Mobile learning as alternative to assistive technology devices for special needs students
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Assistive Technology (AT) revolutionized the process of learning for special needs students during the past three decades. Thanks to this technology, accessibility and educational inclusion became attainable more than any time in the history of special education. Meanwhile, assistive technology devices remain unreachable for a large number of students with disabilities, especially in under-developed and developing countries like Morocco due to a number of factors, especially, availability and affordability. Mobile learning, using smartphones and tablets in particular, may provide alternative solutions as special education tools in such countries. Additionally, open source platforms, particularly Google play store with all the applications it accommodates for disabled people, may obviate the need for monofunctional, sometimes expensive, AT devices. The present paper sets out to investigate potentials of using smartphones and tablets as alternative learning tools for assistive technology devices within formal and informal learning environments. It compares seven free Google Play medical apps with seven assistive technology devices at the level of functionality and affordability. The apps are of relevance to cases of physical as well as mental disabilities, namely hearing impairment, visual impairment, autism and speech articulation disorders.
Keywordse-learning m-learning Assistive technology Special needs students Medical apps
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