The primary purpose of ABLEDATA, a federally funded project, is to make assistive technology and rehabilitation equipment information from domestic and international sources available to consumers, organizations, professionals, and caregivers within the U.S. ABLEDATA provides a large searchable database, a wealth of information on products, relevant links for resources dealing with disabilities and related topics, a consumer forum, and an online reading room containing information, news, and publications on assistive technology issues.
The major learning goals of the ABLEDATA Web site are: 1) Being an information source for assistive technology. 2) Offering a centralized information exchange on assistive technology. 3) Serving the nation's disability, rehabilitation, and senior communities.
Target Student Population:
Student teachers and in-service educators, especially those in special education, will find this site extremely useful.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Type of Material:
K-12 educators and teacher education faculty and students will find information and resources to consider when planning inclusive lessons and units for individuals with disabilities.
Internet and browser. Links are available for viewing either the high or low graphics versions of the site.
Evaluation and Observation
This site is a tremendous repository of assistive technology data presented in a thorough and thoughtful manner. Numerous links are provided for investigating key topics such as accessible housing, blind and low vision, parents with disabilities, spinal cord injury, stroke and brain injury, and travel. Under each of these areas there exists a range of information to aid the user in making informed decisions. The links and database offer related content connections.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
There is a great deal of information available that could complement an in-class introduction, online investigation, or summary research on assistive technology and disability topics. The search information at this site is thorough and can provide a lesson in itself for educators who are unfamiliar with online searching. Educators, especially those working with students who require the use of assistive technology, will find this site a valuable resource.
The primary design of this site is to provide information regarding assistive technology, which is reasonable. Teacher educators will need to employ their own creativity and experience to develop examples of the actual planning and uses of assistive technology in a teaching setting.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The links are clear, organized, and easy to follow. The searchable database of the site and a site map make it very easy to find specific information. No technical support should be needed. Links appear to be working and up to date.
The link to the site map is only found on some of the pages within the site. A suggestion might be to include the site map link on the sidebar of all the pages within the site.
Other Issues and Comments:
Since 2000, this site has received 10 Web awards for providing information and service to users. Forbes, Britannica Guide to the Internet, and an Editor's Choice for Assistive Technology are among the awards.