Technology: General, Instructional and Assistive Technologies

Family Modules

Module 3 Part 1

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Introduction

Objective: The student will identify types of technology and classify them according to purpose (general, instructional, or assistive).

This lesson is designed to help you identify different types of technology that you currently use and types of technology you will likely use in college.

Estimated time 20-30 minutes

Materials included:

Materials needed:

Internet

Classroom curriculum Link:

This section corresponds with high school curriculum Module 3 Lesson 1.

Learn About It

Brainstorm different types of technology that you use daily, along with how and why you use each product. Think about how these technologies fit into categories, such as school, home, clubs, and entertainment, and list the technologies that you use under the appropriate category. Notice that some items fit into more than one category. Add categories as needed.

We could classify the technology that we use into the following 3 types:

  • General: all types of technology
  • Informational/Instructional: Technology that helps teach skills or content. This type refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies.
  • Assistive: Technology that helps increase functional capabilities of students.

Assistive Technology (AT)

Federal definition: “…any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”
[20 U.S.C. Chapter 33, Section 1401 (250)]

In other words, assistive technology refers to any kind of technology that helps people with disabilities to function more effectively.

To increase function means to help you do something better or easier: with less fatigue, less time and physical effort, or using better form for increased physical performance.

Think about any areas where you need to “increase your function.” Is there a tool that can help you? Any tool that helps you “increase your function” is assistive technology.

Information Technology (IT)

Refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies.

AT and IT Merged

Parents Chime In

  • Watch the digital book YouTube video with your student.
  • Talk about how this app could increase the function of someone with a disability.
  • Discuss other examples of tools that could be both instructional and assistive technology.

Common Goals between AT and IT

AT and IT help students with reading, writing, and organization. We can think of instructional technology as teaching skills and/or content and assistive technology as a way to increase function. Today most technologies do both by helping teach content and skills while also increasing function. Think about the similarities and differences between the 3 categories

Consider the list of technologies that you use on a daily basis (from the beginning of part 1). Next time, we will ask you to categorize items into 3 fields: general, informational/instructional, and assistive.

Remember, some items may fall into more than one category. For example, a Google calendar is considered informational technology. However, it can also be considered assistive technology because it can help improve the function of a student with a weakness in organization or attention.

Where Do These Technologies Belong?

Categorize the following technologies into general, instructional, or assistive. Remember that each technology can fall into more than one category

  • Google Calendar
  • Photoshop
  • Facebook
  • Headphones
  • Alternate Keyboards
  • Clickers
  • Smart Board
  • Paper overlays
  • Scan rean and write software
  • Speech recognition software
  • Fax machine
  • Alarm clock
  • Screen magnification
  • Cell phone
  • LCD projector
  • Microwave
  • Xbox

Objective Check

Have you accomplished today's objective?

Objective: The student will identify types of technology and classify them according to purpose (general, instructional, or assistive).

If so, congratulations!

If not, review the definitions of each type of technology with your parent and go through the “Where Do They Belong” worksheet. Work together to categorize the different pieces of technology. Talk about why your parent may have put some items in different categories than those you chose.

For more information…Digging Deeper