Technology: Software

There is a vast range of software available for use in school. Careful consideration should be given to selection of programs for students with special needs particularly as software is expensive, grants are limited and teachers have finite time and expertise to study and incorporate these packages into the teaching/ learning day.

Selection

Educational software should be selected

The teacher should get advice about what is available, what is recommended in similar situation and what are the training and technical implications for the program. Sources of advice and information will vary depending on location and services available.

If possible teachers should see the program in operation – in another school, in Education Centre, etc - before making a final decision. They should plan to review the use of the software regularly and to use it creatively with the student.

General Criteria

The software should

In addition the program should have suitable language, text, graphics, sound, speech, feedback, reward and progress report as appropriate.

Software Categories

Educational software for use with students with special needs can be broadly divided into two main categories -

Content-free software allows users to enter their own content – text, graphics, sound - within a framework. This category includes word processors, word prediction programs, presentation software, art and deign programs, multimedia authoring programs as well as planning and organisation software.

Content-rich software includes

Another important category of software for students with special needs is Access Software. This software includes OCR scanning programs, scan and read programs, screen readers, magnification software, on-screen keyboards, voice recognition programs as well as a range of switch access software for students who cannot use the mouse or keyboard. Students who use a touch screen or touch monitor can use any software that is accessed by the mouse.

Evaluation of Software

When selecting software for students with special needs teachers may need to get advice, see the software in use if possible and have some criteria for selection.

NCTE give main four points to consider when selecting software

  1. Educational Value
  2. Content
  3. Design and Navigation
  4. Ease of Use & Suitability

Advice may be available from therapists and service providers working with the student. Support may also be provided through  local Education Centres. Information can be sourced through the internet but site content and focus needs to be carefully assessed.

News

Special Education Needs Technology's new website is now live.

We hope that you find this site useful.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if there is any additional information on Assistive Technologies we can provide.

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