Keeping Up with the Fast-Moving World of Assistive Technology
A conversation with special education tech expert Kindy Segovia
Kindy Segovia is the Supervisor of Special Education Instructional Resources for the Kent Intermediate School District in Grand Rapids, Mich. She is a presenter for four sessions at this January’s 2020 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) in Miami. Kindy’s sessions will focus on access, removing barriers, and the use of assistive technology.
Over the past several years, Segovia has seen positive changes regarding barriers facing assistive technology. She explains, “We’re finally starting to see some implementation of moving beyond—especially in the world of assistive technology—the one-student, one-solution strategy that we’ve adopted and implemented for a long time.”
Overall there has been a greater embrace of new coaching models and efforts to increase available tools inside classrooms. “We’re trying to find tools and strategies that meet the needs of more students, if not all students. [We are looking] not just to assist the classroom teacher but make system-wide change. While that can be daunting and difficult, we are starting to see that trend have a little bit of an upswing,” she adds.
Many districts have already fully embraced one-to-one practices, but the upgrade on devices for people with disabilities has been slower in implementation. However, Segovia is intrigued by recent developments and an increase in the acceptance of technologies in the field.
“Now, we’re looking at the device in front of us to not only [see] what we can add to that device to help that student with a disability, but those adaptations, extensions, add-ons that can also help other students in that classroom.”
Although schools are generally slow to adopt trendy tech to avoid wasting resources on technologies that do not stick, Segovia sees a need to be more open to new tech tools. “Some trending technologies have a great impact on our students. Eyegaze is a good example. Eyegaze was very difficult to access and cumbersome. Now that it’s become embedded in many more mainstream devices for mainstream applications, we’ve seen not only cost points go down but the accuracy of the technology [improve.] The number of students accessing Eyegaze for both communication and general access to technology has gone up.”
Smart technologies are improving in the general culture, and Segovia feels it’s important that schools not shy away from adopting the newer “ideas” to better support students in the long run. According to Segovia, the key question is, “What can we have students use that will transfer beyond their educational life?”
About Kindy Segovia
Kindy Segovia, is currently the Supervisor of Special Education Instructional Resources at Kent Intermediate School District, MI. She has worked as a Special Education and Assistive Technology Consultant in schools for over 25 years. She has provided extensive educational training for teachers, parents and administrators with a focus on curricular adaptations, differentiation, UDL and integrating technology into instruction. She has been named Special Educator of the Year and received Michigan’s Digital Leadership Award. She is also an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University.
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The 40th anniversary Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) will take place January 14-17, 2020 in Miami, Fla. Registration is now open at Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC)