What types of hardware are available in elementary through high school classrooms today and which ones would be considered essential for students' learning?
The Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988, also known as “The Tech Act” ensures that every school district follows the IDEA act and aligns it with the 21st century teaching and learning paradigms. The result is special funding for the purchase of specific hardware and devices to aid students with disabilities to perform optimally in the classroom.
When it comes to mobility, the following assistive devices are supposed to be provided: Prosthetic devices, Compact wheelchairs/scooters, Segways, and ramp accessibility
Visually impaired students- Tablets, e-readers/eBooks (for bright screen if the student has limited vision), Braille books, magnifying lenses for books, flashcard readers (the teacher slides the flashcard and the machine reads it to the student), audio readers, and remote response (S.M.A.R.T Technologies) and larger keyboards
Hearing impaired students- hearing aids provided by the district, type-to-talk devices, playback recorders, tablets, the SMARTtablet, the SMARTtable, or e-readers.
Cognitive enhancement devices are often the most requested to remediate and sometimes enrich the academic process. These include: tablets, remote clickers from SMART, Smartboards, Mimios (remote interaction with the desk), SMARTtablet, the SMARTtable talk to text devices, Flip cameras (sometimes cell phones are allowed to do Teleconferencing) and access to applications online.
Therefore, the technology is there and is available. It all depends on the proper use of funding.