Technology in the Classroom
The use of specialized technology will become an important part of learning process for your braille-reading student. You may be feeling overwhelmed by the unfamiliar computers and technology that your students uses. Don’t worry, it won’t take you long to understand why and how your braille-reading student uses his or her specialized technology. Remember, you have the expertise of your student’s TVI to help you understand how all of technology will be used in your class. Review the low tech and high tech pages on this website. This will give you a baseline understanding of how different types of technology will assist your student.
The following are some questions that were posed by classroom teachers like yourself.
My student has a lot of equipment, such as his brailler and braille textbooks. I have many students in a very small class. Where should I put him and all of his ‘stuff?’
Your braille-reading student will most likely need a larger space to house the equipment and materials needed for his or her learning. It is sometimes hard to find a large enough space to meet the needs of these students. Elementary classrooms seem to have the most difficulty, as student in high school can keep their equipment and materials in their locker.
Some elementary braille-reading students have a closet or shelf in the class where they can place the materials and equipment not being used. Larger equipment, such as braille embossers and volumes of brailled textbooks, are sometimes housed in a different room, but one that is just as accessible to the student.
While you may be inclined to place your braille-reading student at a large work table away from the rest of the class, consider first the social implications of placing him or her in this spot. You may need to have two areas in the classroom for the student; one to house the equipment and another desk located with the rest of the students in the class.
My student relies a lot on his high tech devices, like braille computers. What happens if this computer breaks down and needs to be sent away for a while to get fixed?
This is a very common question. While using high tech devices are fast, they may not always be reliable. When our computer dies on us, we can always revert to writing with our hands. The same is also true for braille-reading students. When their technology fails, he or she can always use low-tech devices to finish work. While this is easy to say in theory, it is important that your braille-reading student continues to work periodically with low-tech devices, such as the Perkins Brailler or Slate and Stylus, so that they are able to use them when their high tech devices fail.
My student uses a high tech braille device. He often has to leave the room to print out his assignments to hand in to me. Is there an easier way of getting assignments from him?
Many students who use high tech devices have access to internet. If they know how to access the internet, assignments can be easily emailed to you in print form. You can then print it out yourself or make comments right on the document and email it back to the student or braillist for it to be embossed.
I don’t like using computers, let alone high tech devices for my braille-reading student. I don’t feel like it should be my responsibility to fix computer problems that often occur in my class. Who’s responsibility should it be?
For many, the use of any type of high tech device is scary. If this is you, don’t worry. The best thing that you can do is to be proactive about your concerns. Tell your student’s TVI about some of your concerns and if inclined, ask them to provide you with a workshop to review your student’s technology. If your braille-reading student has problems with his or her technology, it is important that you address this with the TVI as soon as possible so that the problem can be fixed.
Some schools have a teacher or staff member who is technically inclined and love to learn about new technology. If you know a person who fits this characteristic, ask them to help you when needed. Talk to your district’s special education director so that this person can get some training about your student’s technology.
Finally, it is important that your braille-reading student be comfortable in fixing small technology glitches. Your student should receive training on how to use a device and what to do with the device fails.