All students can benefit from using technology to develop twenty-first-century skills and to prepare for the jobs of the future. But technology also serves another important function for the more than 6 percent of the student population, or more than 2 million children, who have physical or learning disabilities: Technology can help democratize learning for many of these students and level the learning field by enabling them to participate in the same learning and social experiences as their peers.
VIDEO: The Sound of Learning: Albano Berberi
Running Time: 8 min.
The research done on visually impaired students indicates that only 40 percent of such students are using the kind of technology that Albano Berberi -- a blind Advanced Placement computer science student, devoted gamer, and violin prodigy -- employs every day. Many teachers are not aware of how useful these technologies are. Others are simply not comfortable with incorporating the devices into their instruction.
The situation is the same for students with other disabilities. National surveys have found that no more than 35 percent of students with diagnosed disabilities are receiving assistive technology as part of their federally mandated individualized education plan (IEP).