. From what I can tell… Technology education is the study of the human ability to create and use tools to shape the natural environment to meet their needs. The goal of technology education is to spread technological literacy or in some countries technacy, which is accomplished by bringing laboratory activities to students. The term “technology education” is frequently shortened to “tech ed”. Technology Education has evolved from Industrial Arts and Manual Training. Industrial Arts programs were also known as “shop classes”. And so today, technology education students generally work in labs and perform laboratory activities. In the past, many referred to the work areas used in technology education as “shops”, however, many teachers have encouraged students to use the term “lab”. The goal of technology education is different from technical education. Technical education teaches specific skills directed toward a specific type of work, for example, carpentry, automotive maintenance, welding, or computer network administration. Technology education is often confused with the term educational technology, which denotes technological devices and methods of delivering or developing educational information. Technology is everywhere in the world today. It is in our jobs, our homes, where we shop, and more important, in our schools. Assistive technology is “any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities”. (SPED 301, Dr. Pleet, Fall 2000) Technology can be seen in schools all over with colleges advertising their great tech centers as a reason for attending their schools, and in the primary and secondary grades with private school. They advertise their state of the art computer labs, but focus mainly on the academic aspect of technology. In this paper, I will focus on the aspect of technology in special education classrooms, and how it helps children to grow not only academically but socially as well. I will talk about how technology offers an alternative other than academic gains for children with special needs such as improved social skills, and communication. I will also talk about how it is a legal obligation for students to be provided with technology. Technology opens the door to communication and learning for those who without it may not be able to achieve the same things. Many students have a difficult time academically because of disabilities. This can be they can solve some of these problems through the use of devices, and adaptations for devices. A way that these problems are being solved is through different assistive devices such as manual signs or communication boards, voice output computer aids, and computers. With communication boards, students are given a board with different pictures on it that display what they are trying to say. They point to the object, which therefore gives the other person their message. Through voice output computer aids students are able to type on a device what they wish to say, and the device will say what the student types. Computers can also be used to type messages. Some may think that the thought of someone with a disability using a computer does not make sense because of different disabilities. In reality there are many types of devices that are adaptable to an everyday computer to assist those students with special needs. The main problems for students with disabilities would be those with vision or physical impairments such as poor motor control. For students with vision impairments there are screen enhancers that are put over top of the computer to enhance what is being seen on the screen, or word processors that say what is being typed. There are also things built into all computers such as the ability to increase the mouse pointer, and even more simply, the font. For those with physical disabilities, there are devices such as keyboards that are made larger, or computer mice that do not have to be moved. There is also voice recognition software, a device in which someone would speak what he or she wants typed, and the computer types what they are saying. This can be used for a social aspect as well as academically.
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