Since 2020 and the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has seen an increase of use in higher education spaces to support students in remote learning. This has sparked a conversation of the role of technology in education spaces and how to forward diversity, equity, and inclusion with it.
An obvious benefit of education technology is improved accessibility, both in making learning less location-dependent and in helping students with learning difficulties or disabilities. Here are some ways technology has been advancing DEI in higher education:
Students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia often experience difficulty in reading, word comprehension, and interpretation of symbols and letters. Colleges have tutoring services and specialized education programs to help students with learning disabilities excel, and there are also technological tools that can help as well.
Easy Spelling Aid helps spelling and literacy for dyslexic students recommended by teachers for use individually or in a classroom setting. It can be used on iPads, iPhones, and Androids.
Livescribe has a digital pen and software where students can convert their handwritten or recorded notes into a digital format.
Students with visual impairments may experience difficulty in college as most of the environment is designed for seeing people. There have been different technologies developed to help bridge that gap.
Apple Live Listen helps students who are hard-hearing by providing quality-oriented sound so they can hear clearly in noisy areas.
Adesso offers a large print keyboard to help those with slight visual impairment thanks to its large 4X black print on bright yellow keys.
VoiceOver is an industry‑leading screen reader that describes exactly what’s on a screen, even in braille. This software is helpful for students with Mac OS. For students with Windows/PC, the NVDA Screen Reader has similar features and also has a braille display support.
Autism & Neurodiversity
Students on the autism spectrum or those with ADHD and other sensory processing disorders may greatly benefit from noise cancelling headphones. Many of these students are especially sensitive to sound and can become over stimulated and overwhelmed. It can be difficult for them to concentrate or study if there is background noise.
Virtual reality is another technology that has benefits for neurodiverse learners. Floreo is a telehealth platform that uses VR headsets to deliver social and behavioral therapy in schools.
Students with autism special needs may benefit from software designed to teach life skills, such as Learn-for-Life curriculum. Another helpful software for those with special needs is Widget. Learn more about Widget HERE.
Students with hearing impairments, whether hard-hearing or deafness, may struggle during classes or lectures as they rely heavily on sign language and text. Dragon is a speech recognition software with 99% accuracy.
Z5 Mobile is a video call app made for deaf and hard of hearing that can be used with Wi-Fi or a cellular data connection. Purple is an excellent communication tool that acts as an interpreter for those who do not understand ASL.
Shokz makes bone conduction technology accessible to everyone, allowing for both high-quality sound and situational awareness.
The Google Pixel 6 has a more equitable camera that better captures photos of people of color. The facial detection is also able to pick up on more diverse faces in a wider array of lighting conditions.
Google’s Real Tone offers an auto enhance feature for photos that improves color and lighting for all skin tones.
Google’s lighting adjustments in Google Meet have also been tested on a range of skin tones.
A Better Future
Although there is still a long ways to go in regards to diversity, equity, and inclusion in education, technology is playing a role in providing a more welcoming environment for all types of people.
What Ed Tech have you seen implemented? Do you sell any of these technologies in your store? Let us know in the comments.