EDTECH 541: Extraordinary Times for Extraordinary Needs

At any given moment, lives change.

I serve as a volunteer advanced EMT on a rural ambulance. During my eight years of service, I have experienced exhilarating triumph and painful tragedy. With each call I become more acutely aware of both the fragility and the resilience of human life. I have learned that it takes only one act (intentional or unintentional), or one bodily systems failure to change lives. A stroke may leave an individual unable to use his right arm. In most activities, this impairment may be minimal – but in other activities which require the use of both arms, this loss puts our friend at a disadvantage with others – it becomes a disability. If the impairment or disability inhibits the individual from fulfilling a role, it becomes a handicap  (Robleyer & Aaron, 2010).

This change impacts the individual, his loved ones, and his environment. The impact can be temporary or permanent.

A few months back I watched an interview with Roger Ebert, a high-profile movie critic who spent a lifetime providing movie goers details about the latest box office releases without giving away the plot. His account of his experience with jaw cancer was touching and inspirational. His face, surgically shaped into a comical expression of happiness, fit well with his positive outlook on life. His voice had vanished and in its place was a technological wonder—a text-to-voice application that allowed this man his vocal contributions, and he was making every word count.

Anyone who performs a comprehensive search of emerging technologies will find that no matter the disability, technology can facilitate a better living experience than one would have had just a decade ago. Astounding!

For whatever reason, human nature causes most people discomfort around those who experience physical or mental disfigurement.  In all but rare situations their voices go unheard. It’s about time we listen because in the next moment, the lives that change might be ours.

References:

Robleyer, M., & Aaron, D. (2010). Educational Technology Into Teaching (Fifth ed.). Allyn and Bacon, Pearson.

 

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