Research Topic 2 – Using ICT with students with disabilities

Assistive technologies are necessary in teaching. They are especially important and useful for teaching students with an intellectual disability.
I have been looking into the different available technologies to assist students with intellectual and learning disabilities.

An article ‘using clicker 5 to enhance emergent literacy in young learners‘ shows a brief review of successful practices in emergent literacy utilising ICT, focusing on the specific software of Clicker 5. With the large influx and growth we are seeing in the technology world it is no surprise that the abilities and availabilities of assistive technologies are becoming vast. The Clicker 5 program was created to help students with basic and initial reading and writing skills. It is used with early childhood learning, but I believe it is an extremely helpful tool for students of any age who have poor basic literacy skills.

Clicker 5 is an ‘important grid writing tool’(Parette,2008) one way it works is by having a split screen with the top half as a basic word processor which functions the same way a traditional word document would. The bottom half of the page contains words, letters or phrases that the teacher can select; allowing a student to learn the basics of building simple sentences.



Like with many of these programs Clicker 5 allows for different levels of ability. Students with severe intellectual disabilities as well as restricted movement can build a sentence just by clicking, without having to even touch a keyboard. This can be made even easier for these students with restricted movement by adding a ‘big mack’ button. A big mack is a large clicking device which has other capabilities but in this case would be helpful for a student who was for example confined to a wheelchair so therefore cannot reach the mouse. (

The photograph below shows an example of a student using a Big Mack device.

It is difficult as a teacher to work with the limitations of severely intellectually disabled students. My mother is a high school Support Unit Head of faculty, her staff often find themselves exasperated and looking for new ways to engage and involve all of the students as much as possible. While this can sometimes be difficult, especially in a classroom with so many varying abilities, the introduction of programs and devices such as Clicker 5 and the Big Mack and continuing development of ICT and assistive technologies we can allow these students to feel a sense of accomplishment when being able to participate someway in the classroom environment.


Parette, Hourcade, Dinelli, Boeckman (2008) ‘using clicker 5 to enhance emergent literacy in young learners