Hardware & Software Technology
Hardware is the collection of physical parts of the computer, including the computer itself, monitor/screen, and various accessing methods e.g. different keyboards, mice and switches. There are many varieties of keyboards, mice and switches that could help improve access to computers, smart devices, toys, games, communication devices and environmental controls, depending on individual need.
> Keyboards – e.g. standard, jumbo/enlarged, mini keyboards, uni-lateral keyboard, overlay key guards and on-screen keyboard (operated by touch screen or cursor).
> Mouse – e.g. small (designed for a small child’s hand), uni-button, (could be used at early stages of accessing technology or if there are difficulties with left/right discrimination), standard click, double click, wireless, roller ball, joystick, and thumb mouse (helpful when there is limited dexterity).
> Switches – e.g. tilt, infrared, squeeze, pal pad, spec, button, lever, pincer grip switches and ‘suck and blow’ mouth operated switches. Switches can be operated by different parts of the body, and positioned or secured on desks, wheelchairs, trays, class chairs, or special mounting devices etc.
There is a wide range of software packages available to improve access to computers and smart devices, e.g. communication software, education software, games programmes, website access and Apps, with a variety of operating methods.
> Touch Screen Technology – e.g. large interactive screens, tablets or smart phones.
> Educational Programmes and Apps – for computers and smart devices, offer support with numeracy, reading, writing, literacy, composition and recording of work (e.g. Read and Write Gold and Clicker), and other curricular subjects.
> A wide range of specific tools can be selected to meet individual needs, e.g. word prediction, talking dictionary, picture dictionary, talking calculator and talk back.