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The Effective Use of High and Low Technology Tools

Barbara pointing a symbol on the communication board.High and low technology tools refers to a broad range of technology, media and materials that teachers can use to facilitate access to learning for children with developmental disabilities. High technology typically refers to computer-based tools as well as the software that is run on these machines. In both Barbara's and Susan's classrooms, you will see desktop computers with a variety of adaptive devices (e.g. touch windows, expanded keyboards, single switches, speech synthesizers). These tools include the more complex dedicated communication devices which utilize communication software programs.

Low technology typically refers to simpler electronic devices and non-electronic materials. In the classrooms you will tour, you will see standard electronic classroom tools (e.g. tape-recorders outfitted with a single switch) and specialized electronic tools for students with disabilities (e.g. electronic scissors). The simple communication devices that enable teachers to record a limited number of messages might also be considered "low-tech." Finally, you will see that non-electronic materials, such as accessible books and picture communication symbols boards, have a profound impact on the accessibility of learning in each classroom.


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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP)  in collaboration with the Center for Literacy and Disabilities (CLD)  at Duke University.   NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by CLD, NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

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