Friday, June 01, 2007

Nova Scotia college says "Assistive technology for all!"

The forward-thinking folks at Nova Scotia Community College are setting a new precedent in assistive technology.

Instead of having a special pathway, the use of particular assistive technology being made exclusively available to only students with disabilities, they are
making assistive technology available to all NSCC students.
After limiting use of the Premiere Assistive Key to Access software to only students with disabilities this past academic year, NSCC will be allowing access to the software to all students in the coming 2007-08 school year.

According to the article linked above, “With this new technology, students can order books in digital format, have software pick out the main points in a text and read it, and create audio study guides so they can learn on the go.”

Maybe, just maybe, people are coming to understand that there are a variety of learning styles and that this is true in the general population of students, not only those with disabilities.

I don’t know about you, but I sort of like this reverse application of universal design. Instead of making the mainstream classroom accessible, they are realizing the broader application of assistive technology, and letting it be used by the whole population. Instead of assistive technology being a special-use on-ramp for information, that ramp is now open to the public.


Aaron said...

What an innovative thought! I really hope that it doesn't turn out to be wishful thinking that this will work out. It stands to help so many.

Ron Graham said...

I agree with your hopes. A lot of promise belies this project. It will give students who don't wish to self identify as having a disability the ability to use the software that can help them learn. There is so much potential upside and it would be nice to see such innovation properly used and recognized.