Classroom equipment for students with physical disabilities can vary from the classic overhead projector to new technology items such as the document camera which can display student and teacher work. By using the correct equipment, teachers can maximize the learning outcome for students.
Getting the Right Classroom Equipment
Good instruction for students with physical disabilities involves teachers having the right equipment for effective instructional implementation. Students can use audiovisual equipment to present projects and cooperative grouping learning outcomes and computers to present auditory and tactile responses to assessments. In this article, different classroom equipment will be defined and strategies provided for classroom implementation.
The Right Tools: Classroom Equipment
Overhead Projector: Students can use the basic overhead projector to display mainstream instructional transparencies and other curriculum materials designed to address specific disabilities. In addition, students can display work that has been transferred onto transparencies for classroom "show and tell." The use of overhead projectors can minimize classroom distractions and focus student's attention on the learning target. Teachers can use transparencies to reveal smaller chunks of learning information by exposing only the learning objective in discussion and not the entire transparency which can be overstimulating for specific student disabilities. The use color markers to accentuate graphical displays and title headings can add to the visual experience for students with visual impairments.
Document Camera: The document camera is a newer addition of instructional technology to the classroom that displays instructional materials, student work, overheads, assessments, specific writing tasks and curriculum pages used in instruction. With a simple flip of the camera's base, the teacher or student can place documents directly on the base and display specific work. When not in use, the document camera can be stored easily for access in a drawer, cabinet or storage closet. Make sure the camera is securely locked in these facilities since a document camera can easily add a hefty price tag to a school's budget.
SMART Board: A new technological tool in the 21st century, the SMART board is a combination of computer inclusion and student access. Students can have direct interaction with the learning and solve problems directly on the board. For math classes, the SMART board provides instant assessment and problem solving for students processing math or other subject content area skills.
Computers and Assistive Technology: Computers with assistive software can open up a whole new world of learning and processing for students with physical disabilities. With the addition of voice activated software and wireless mouses that are mobile and interactive with the computer, students who have verbal and kinesthetic disabilities can process information in a learning modality that is computer adapted and inclusive.
We have come a long way from the basics of pen and paper for students in today's classrooms. In the 21st century, students with physical disabilities can have IEP accommodations and instructional inclusions that can provide the best classroom equipment to maximize academic outcome and success.