Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Are E-Readers Assistive Technology?

Technology savvy I am not.  My new smart phone is still in its box because I'm intimidated by it and I am not ashamed to admit it (maybe slightly embarrassed though.)  There are some technological advances that I am much more eager to learn about.  Specifically,  I am considering getting an e-book reader.  The most popular of its kind is the Kindle.  

When I first learned of these devices I honestly thought they were stupid wastes of technology.  Plus, I really love books and have no desire to replace them.  However, recently I was doing some intense research which involved shuffling around a stack of books.   In the process, I pulled a muscle in my shoulder.  Keep in mind that I am a 38lb dwarf with brittle bones.  Shuffling around a stack of books is a full blown work out for me.  

This incident made me change my previous assessment of e-readers.  Then I began to think about how much easier grade school, high school, and college would have been for me if I had access to this type of technology.  Moving and manipulating my text books was probably the hardest part of school for me because the books weighed nearly as much as I did.  If e-readers are not already considered "assistive technology for people with disabilities," they should be.

I still love my books and have no intention of replacing them.  An e-reader may definitely be in my near future though, to help me with those intense research projects.  My pulled muscle is almost totally healed now too, in case you were wondering.

1 comment:

  1. There actually is a growing base of scholarly evidence that suggests that using e-readers slows our ability to process information and diminishes our ability to recall information that we've read. Obviously that more of an issue if you're using an e-textbook for a course than, say, reading a ebook for pleasure. There are a few theories about this, but the most prominent (to my knowledge) is that e-readers provide fewer visual "landmarks" to help spark recall.

    On the flip side, there are several multi-media applications that have been shown to be effective in promoting reading in autistic children.

    All that's to say that e-readers aren't a panacea assistive technology. (If such a thing exists...) You'll have to weigh the information and choose the best option for your needs.