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Assistive technology in e-learning platforms for children with special needs.

 

The unforeseen pandemic had led the world to shut down, it had the worst impact on the education sector. After the pandemic, the use of e-learning platforms has increased. The global industry has since its birth grew by 900% globally. In 2020–21, the number of students ages 3–21 who received special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was 7.2 million. So, nearly 7.2 million students need Assistive technologies to be incorporated into the available e-learning platform. So to be inclusive and provide equal educational opportunity to all, there are certain features that a Learning management system can cater to the needs of the special children.  

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Let us see the types of learning problems special children face and how certain features in LMS platforms help overcome those disabilities: 

  1. Listening: Students with hearing disabilities find visual teaching styles beneficial. The video-style lecture that the e-learning platform offers is a plus for these special children. But by adding certain features like Captioning/ Closed captioning. Captioning is an important vehicle to assist individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing with access to the media. With the use of AI technologies, it is possible to transcribe (even the real-time live session) in real-time! Transcribing/ Captioning video lectures, Slides, online pdf books, and interactive content that a learning management system provides is very helpful for students with special needs in listening.
  2. Reading: Students with disabilities like dyslexia have trouble reading and writing coherently. Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding). Also called reading disability, dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language. One of the cool things about technology today is that it allows for more personalized learning experiences to help kids who have dyslexia or other conditions that cause them to learn differently. For instance, tech like Dragon Speak helps dyslexic students “write” their papers by voice, ensuring that their answers are not limited by their ability to spell or write. In addition, they’re able to learn via audiobooks, rather than moving slowly through text ones. 
  3. Writing: Students with Physical disabilities who require a scribe, or students with writing disorders like Dysgraphia require features that assist them with writing. For students whose disability prevents them from using any sort of manual input device, speech-to-text technology has become a reliable alternative. Integrating voice-to-text devices LMS platforms helps the students to write their assessments or exams without the need for a physically present scribe. And for students with writing disorders like Dysgrahia, there is special software like Ginger that have several additional functions like word prediction, sentence rephrasing, TTS function, and a personal trainer to avoid previously made mistakes.
  4. Visually challenged students: Incorporating personalized PCs for visually challenged students plays a vital role in imparting quality education to them. For instance, BrailleNote Apex is a kind of a PC for visually challenged people. It does not have an LCD display, but there is a Braille display with raised buttons for readers to feel them. There is 8Gb of internal memory, two USB ports, a card reader, a GPS receiver, a Wi-Fi router, etc. It has almost all the functions that are used by ordinary users, so is an indispensable device for people with poor eyesight. Integrating Learning management systems to such personalized PCs helps them with a quality education like every other student.
  5. Autism: Students with Autism have problems focusing, and looking into people and are attention deficient. In an autism-related case study, it has been proved that Wearing Google glasses have substantially improved autism-affected children, and it has helped them to understand others’ moods (helps in emotional intelligence). Additionally, e-learning platforms allow students to study at their own pace, this is a massive benefit to autistic students since they can study at their own time and pace.

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Conclusion

Social and cultural barriers and unequal opportunities manifested in access to quality education remain one of the most serious difficulties of national educational policies. But with e-learning platforms, equality in education, and imparting quality education to all are achieved, but taking special children into consideration while designing an e-learning platform is much more important for a socially responsible person. Since LMS platforms are flexible it is very easy to incorporate tools that are required for children with special educational needs. So if you are a tutor/institution looking for starting an e-learning platform or for incorporating assistive technologies, Check out the top-notch and most immense customizable e-learning platform, Expertplus LMS. Contact Bsetec for more details and a free demo.

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