National Center for Technology Innovation
 

Case Studies

Get a behind the scenes look at successful partnerships in technology research and development. Find tips and advice on making collaboration work.

AAC for Youth with Visual Impairments: An Innovation Story

2010 Tech in the Works award winners examined the “Efficacy of the GoTalk Express 32 for Increasing Communication” with an often overlooked population of students who are blind with multiple disabilities. Explore the multiple lessons learned from this case study that are relevant for researchers and engineers who are working together.

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Pic-A-Word Transforms the iPad with AAC

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How can the iPad support communication for children with disabilities? Find out how in the case story and final report of this 2010 Tech in the Works team.

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WebAnywhere: A Screen-Reader In The Cloud

What if assistive technology lived in the cloud? Winners of this NCTI Tech in the Works award created WebAnywhere to allow both the assistive technology and preferences to follow the user, called up as needed. See the design recommendations from Bigham and IBM Labs.

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Seeing the Possibilities with Video Phone Technology

Winners of the NCTI Tech in the Works award shattered assumptions with a social network and videophones for teenagers diagnosed as deaf-blind. One student commented, “Now I talk all weekend!”

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Early Math Concepts

Winners of the NCTI Tech in the Works award teamed up to deliver UDL math instruction. Find out how smart software, accessible input devices, and collaborative colleagues can make a difference for mainstreamed children with disabilities.

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On-Screen Speaking Calculator Improves Access to Higher Math

This assistive technology research team knew that a speech-interactive calculator would fill a need for students who are blind or have low vision. Find out how this 2008 NCTI Technology in the Works award-winning team created the VISO Calculator.

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Fraction Sense Software Assists Math Students

Fraction Sense creates an effective learning approach for children and their teachers. This 2008 NCTI Technology in the Works award shows how collaborative research can overcome implementation challenges.

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Teaching Children with Autism Through Technology

TeachTown Basics offers a way to deliver and coordinate therapeutic services to children with autism in a fun, interactive interface. This 2008 NCTI Tech in the Works award shows how collaborative research can sustain a challenging study in one of the nation’s most diverse school districts, Los Angeles Unified.

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Innovators Win 2009 NCTI Assistive Technology Awards!

Exceptional teams of researchers and vendors have been selected for funding from NCTI to examine the impact of innovative assistive technologies for students with special needs. This year’s winning teams represent a wide spectrum of research interests and approaches.

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Instant Messaging for AAC Users: Cool Heads and Collegiality Promote Assistive Technology Innovation

What happens when you turn AAC platforms into instant messaging devices? These 2008 Tech in the Works winners found unexpected discoveries such as the critical need for chat specific vocabularies.

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SMART BrainGames: Learning from Neurofeedback in Video Games

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Report Cover Recognizing the potential of neurofeedback as a tool for understanding the special symptoms of attention-related disabilities, SMART Braingames uses the latest neurofeedback technology advancements paired with a video game interface.

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The Art of Collaboration Using Emotional Intelligence (E.I.): What Does Trust Mean?

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This research team shares keen insights into the importance of mutual trust to ensuring a productive collaboration. This team of emotionally and socially gifted professionals articulates what it means to build trust among new colleagues.

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Documenting the Impact of Project SOLO on Writing Outcomes

Researchers at the SEAT Center at Illinois State University, together with Don Johnston, Inc. and a 6-county coalition of special education programs, investigated the outcomes for students with learning and academic disabilities when tech-savvy teachers were given professional development and access to SOLO®, Don Johnston’s new state-of-the-art software.

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IntelliTools: Asking the Right Question

IntelliTools, Inc., represented by Arjan Khalsa and Ed Murphy, and David Chard pose a key question that no one has attempted to answer for students with physical disabilities: “How can software accurately detect mathematical automaticity?”

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Project SOLO Leads to Unexpected Discoveries

Karen Erickson at the University of North Carolina’s Center for Literacy & Disability Studies with Don Johnston Inc.’s President Ruth Ziolkowski and Product Manager Ben Johnston proposed a Tech in the Works project to research the benefits of Don Johnston’s SOLO software. The modest project took off—with surprises from subject recruitment through data analysis.

