Today (Dec 2) being Special Education Day in the United States, Microsoft has taken the opportunity to talk about some of the ways in which the company’s hardware and software solutions are helping educators offer education to special needs students.
Robin Lowell, for example, is a distance learning teacher who teaches mathematics to visually impaired and blind students across large distances. How does she do that you ask? She accomplishes this remarkable feat by utilizing Microsoft Lync and Yammer. Check out the video below to see how students connect to Lowell who teaches from home, 180 miles away from the school the students go to.
Microsoft hardware and software solutions are also used for similar purposes in other countries. In Japan, for example, Michio Inaba is a deaf teacher who teaches at Ikuno School for the deaf in Osaka. He makes use of Microsoft’s Surface hybrid PC’s and OneNote to make the most out of his students abilities. See his video below.
For students, there are several special education apps already available in the Windows Store for them to download. Such apps include Tap to Talk, an app for non-verbal children and adults that transforms a Windows device into an augmentative and alternative communication device. Visolve is another one that can apply color transformations to images, designed to assist people with color blindness.
The flexibility that Windows 8 provides, particularly in hybrid PC’s like the Microsoft Surface, is a huge benefit to students as they can easily switch between interacting with the device using mouse, keyboard, touch or pen, whichever works best for them.
Additionally, there are a few apps for Windows 8 that help educators assess the learning progression of their students, which is of course important for all students. Apps such as Record Voice & Pen that as its name suggests records voice and pen input so students can show and record their understanding of concepts that a teacher can later assess. Skitch Touch is another such app, you can watch how it works in the video below.
These are just a few examples of how Microsoft solutions are helping educators, students and people with disabilities overcome some of the challenges that they face. To read more, you can check out our coverage here and here.