Alexis Azria on Assistive Technologies Being Used in Classrooms

Alexis Azria
2 min readDec 13, 2022

In the U.S., the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act guarantees that all eligible children who require special education, regardless of the nature or severity of their disability, receive a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. These students also have to be provided with reasonable accommodations. To meet these requirements, schools use assistive technology, such as screen readers and refreshable Braille displays for the blind or visually impaired.

To be considered an assistive technology, the software or hardware has to meet the needs of its users. Below are some common forms of assistive technology that are used in classrooms around the country.

Google Classroom

The rise of online learning has led to the emergence of Google Classroom, which is a tool that allows students to improve their learning and executive function. The platform is compatible with various software, such as Hapara Student Dashboard and Kurzweil 3000. In the upcoming versions of Classroom, Google will add features such as video tutorials and guided lessons.

Seeing AI

Microsoft has created a program called Seeing AI, which is designed for people with low vision. It can provide audio guidance in various situations. It reads text aloud whenever it appears in a user’s smartphone’s camera viewfinder. It also scans barcodes and describes the surrounding scenery and colors. Eventually, it will learn to recognize the facial expressions of its users.

Dragon

Although it’s marketed as a productivity tool, Dragon is also widely used by students with disabilities due to its ability to transcribe natural speech. With deep learning capabilities, it can produce a speech output of up to 160 words per minute.

MathTalk

With MathTalk, students with ADHD and other physical disabilities can use speech recognition software that is designed to complement Dragon. This program transcribes mathematical notation and comprehends technical vocabulary, which is ideal for algebra, calculus, and other math courses.

Speechify

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Alexis Azria

Writer and curious creator. Passionate about work, life & social issues. Visit alexisazria.com