Sunday, October 16, 2011

Assistive Technology and Writing

Chapter 6 of “Assessing Students’ Needs for Assistive Technology” discusses the different techniques a team can use to evaluate a student’s needs in writing and improving their composition.  This chapter suggests that a team of educators involved with the students learning should be formed to come up with the best way to help a student.   A variety of options are suggested to help a struggling student, such as using voice recognition software to assist with the students spelling problems, a pocket dictionary and/or thesaurus  to help with word selection, graphic organizers (like those created with Inspiration) to assist with organizing ideas, and using word processing programs to help students with grammar and spelling.

Designing a program that fits the needs and goals of each individual student should be the ultimate goal of any assistive technology program.  One such way to assist a student is providing them with a portable electronic dictionary.  An electronic dictionary would allow the student to look up words they are unsure of or that they are confused about especially if they are homonyms.  Another way to assist students is through using programs that use pictures in place of words to form sentences.  Programs like Pix Writer, Picture It, and Writing with Symbols use pictures with labels attached.  These programs provide a valuable visual asset to students.  It allows them to associate a picture with the word, helping with learning and recognizing the word in the future.

There are many other programs and techniques that educators can use to help students than the ones listed above.  Which program or technique is used depends on the student’s needs and also the skills of the teaching professional.  These programs are for the benefit of the student and should be used to enhance the student’s learning experience, building their confidence and ability to grasp concepts and succeed at composition to the best of their ability.

Gierach, Jill. (June 2009). Chapter 6: Assistive Technology for the Composition of Written Material.  Assessing Students’ Needs for Assistive Technology (ASNAT).  Retrieved from  October 12th, 2011


  1. Megan,

    I agree with your post because you mention a lot about the students being able to enhance their learning through technology. I believe students would benefit from portable electronic dictionaries or other ways that gives them a visual element of what they are learning. I think this offers another sense of understanding for the child.If a child can find ways to improve their vocabulary through thesauruses or dictionaries then we are benefiting them in many ways. I believe teachers should incorporate and encourage dictionaries and other vocabulary builders to help the students.


  2. Megan,

    I agree that using technology will enhance learning in a way that it not possible otherwise. I think that buy using these they are learning their lesson as well as addressing the ITSE standards of learning.