Technologies for assisting learning disabilities: the technopedagogical challenge for teachers

(continuation of the report) The arrival of assistive technologies is not without impact for teachers. The integration of technological tools to meet the needs of students in difficulty takes time. This […]

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The arrival of assistive technologies is not without impact for teachers. The integration of technological tools to meet the needs of students in difficulty takes time. This pedagogical differentiation confronts not only the way of teaching, but also the technological skills of teachers.

Teaching with technological assistance tools involves reviewing your teaching. “The ways of doing things develop over time,” indicates Richard Ayotte, educational advisor in the integration of ICT. The teacher must first review his basic rules of classroom management. The simple fact of asking the student to close the cover of his computer when giving instructions becomes necessary. "

Integrating help tools requires a certain openness. "We learn to refine our process," explains Isabelle Goyette, a first-secondary teacher at the Rivière-du-Nord school board, for whom there have been more students using technological aids since 2012. I was curious when my students wrote. I would go behind them to learn how they worked and watch them work differently. This leads me to question my ways of doing things and to adapt. Me, I make beautiful arrows on my painting, but them? "


Vintage, dictations?

It is also important to adjust certain tasks because they have become insignificant. An example? An activity as mundane as looking for the word "truck" in the dictionary deserves to be rethought. Indeed, even if the dyslexic student came to the idea of starting this word with a K, this task becomes child's play with the writing assistance tools. Adapting such activities to truly appeal to their writing skills - rather than their skills in using their tool - it is done, but it clashes with values. “If he has his electronic dictionary, he conjugates better than me. And if he does not have it, he is unable to answer! », Caricature Richard Ayotte, remembering the words of a teacher.

Changing teaching practices to integrate assistive technologies calls for creativity, but also for modifying certain well-established habits. “Continuing to give points for vocabulary tests becomes pointless. Continuing to give a rating for verb conjugations loses its relevance. Why not assess students in a more complex learning situation, a writing situation for example, to really use their skills? », Asks the educational advisor.


Technological skills 101

In addition to planning the way he teaches, the educator must now deal with technology on a day-to-day basis. In several schools, the green board has been replaced by an interactive digital board. Most textbooks are now supplied in paper and digital form, not to mention that tablets are making a big splash in more and more classrooms.

The arrival of assistive technologies adds to this technological panorama. It is necessary to integrate the management of these devices on a daily basis. “For my part, I have never been afraid of computers,” says Isabelle Goyette. The reflex of anticipating when students will be able to use their laptop or tablet seems easier to me than for some colleagues who are less comfortable with technology ”.

Many school boards offer training to teachers to familiarize them with assistive technologies used by students. "I see that teachers feel committed to providing good support services to students in class," says Maude Lymburner, remedial teacher at the Commission scolaire des Affluents. But many feel they don't have the skills to help students use their device. They were all trained at the start of the year, but only the most techno-savvy have reinvested ”.


Easy, this software?

There is a variety of specialized software for students with special needs with functions ranging from the simplest to the most complex. It is important to know them in order to guide students to optimize their use in various contexts. “Knowing the functions is not all,” continues the remedial teacher. You have to know what they are used for and in what context to use them. "

Basic training gives reassurance to teachers in this world that they still know very little about. "I found it very stimulating to learn how to use some software and to be made aware of learning disabilities," explains Ms. Goyette, who was part of a committee of multipliers in technological aids last year. It opened my eyes. Now, I am asking my direction for more advanced training to help my students. I have good will, but I am not a Madame Antidote. Using all the functions would pay off so much for them! "



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

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