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With home schooling the current norm, assistive technologies are instrumental in remote learning. Home schooling can be challenging enough, but for students with specific learning difficulties, assistive technology could be crucial in terms of access to the curriculum.

Developments in AI and machine learning is set to transform independent and personalised learning in an area which already offers assistive technology such as portable devices, abbreviation expanders, audiobooks, visual timetables and graphic organisers, voice to text software, alternative keyboards, optical character recognition and audiobooks.

Recent advances move things on yet further. Developers are working on wearable and handheld devices that can read printed or digital text making it more accessible to people with language processing or specific learning difficulties. Some of these advances are available today, including voice-activated features that allow users quickly to retrieve and identify specific information they need from a text.

This new tech is set to become even smarter as it evolves from current voice-activated technologies which enable users to identify and retrieve specific text-based information, to incorporate natural language processing technology (NLP) which extracts meaning from human language. For example, converting sign-language into text, multi-language translation, or communication with people who may be non-verbal.

Currently, virtual learning is firmly in focus and by designing assistive technology products with the user in mind, it creates the opportunity to address remote learning challenges and improve accessible learning for students of all ages, key stages, and in every sector.


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