The Universal Design movement is well established and a number of products have shown us how something designed to make life easy for one group might have appeal or benefit for many.
How about the “Good Grips” line of kitchen gadgets. These ergonomically designed, hand friendly tools making opening cans, grating cheese and stirring pots accessible to almost anyone regardless of hand strength or dexterity. A product line designed for the disabled or arthritic hand is something that most of us, especially as we age, will use and love. And by the way, it seems to have been a pretty profitable idea. Already our smartphones, iphones, and ipads have many accessibility features, such as voice-to-text, zooming capabilities, etc., that benefit many of us.
What about the future? When will the talking Kindle show up at restaurants?
We’re already beginning to see smart cars with sensors to assure we aren’t dozing off while driving, cars that stay in lanes and brake for the vehicle in front – called adaptive cruise control. Our cars can park themselves and warn us when we’re backing up. We have GPS to replace maps and convenience store clerk’s directions, and maybe someday our cars will bring the wandering Alzheimer patient back home, or control your kid’s speeding or drug use.
It seems pretty clear that as technology proceeds we all become part of that success. This is where inspiration can lie, in creating products designed to better our existence by solving others’ problems. All we need is a little inspiration.
These comments by Mike Rainone, help us make the jump to education. Curriculum, lessons, instruction and assessment designed with struggling or disabled students in mind, can benefit many. What are we waiting for?