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The arrival of technological aids brings good changes, including that of the physical layout of the class which is transformed. Sometimes you need to have extension cords and additional outlets to connect devices. It is beneficial to use mobile stations and store them safely in a cabinet which, ideally, provides recharging.
Changes in habits are to be expected among teachers, especially since interactive digital whiteboards often make their debut at the same time as technological aids. According to the observations of teacher Isabelle Goyette, a transition is happening for many. “By moving from a board where you write to another where you can display digital documents, it changes the way of working. We forget about paperwork and old photocopies. For my part, I develop new reflexes. It gives me the desire to have a platform to deposit my files for all my students, not just for those who have needs ”.
These words lead us to distinguish learning aid teaching aid, two concepts that have the advantage of coexisting. Learning assistance is technological assistance used by disabled or struggling students for whom the requested task could not be performed without this assistance. Teaching aid, on the other hand, is used by the teacher when he leads his teaching activities because this aid can benefit the whole class. “There are lots of things we can do as an apprenticeship with everyone,” says Maude Lymburner. Whether it is how to organize your ideas or summarize a text using a ideator, analyze sentences with Antidote or practice syntax and punctuation using text-to-speech software ”.
As we standardize the use of these tools in everyday practice, we come to realize that computers are part of the landscape. "If we had more time in class, to make all our students work on the computer in meaningful projects, that would allow students in difficulty to manipulate their software more, notes Isabelle Goyette. By making the use of computers a habit rather than a special context, technological aids go more unnoticed. “Students don't want to be called 'ortho' on the playground,” explains Richard Ayotte. Some are afraid of being judged because they receive rehabilitation services and technological equipment ”.
What tech assistants bring to students
In his book Learning disabilities and assistive technologies, Nadia Rousseau mentions several contributions of technological aids for students in difficulty. She mentions in particular the possibility of progressing at one's own pace, immediate feedback, a more positive perception of being and learning to which they would not have had access otherwise.
In her daily interventions in first secondary, Isabelle Goyette makes the same observation. “I feel that the students do not give up, I feel less that they are botching a job. Our RECIT resource person prepared a spreadsheet in which the report card scores of students using assistive technologies were recorded. I checked: over three years, those of my students have increased ”.
There is, however, one condition to promote this success, namely that of using technological assistance tools correctly. “I worked with a student who had 62 % at one stage when he had no support tools,” says Maude Lymburner. Next time he got 65 % even though he was using his tools. If tech aids only add 3 more points to writing skills, we have to ask ourselves if they are being used well. "
Training students with assistive technology is of paramount importance in helping them reach their full potential. It is important for the teacher or remedial teacher to know what types of learners he is working with. “The training ensures that the student is aware of the usefulness of his tool,” explains Ms. Lymburner. They must be taught to use the word prediction and do exercises in order to correctly use speech synthesis. When I tell students that they are 90 % likely not to have a spelling error if they use their tools correctly, they don't believe me. "
This training takes time to show results. It doesn't happen in a week. We are talking about a few months, even a few years. “Our intention is to equip the student solidly enough to survive in the high school jungle,” illustrates Richard Ayotte, educational advisor in ICT integration. The pupil in difficulty who receives the same document as the others, but on his USB key, must determine when, why and how he will use his technological tools according to the density of the text or the complexity of the task ”. Will he put on his headset, will he need his speech synthesis for a sentence or a paragraph, will he use his writing aids to have an echo of himself ? These are the questions that a student using assistive technologies must learn to consciously ask themselves.
Not only must a good training be orchestrated by the speakers, a good dialogue must be established with the students to explain to them what their needs are and how their brains work. You have to know the help functions and know in what context you use them. “When you give them a computer, you have to tell them why,” notes Maude Lymburner. For them, it is written “techno assistants” in their intervention plan. They are told that they are dyslexic or that they have difficulty in French. Rather, it should be clearly stated to them what their disorder is and its impacts, and what tools they should use to compensate. "
SUMMARY OF THE FILE:
1. Know success at last through technology
2. ICTs to help students with learning disabilities: an injustice to others?
3. Technologies for assisting learning disabilities: the technopedagogical challenge for teachers
4. Digitizing your traditional equipment: a survival guide
5. Deployment of technological aids: changes to be expected in the classroom
6. Assistive technology and ministerial assessment