Week 12: AI in AT

This Open Educational Resource (OER) explores how AI works together with AT in supporting people living with disabilities. You will find interactive readings for AT, learn about the role of AI in AT, discover emerging technologies that make our world more accessible, and envision the limitless opportunities of what the future holds for AI in AT at school, at home, at work, and in the community.

Opportunity statement: 

The World Health Organization estimates that one billion people currently need AT, with this number increasing to two billion by 2050. Yet, only one in ten users have access to AT, creating a significant market gap and need. AI enhances AT user experiences by improving speed, accuracy, and accessibility. The field of incorporating AI with AT is relatively new and ample opportunities exist for new and exciting ventures to improve people’s lives.

Website link: AI in AT OER

There are a number of activities to complete throughout this OER to help you explore AI in AT. Here is the recommended schedule:

Week 12Section
Monday, July 26AI in AT Introduction 
Tuesday, July 27Assistive Technology
Wednesday, July 28Power of Inclusion
Thursday, July 29AT Powered by AI
Friday, July 30Implications
Saturday, July 31 and Sunday, August 1Feedback and Review

Once you have completed our OER, please post any questions or comments in the blog below. Thank you for exploring AI in AT with us!

Hosted by Joseph Kwan and Joyce Lo – UBC MET 2021


( Average Rating: 4  )

22 responses to “Week 12: AI in AT”

