Assignment 3: ICT in Society Portfolio Assignment (3c) An Investigation into the way ICT can affect the everyday life of an individual with special needs. Introduction To help me to understand how ICT can affect the needs of someone with special needs I decided to base my investigation around someone I know who has limited mobility but who goes to a main stream school. I thought that it would be interesting to speak to him to see how ICT has helped improve his life both at school and at home. I decided to prepare some questions to ask him about what ICT he uses, what he would like to be able to use and how he feels it helps him in his everyday life. I decided then that after my interview with him I could then investigate these technologies to see how they work, how they can help people with special needs and perhaps see if there are any other devices available that he doesn’t know about yet but that might help improve things for him even more. Interview Q. Your wheelchair is controlled by a joystick. Do you think that it is easy to control? A. I don’t really have much bother trying to control my wheel chair anymore. It was very hard when I first got it, it used to go everywhere on me but I play a lot of computer games now and my physio says that this will help me. Q. Do you ever get tired when you are moving for a long time and you have to control your wheel chair for that whole time? A. Yes my hands do get sore sometimes; it would be good if there was another device I could use that could be attached to my wheelchair so I could use it when my arms get tired. Q. If your hands get tired quickly surely you must find it hard sometimes in class when you are typing up exercises on your laptop? A. Yes, I do find it very hard because sometimes I drop my whole hand down on top of the wrong keys; a friend I know from my physio sessions has a program where he can talk into the computer and it types what he wants to say. I think that would be good! But I do also find it hard when I need to click on something very small on the screen; sometimes I find it hard to stop my hand from shaking. Q. What do you use your laptop/PC for most when you are a) in school b) at home? A. In school I use it mostly for doing exercises and typing up notes. At home I use it quite a lot for keeping in touch with my friends by email or sometimes in chat rooms in the evening. Q. Is there anything you find really hard to do when you are using it for these things? A. Well yes, like I said already, I sometimes have problems trying to keep up with the speed of typing or controlling the tracker pad when I need to select things. It means my typing is really slow and especially when I am on the Internet I always get left behind in conversations because I cant type quick enough. Finding out about the right equipment I decided it would be a good idea to do some research on the Internet and in the school library to get information about some of the ICT devices available to help my friend with his problems. I found the following books and web sites very useful when I was researching information for my assignment. (*Books and web sites*) Using these sources I was able to get information on the following devices and items of software that I feel would have been of help to my friend. Head pointers, light pointers, mouthsticks and a new device from America called the smartNav. Key guards and the Intellikeys Keyboard. Predictive word processing software Touch pads, joysticks and roller balls Voice recognition software Email, Internet chat and video conferencing Portfolio Presentation The first thing I needed to decide when I was putting my portfolio together was, ‘How am I going to present my information?’. I decided that because the portfolio was based around an organisation that was aimed at letting people with special needs know about the ICT support available to them that it might be an idea to use a web site. An organisation like this one would want to reach as many people as possible and would be good for friends, family, teachers and workmates to see as well as the person with special needs. Web sites will reach a wide audience (world wide), it can easily be updated when new devices/programs are developed and it can also link to other similar sites so that there is even more information available to see. The program I decided to use was MS FrontPage because this is a program I was already familiar with and it was available for me to use.