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New Zealand: Assistive Technology in Education

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As the academic year commences in New Zealand, families nationwide gear up for the typical back-to-school expenses, including uniforms, stationery, and essential devices. However, for parents of children with disabilities, these costs can become overwhelming, particularly when it comes to purchasing specialised assistive technology.

One of the key benefits of assistive technology is its ability to provide personalised learning experiences. By tailoring instruction to meet the individual needs of each student, technology can help bridge gaps in understanding and enable students to access content in ways that work best for them. This personalised approach promotes academic success and fosters confidence and independence in students with disabilities.

Jonathan Mosen, Chief Executive and Assistive Technology Consultant at a portal job private company, suggested selecting aids to support students with visual and hearing impairments. Often, these solutions come at a significant cost, adding to the financial strain faced by families already navigating the challenges of supporting children with disabilities. Considering what Jonathan underscored, the Ministry of Education of New Zealand has taken the stride of technology utilisation among disabled students, making their study more seamless.

Drew is a student grappling with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia. Despite possessing a strong vocabulary and slightly above-average oral comprehension skills, Drew’s academic performance has steadily declined over the past four years. His struggles with writing and spelling, coupled with anxiety issues, have led to decreased school attendance and social withdrawal.

Technology harnessing is crucial in Drew’s classroom, which is equipped with 12 laptops and two tablets for educational activities. However, Drew needs help with passwords and navigation, hindering his ability to engage with digital resources fully.

A tablet trial with an external keyboard and literacy support app was initiated to address his specific needs. Over six months, Drew made remarkable progress, exhibiting increased writing output, improved spelling accuracy, and enhanced participation in class activities.

Moreover, Riley, a non-verbal student diagnosed with autism, relies on a tablet with a platform for communication. With technology, Riley has made significant strides in creating simple sentences, typing words with predictive spelling, and listening to his sentences using the read-back function. His newfound ability to express himself has boosted his confidence and facilitated greater engagement in classroom activities.

Suan, a student diagnosed with hearing loss, faced challenges following class instructions and actively participating in discussions. After a trial of a personal RMHA (Remote Microphone Hearing Aid) system, Suan’s responsiveness to verbal instructions improved significantly. He now actively participates in class discussions, responds appropriately to questions, and engages with peers during group activities.

Bridget, who has cerebral palsy, encountered difficulties with writing due to motor impairments. A trial of a lightweight laptop equipped with word prediction and reading software, alongside a modified chair and slope board, resulted in notable improvements. Bridget’s writing output increased, and her work became more legible, leading to greater independence in the classroom.

These stories underscored the transformative impact of assistive technology in education. By addressing the unique needs of students with disabilities, technology enhances their learning experiences and empowers them to reach their full potential. As schools continue to embrace inclusive practices, integrating assistive technology will play a pivotal role in creating equitable learning environments for all students.

Nevertheless, fostering inclusive education demands persistent dedication and the allocation of resources towards pioneering remedies such as assistive technology. As an educational institutions persist in prioritising diversity, fairness, and inclusivity, integrating assistive technology into pedagogical approaches will gain greater significance.

Through leveraging the capabilities of technology to aid students with disabilities, educators can establish learning environments that are not only more accessible but also fairer, granting every student an equal chance to excel. With ongoing exploration, creativity, and cooperation, the capacity of assistive technology to revolutionise education for students with disabilities is poised to expand further in New Zealand.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.