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Signing Science Dictionary: Benefits to Students and Teachers

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Tech in the Works Shows Potential Effectiveness of the Signing Science Dictionary: For researcher Judy Vesel of TERC and her partners at Vcom3D, developer of the Signing Avatar® assistive technology, Tech in the Works-funded research demonstrated that a preliminary, 300-word version of the Signing Science Dictionary raised science achievement among students with hearing impairment.

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My School Day Online: A Small Project with Big Collaborative Strength

With an NCTI Technology in the Works grant, the team of Matt Kaplowitz, Director of Technology and Content Innovation at Bridge Multimedia, and researcher Wendy Sapp of Visual Impairment Educational Services compared the ease of use for students and teachers of Bridge’s My School Day Online scheduler to ease of use of Microsoft’s Outlook scheduler.

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Lessons in Collaboration: How to Make a Partnership Work

“We need a more collaborative environment in the field by stakeholders. And I mean all the stakeholders. We all need to put our energies towards that goal, that bottom line, which is the same for all of us: to improve the lives of people who need AT.”–David Dikter, ATIA

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Getting the Word Out: Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits

Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits (ATOB) is a peer-reviewed, cross-disability, transdisciplinary journal. It’s edited and published by two organizations: ATIA, the well-known Assistive Technology Industry Association, and The SEAT Center, the Special Education Assistive Technology Center founded in 2001 at Illinois State University.

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Federal Tech Transfer: The Hearing Pill™

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The Hearing Pill™, a patented technology that treats hearing loss due to noise exposure, was first developed by the United States Navy and then, through a federal technology transfer (TT) deal, commercialized by American BioHealth Group, a San Diego for-profit company. The collaboration is a rare one: Assistive Technology is not often born out of federal TT.

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Pigeonholes Are for Pigeons: Premier Assistive Technology and Access for All

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“Our current special education system has defined a series of ‘pigeonholes.’ Each hole has a label. If a student has one of those labels, they get help, but if they have no label, they must fend for themselves. It’s time that we provide access to assistive reading tools for everyone and leave pigeonholes for pigeons.”

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Staying on the Cutting Edge by Involving University-Based Consultants

Laureate Learning Systems designs, produces, and supports computer-based language intervention tools. Laureate programs are used to enable children and adults with special needs to build skills including categorization, vocabulary, expressive language, syntax, reading remediation, auditory discrimination, functional language, and concept development. The range is wide, and Laureate helps consumers find what’s right for them by organizing products according to seven stages of language development from birth to adulthood.

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Liberated Learning: A University/Corporate Partnership with Global Reach

Liberated Learning is an automated captioning system that enables teachers’ lectures to appear on a screen as they speak. Students can read as the professor talks and, at the end of the session, the system provides a text transcript and multimedia notes available on line after speech recognition errors have been edited out of the system. This alternative to conventional note-taking for students with disabilities also provides help to non-disabled students—they, too, can use the final notes and can benefit from having a visual lecture as well as an auditory one. The tool assists a range of learners, including typically-abled, quadriplegics, second language learners, students with learning disabilities and people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

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Steve Jacobs and The IDEAL Group: Think Globally—And Be Patient!

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Steve Jacobs photoAccording to Jacobs’ analysis, incorporating accessible IT into a range of products can enable those goods to be highly competitive in global markets. This is particularly the case within large developing nations, where these items could improve economies by increasing the flow of capital. In addition, Jacobs holds that the manufacture and marketing of accessible IT by American companies could help to reverse the United States’ trade deficit and enable it to dominate the global IT market, not by selling products that are cheaper, but products that are more accessible, usable, and useful.

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Assistive Technology Collaborators

At the November 2004 NCTI conference, researcher Gaylen Kapperman met representatives from two separate New York-based businesses: Touch Graphics and Bridge Multimedia. He continued conversations with both. In one case, the talk led to an active partnership; in another, despite a productive exchange of ideas, no immediate commitment followed. Both processes, however, were useful and necessary exercises in collaboration.

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