Wednesday, 13 April 2016

What is so different about Eye Gaze?

Eye gaze technology is perhaps the most exciting, innovative and important piece of assistive technology to hit the special needs classroom in decades. In one way, eye gaze should be seen as just another potential access method for those with physical disabilities.

In practice, we are seeing users of other access devices, particularly switch users, generally finding eye gaze access quicker, easier, less fatiguing (more so with practice) and a lot less

A Shift from Switches to Eye Gaze
This is particularly important for AAC users, where speed and flexibility are important factors in communication. We have seen a huge shift to individuals using eye gaze to access communication software that once used switch access. With a massive drop in the price of eye gaze technology in recent years, we are beginning to see special schools and services around the globe adopt eye gaze devices to complement their fully inclusive, accessible classrooms and resource kits. We are starting to see schools use eye gaze more creatively, and use it with a range of their favorite software and websites, not just with specialist eye gaze titles. However, eye gaze does differ from other access devices - it can be used as an OUTPUT device and used to control, but we can also, with the right software, use it to gain insight into what is INPUT, i.e. the information the student is processing visually.

Observe what our Students See
Eye gaze technology has been used in this way for many years in the research field, but it is only now we are able to use this technology in the classroom to give teachers and therapists objective and functional feedback and analysis on students' looking behaviours. With the right tools we can start to observe what our students see, attend to and track on screen; what they notice and don’t notice, what they prefer to look at and what sense they make of what they see. These are fundamental skills that most of us have not had the tools to assess or look at in detail before now. Such understanding of our most complex students could lead to changes in our teaching practice and open up wider opportunities for our students to interact and engage.

Eye Gaze Competition
With this in mind HelpKidzLearn is giving you the opportunity to enter a Facebook Competition to WIN an Inclusive EyeGaze Education Bundle - If you wish to enter and try eye gaze and the opportunities it provides, click here:

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