By Ian Bean
Go to http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/conference/resources/resource/the-killer-app/ for the full video.
Educators and therapists have long recognised the role new technology might have in helping them overcome some of the barriers people with disabilities face in their lives. From the very earliest days of computing, men in sheds (and I count myself as one of them) have been beavering away with wood glue, wires and weird incomprehensible computer languages to design and build assistive technology and special needs software. Who can forget those big wooden switches that required our learners to pull three levers and dial ‘000’ on an old fashioned telephone dialer in order to make something happen on a computer that ran hotter than the classroom radiators.
It wasn’t all bad. From those same sheds emerged rudimentary versions of word prediction software, text to speech routines, touch screen and switch software and grid based word processors, many of which have evolved into the tools we now use in our classrooms. The work continues to this day. The sheds have gone, replaced with aluminium and glass edifices and you might struggle to find a tube of wood glue but they are still there, beavering away trying to build the ‘next big thing’, the ‘killer app’.
So what is the killer app that truly transforms teaching, learning, communication and leisure?