EdTech Summit Africa 2022, our 8th annual professional development conference year in Sub-Saharan Africa

EdTech: Assistive Technology for Inclusive Education

By Nicodemus Nyakundi

To use EdTech to produce inclusive, effective, and resilient learning, we must rethink accessibility. We must consider moving the EdTech ecosystem towards evidence-based, technology-enabled teaching and learning.

There is no better place to address these issues than at the Kenya EdTech Summit 2022. The two-day summit focuses on three goals—coordination, transparency, and action—and their role in education technology.

 KICTANet’s fellow, Nicodemus Nyakundi, participated in one of the discussions on the role of assistive technology in inclusivity and how to support learners with disabilities through assistive technologies.

Technology guides us toward innovation, end-to-end programming, and full-time service. It is also true that technology helped us navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Through online training, most learners were impacted, with a significant amount of time saved. 

Ms Suparna from Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa emphasized that learners with disabilities have a lot of unexplored potential and that incorporating assistive devices in learning institutions will open up their capabilities. It will help open access to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects for learners with disabilities who currently do just social sciences.

To achieve this, we must bridge the inequality gaps like uncoordinated interventions, poor oversight, disconnected arms of teaching, infrastructure, and education delivery, inadequate resources, and a lack of standardization of assistive devices in schools.

As such, we need customized, context-based, affordable assistive technologies to promote equality and equity among learners. 

As asserted by Ms Joan Orina of Innovate Now, these will improve individual well-being and reduce the learners’ dependency on external help.

Further, we must demystify assumptions about adopting inclusivity and prioritize supporting investments in ed-tech platforms.

Additionally, KICTANet has been working through multistakeholder approaches to ensure technology becomes an enabler rather than a marginalizing factor.

Participants proposed a collaborative process that involved working closely with the government and other agencies to develop and implement inclusive policies.

While we lobby for inclusion and universality, we ought to ask ourselves why the “inclusivity” bit of innovation usually comes at the end point of production or even after a system, program, or device has been launched.

Nicodemus Nyakundi is an ICT Access and Equality Fellow for PwDs at KICTANet. He has a background in  Information Technology.

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