Goegan, L. D., Le, L., Rioux, B. P., & Daniels, L. M. (2019). Examining factors that support continued use of assistive technology by postsecondary students with disabilities . Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education , 10 (1), 28–41. https://journalhosting.ucalgary.ca/index.php/cjnse
Goegan, L. D., Le, L., Rioux, B. P., & Daniels, L. M. (2019). Examining factors that support continued use of assistive technology by postsecondary students with disabilities. Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education, 10(1), 28–41. https://journalhosting.ucalgary.ca/index.php/cjnse
Factors relating to continued, or discontinued, use of assistive technology (AT) during postsecondary education were explored. AT devices and software incorporating embedded tools were both components under investigation, and were referred to in collective terms throughout the study. At one point, the researchers identified some examples, such as graphic organizers, scanners (digital text), screen readers, voice-recognition software, and word prediction software; at least some of these were used as accommodations during course examinations.
Postsecondary students with disabilities (n=85) at three universities in Alberta, Canada responded to a student survey. The respondents were recruited through the disability resource centers, and all had previously accessed AT services as part of the accommodations they used, including for completing course exams. Respondents reported having various disabilities; the most common primary disabilities were learning disability (LD; 33%), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; 18%), and psychiatric disorders (18%) including anxiety or depression. Demographic data such as age, gender, and race/ethnicity, and other student characteristics such as years of postsecondary program attendance, were also collected.
The student survey, incorporating a rating scale, inquired about three factors—environmental, individual, and technology—along with whether students attended formal training on assistive technology (AT), whether they continued or discontinued use of AT, and their reasons for doing so. Environmental items pertained to the circumstances of accessing and using AT. Individual factors related to students' personal experiences with AT and perceptions of their effects. Technology factors pertained to the reliability of AT and students' relative independence in using AT.
For the 63 respondents who continued to use AT, individual factors were the most salient—with significantly different survey ratings on average—to that decision, in comparison to the 22 respondents who discontinued use of AT. ; respondents more important than the environment or technology itself in deciding to continue using AT. In response to open-ended survey questions, postsecondary students with disabilities continuing AT use indicated that (a) AT was useful, kept them on task, and made work easier; (b) challenges with AT were easily resolved; and (c) AT was not distracting but helped them focus on task. Whether one had AT training alone was not indicative of continued AT use, but rather, continued use was dependent on whether the training was a positive experience. The researchers provided recommendations on quality AT training.