“Hey Siri, what is assistive technology?”
Whether it’s Siri, Alexa, Google or Cortana, how many of us have used a voice assistant to aid with our everyday queries? These are vital accessibility features that support people living with disabilities. “Assistive technology is an umbrella term covering the systems and services related to the delivery of assistive products and services. Assistive products maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence, thereby promoting their well-being” (WHO, 2018)
In the context of language, assistive technology can help people communicate and reach other communities that were once restricted. While many people appreciate the convenience of assistive technology, particularly when it comes to functions like language and translation, it could be considered a crutch to language learning. Learners that constantly rely on spell-checkers or translation engines may take less effort to further develop their own personal vocabulary or grammar.
Our OER focuses on the use of assistive technology for English Language Learners and examines the broader assistive technology market for learning disabilities. We have also introduced a new venture, Sanako, and included activities for you to explore in the role of educators to use assistive technology for language learning.
Here is our website: https://sites.google.com/view/assistivetechnologyell
Activities for the week:
- Read through the OER website and participate with the activities
- Reply to one of the three discussion prompts below in this post
- Share your final thoughts on this topic in the discussion
- In the spirit of metaphors in language, Crutches are used to help you walk, but you still have to strengthen the leg. Would you consider assistive technology to be a crutch for language learning? (This caused a great debate amongst our group members)
- What other markets do you think assistive technology for language learning will break into next? (Example: employee onboarding)
- Drawing upon what we have learned about in previous OER’s, what do you envision for the future of assistive technology to support English language learners (or in general)?