What is Assistive Technology?
Through the use of Assistive Technology, students are able to access learning resources which may not otherwise be accessible to them. This can be simple modifications to a computer such as a rollerball instead of a mouse, or a keyboard with larger keys. Adaptations can also be made to the software on computers and tablets so that students’ access is improved.
Assistive Technology also encompasses highly specialist devices and software such as electronic communication aids, eyegaze control, voice recognition, word prediction, switch control, door, window and curtain openers, and remote light switches. The aim of introducing Assistive Technology is to enable an individual to be as independent as possible when achieving their educational and life goals.
Assistive Technology supports our students to access their learning programme, become more independent, communicate with people at College and stay in touch with friends and family around the world. These benefits are not restricted to College life, and many students continue to use Assistive Technology whilst at home and after college.
The Technology Service
Beaumont College is a national centre of excellence for Assistive Technology practice and development. Technology plays an integral role in supporting and enabling the skill development and learning of our students. Technology is a vital tool without which access to the curriculum would be difficult or impossible for many students. We have an outstanding range of assistive technology equipment and software which along with a motivated and highly trained team of Technicians and Assistive Technologists enables students to access the curriculum through innovatively designed person centred technology solutions.
All students at the College are assigned a named assistive technologist who is responsible for all IT access assessments and any risk assessments that are associated with the use of the internet, including access to social media sites and services.
The technology department works closely with the communication, therapy and education teams to ensure that students who use Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices can access the College IT and other technology. Assistive Technology is a major strength of the College and is used to good effect within the curriculum through the embedding of assistive technologists into teaching sessions and in order to promote independence within independent living contexts.
The Technology team
The team support an IT Helpdesk where students can access members of the technology staff to help them resolve any IT or special access issues they may have. Our helpdesk technicians have media specialisms to support the use of creative arts technology in music, performance, dance etc.
The technology department has ‘Assistive Technologists’ dedicated to making IT more accessible for students. This includes utilisation of wheelchair mounted computers and developing custom access solutions in collaboration with students and colleagues from the trans-disciplinary team. The team also deliver a number of web based products such as the e-portfolio system and student blog.