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    Posted October 23, 2012 by
    jbjimbo
    Location
    athens, Georgia

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    UGA Testing New Teaching Tools

     
    The University of Georgia’s Disability Resource Center (DRC) is turning to students and technology to find new ways to level the educational playing field. For one student, that means using a digital tablet to battle visual limitations.

    Fifth-year-student Jamie Diamond, 23, of Atlanta, has a rare genetic disability that affects his ability to see.

    “My problem is genetic. There’s no fix,” says Diamond. “At least not today for me. Maybe in the future for someone else.”

    Coping with his disability for his entire life has taught Diamond to find new ways to do everyday things.

    “I found a number of places like that where there is no easy way to accommodate,” explains Diamond. “And it always requires you to find a way around it, engineering a solution around it.”

    The DRC is hoping to help Diamond and other students with text-related disabilities by bringing Apple iPad’s to the classroom.

    “The students would traditionally have to submit an alternative text request to us,” explains Angela Cote, who is the DRC’s Alternative Media Coordinator. ”They list the textbooks that are required [for class]. For this program instead of loading PDFs to ELC we put them on the ipad,”

    The iPads can be used for more than just textbook readings. They can also be used to view class notes and lectures.

    “I can see scribbles on it,” says Diamond explaining what he can see of a professor’s PowerPoint presentation during class. “And I can see lines where there are lines. I couldn’t tell you what they said though.”

    However, Diamond was able to load the instructor’s lecture onto his iPad before class allowing him to follow along with a screen just inches from his face.

    Diamond is one of eight students in the iPad pilot program, which started this semester. There are 80 other students with text related disabilities out of the about 1,500 students registered with the DRC, according to Cote.

    Cote, who oversees the pilot program, hopes to receive feedback from program participants before continuing classroom tests in the spring semester.

    Print-related disabilities include limitations with mobility, learning along with sight, according to Cote.

    As a separate service, iPads are available free of charge to all university students on the third floor of the Miller Learning Center
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