons.
•Full and effective participation and inclusion in society.
•Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity.
•Equality of opportunity.
•Equality between men and women.
•Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities .