One size doesn’t fit all for students with disability

Claire L. Azzopardi Lane

The prospect of equipping all schools in Malta with interactive whiteboards was surely a progressive investment for students in this country.

Yet the “one-size-fits-all” perspective is not relative to the needs of all students in our schools. Mainstream schools and resource centres (former special schools), have all been provided with the same model of interactive white boards. The chosen model of interactive whiteboards distributed around our schools is pen activated, as is the additional touch pad that comes with it. This means that students with a physical disability need to be able to hold the pen in the first place in order to access the whiteboard or the touchpad.

An alternative does exist: whiteboards which are touch activated rather than pen activated

As parents and professionals working with students with disability know, many are those students both in mainstream schools as well as in resource centres who do not have the ability to hold such a pen in order to access this useful piece of equipment. An alternative for these students does exist: whiteboards which are touch activated rather than pen activated are available on the market, although there is a significant price difference between the two. The fact that only pen-activated whiteboards were purchased and distributed in our schools suggests that there was either no consultation about the needs of students with disability in relation to these whiteboards, or else these students are so invisible that their needs have been overlooked.

Alternativa Demokratika – The Green Party asks, haven’t their parents’ tax money also contributed to the funding of these whiteboards?

Claire L. Azzopardi Lane, spokesman for disability issues and sports, Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party, Valletta

The Times, April 10 2012