  1. shaun holma
    Hi week 12 team. You presented a wonderful OER to end the term. You showed there are no shortages in ingenuity and emerging innovation for improving AT by AI. While I worked my way through the OER, I was intrigued with the notion of ‘accessible information’ and how it particularly has taken a significant leap forward for individuals with or without disabilities as a result of AI. Whether it is socializing, scholastics, sightseeing, or shopping, it is apparent that AI has made better experiences for users of AT. I appreciated the clear objective for each page and the signposting throughout the sections. I particularly liked your setup of discussions. They were engaging and encouraged me to take a little time to ponder… and in some cases, do a little investigating of my own. Your platform was neatly organized and flowed well. I do not have too many comments on how to make OER better. Saying this, it might be useful to provide asides to where visitors can explore the parts you only briefly touched on in your OER. For example, on your implications page, you noted 23 impactful technologies and elaborated on two of them. The coinciding Gartner graphic is useful as a visual reference but it doesn’t provide much in terms of specific details on the other 21 technologies. Perhaps providing a direct link from this graphic to where visitors can seek more pertinent information would help with this? Question: You mentioned society’s aging population is one of the primary causes for interest in AT powered by AI. Unquestionably this may be true but I’d speculate there is also extensive distrust for AI, especially among the aging population. I’m thinking about the people who are currently in their later years of life who prefer to wait in long lines at the bank to complete a simple transaction rather than completing it through their mobile (granted they have mobile). The reason for the preference: the presence and familiarity of dealing with a real person and not a machine. So, my question is how would you go about encouraging older people who prefer the comforts of the past to accept and trust advanced technology like AI, especially since it’s still very much in its infancy?
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    1. Joyce Lo
      Hi Shaun, I am glad that you enjoyed our OER! Thank you for your suggestion for us to provide a direct link to the 23 impactful technologies. I have now added the link so it will be more convenient than searching for it in our reference section. To answer your question, “How would you go about encouraging older people who prefer the comforts of the past to accept and trust advanced technology like AI, especially since it’s still very much in its infancy?”, I think it depends on the person. AT that is powered by AI is meant to improve lives, enhance inclusion, and independence. I would ask, “What are the needs? Is it necessary to use AI? What will AT with AI do for the person?” I would not make anyone accept or use AT with AI if they are not comfortable. I would introduce it, talk about the benefits, and show examples of how it is used. The person in need of AT is the one to decide what will work for them and they will need to balance the pros and cons. We need to understand that older people are often reluctant/uncomfortable to use technology because it is something new and unfamiliar to them. Anything that requires change is hard especially with the aging population. Here is an interesting article, How is AI Revolutionizing Elderly Care (https://www.forbes.com/sites/shourjyasanyal/2018/10/31/how-is-ai-revolutionizing-elderly-care/?sh=8e059a8e07d6).
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  2. Simin Rupa
    Hi Week 12 team! Wow! Great OER, I love the flow of the Genial activities as well as the prompts and questions. Great job!
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    1. Joyce Lo
      Thank you, Simin! We are happy that you loved our activities, prompts, and questions. We tried our best!
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  3. paul johnson
    Great work developing the OER. It made me think of my own context and how advancements in AI and AT will be able to support students. I wonder how quickly SET-BC will have advanced AT solutions available relative to their introduction to the market as this is generally the way these technologies are accessed in my context. I am looking forward to seeing the advancements these technologies will undergo in the next few years.
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    1. joseph kwan
      HI Paul, good point. My understanding is that SET-BC approves a limited number of students per district per year and that this number is relatively small. In other words, many students who need AT will not qualify and may be on waitlists for several years, with the need to re-apply every year. The need for AT is great, and like many government programs, the funding is approved only for a limited number of students every year. Thanks for your comment – Joseph.
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  4. SallyB
    Hi Joseph Kwan and Joyce Lo, Very nice OER. I learned a lot. I loved the videos on the AT powered by AI page. I thought it was so interesting that half of the examples you posted could be used on a Smart phone, and are SO incredibly helpful. Sometimes I pause and think about Smart phones because they are so common now, yet, I probably only use 5-10% of the functionality of mine. There is so much potential to unlock! And I was reminded of that by the videos you chose for us. And that AT powered by AI graphic really emphasized what a HUGE topic this is. (Also, Genially is very neat! TOTALLY emailed the link to my work-email! ) Thanks!
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    1. joseph kwan
      Hi Sally, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Yes, technology surrounds us and sometimes we use AT (i.e. smart phones) everyday without realizing their potential capabilities. Happy to hear that you enjoyed the videos and graphics, as our hope is that AT powered by AI continues to impact people’s lives in a positive way – Joseph.
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  5. Philip Ihewuokwu
    Hi Joseph & Joyce, Great work on the OER. I understand your choice on researching on AT is personal and it is reflected on the quality of the information presented. I enjoyed learning about AT and it made me reflect on how much people depend on it to make their daily activities easier. Without my eyeglasses, I will not be able to function in my job and other daily tasks. In your OER, I learned that eyeglasses is an AT, and it made me come to the realization that anyone and everyone could use an AT. Thank you for sharing.
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    1. Joyce Lo
      Hi Philip, Thank you for your participation in our OER this week. I’m glad that you were able to learn about AT and your example of eyeglasses is a good reminder that many of us use AT everyday without realizing it.
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  6. analesa crooks-eadie
    Great Job Joyce and Joseph! You did an amazing job by providing us with a lot of useful resources. I really like how you broke down the four main areas and identified the opportunities and barriers that exists. What a way to wrap up the end of the OER! Well done…
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    1. joseph kwan
      HI Ana, yes hopefully it was a useful OER for yourself & others. Thank you for your kind comments! Joseph
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  7. michael orlandi
    Hi Joseph & Joyce, Great job on your OER. I really enjoyed “the power on inclusion” page. Specifically when you two discussed mobility. As someone who loves the outdoors, it was really touching to see AI and AT have the ability, and even greater potential, to break down barriers and allow people to do the activities outdoors they love. Thank you for sharing!
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    1. joseph kwan
      Hi Michael, yes I was touched as well watching some of the videos that use AI & AT to empower people with disabilities to complete their tasks, everyday chores, and enjoy the outdoors. You’re most welcome! Joseph
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  8. markmpepe
    Great work, Joseph and Joyce. It was a great OER, and with what I’ve learned brings more hope for the future of education. In one of my Padlet responses I was talking about an augmented reality solution in assistive technologies using Microsoft’s HoloLens. Essentially, the Microsoft HoloLens helps the user move about their home by giving them hints and cues about real world objects. The HoloLens would scan the spatial environments. It has connectivity to smart home technologies like lights and temperature. Very interesting stuff. I learned about this while I was taking ETEC 523 Mobile and Open Learning and working on my A3 for that course. – Mark Here’s the article: Mahroo A., Greci L., Sacco M. (2019) HoloHome: An Augmented Reality Framework to Manage the Smart Home. In: De Paolis L., Bourdot P. (eds) Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Computer Graphics. AVR 2019. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 11614. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-25999-0_12
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    1. joseph kwan
      Hi Mark, thanks for bringing HoloLens to our attention. Yes, I took at look at HoloLens/HoloLens 2 & found this technology fascinating. The future looks promising, and our next step is figure out how to strategically use this new technology for positive & sustainable change. Thanks for sharing the article – Joseph.
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  9. Siobhán McPhee
    Wow I learned so much – I certainly admit my lack of knowledge on AT and you taught me so much. It really made me think about how we can framed so much to our students using the idea of AT as an equalizer. Thanks
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    1. joseph kwan
      Hi Siobhán, thank you for your comment. Like many of us, you are in an good position to share this knowledge with your students. Hopefully more people can learn about AI & AT to advocate for those in need. Thank you! Joseph
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  10. Connie Sim
    Hi Joseph & Joyce! Thanks for such an informative OER! I learnt a lot and enjoyed the variety of learning activities- video, quiz, discussions and the flow between one topic to another. In one of the Padlets, I mentioned Seeing AI app (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ai/seeing-ai) that helps making daily life more accessible for those who are visually impaired. I am hoping that AI’s abilities to help assistive technology will be improved and enhanced to be more accessible to empower more people with disabilities.
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    1. joseph kwan
      Hi Connie, thanks for your comment & suggesting the “Seeing AI” app. I looked at a few “Seeing AI” videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DybczED-GKE) & the app looks amazing. Yes, I agree with your vision in combining AI with AT to empower people living with disabilities – Joseph.
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  11. Menghan Guo
    Hi Joyce and Joseph. Thank you for providing an excellent OER. Artificial intelligence technology has greatly improved the lives of people with disabilities, whether as a “by-product” of conventional technology or specifically designed for them. Despite this, the number of technical challenges prevents AI from playing a greater role for this large and particularly vulnerable group. Governments and businesses should pay more attention to the demands of people with disabilities throughout the product design stage and even involve them in the development process. The user interface’s design is also very essential. Misreading a command or things not working well at first are minor annoyances for ordinary users; nevertheless, for the disabled, it can be life-threatening, such as not being able to make emergency calls when needed.
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    1. joseph kwan
      Hi Menghan, I agree with your comments & one of the challenges in empowering people with disabilities is to provide them with useful & accessible tools. Government funding & grants are important, but increased education & awareness also play a big part in achieving this goal. We are all TABs (Temporarily Able-Bodied) and will grow old one day. Our society will benefit from a shift in culture to accept & embrace people who live with disabilities – Joseph.
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