Keeping Focused – What assistive technology can help students get started and stay on task?

While some students are diligently working on their assignments, you may notice a few looking out the window or fidgeting in their seat.  At first glance, you may think these are behavior issues.  If you dig a little deeper, you will discover that the students do not understand the work or get distracted.    Redesigning instruction may work for many, but some students have individual needs that can be met using AT tools.  There are many assistive technologies that can help these students get started on their work and stay focused. 

Students with anxiety or attention disorders can become overwhelmed in the classroom, especially when there is independent learning involved.  If a teacher does not recognize non-verbal cues from the student, a simple assignment can become an outburst of emotion for students with disabilities.  

Almost every day at my high school, we have students who are sent out of class for “having an attitude” or “not doing their work.”  As educators, we have to take a step back and recognize what we can do to help the situation, not escalate it.  The best policy is to find what triggers are affecting our students, and try to prevent them. 

Assistive technology allows students to help decide what works best for them, and lets them be in control of their own learning.  @AssistTech shows how AT is being implemented in classrooms today.  @LDOnline gives great ideas to keep your students engaged and motivated.  Lets get started!

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