This week, the highlight is on assistive technologies.
Assistive technology is an umbrella term covering tools and services that can increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 billion people need assistive products (with that number increasing to 2 billion by 2030). (Source: WHO fact sheet)
Assistive technologies include a wide range of devices that help people who have difficulties carrying out certain tasks feel more functioning and independent. These can be every-day tools such as glasses, or simple devices such as automatic pill dispensers for people who have difficulty remembering what pills to take and when, they can be sophisticated software such as head trackers for people who cannot use a mouse or keyboard and have difficulties with oral communication as well. Basically, assistive technology can support people with speaking, typing, writing, remembering, pointing, seeing, hearing, learning, walking, and many other things.
In the context of online learning content, the most relevant assistive technologies are those that relate to hearing, seeing, and using a mouse or a keyboard. Examples of these include screen readers, screen magnifiers, braille displays, hearing aids, switches, mouth sticks, modified keyboards, speech recognition software etc.