Improving the participation of non-verbal students with a speech-generating device in classroom education
: Enabling the interoperability between speech-generating devices and interactive whiteboards

  • N Kole

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


In the Netherlands, approximately 600.000 people use a form of augmentative and alterna-tive communication (AAC). There is a wide range of communication aids available, from
sign language to computers with a complete vocabulary on them, the speech-generating device (SGD). Part of the AAC users has a physical disability on top of their speech impair-
ment. Children with these impairments often attend school. To let these students participate in education requires adaptation since they are unable to fill in assignments on paper
and interact with the interactive whiteboard (IWB). This makes them dependent on others and they are often not able to fully participate.
The aim of this research is to enable students with profound physical disabilities to participate in classroom education using their speech-generating device (SGD) to interact
with the interactive whiteboard (IWB).
To achieve the goal of this study we define the system requirements with stakeholders, consult the literature, design and create the tool, and perform user evaluations by observ-
ing and interviewing teachers and students. The result is a tool that connects the SGD with the IWB using Bluetooth. The tool consists of three parts, the software on the IWB, the
software on the SGD, and the user interface integration in the vocabulary software on the SGD.
With the requirements, it has been possible to develop a tool that is experienced as positive by users. The tool allows students to participate more in the classroom, complete
assignments independently, and the teacher can send customized assignments to the students, while the methods/learning pathways do not have to be adjusted. The majority of
students and teachers responded positively to the tool.
Despite the small number of participants (7 students and 6 teachers) in the user evaluations, the results show that they see potential in the tool. The teachers had many sugges-
tions for other uses of the tool than sending assignments. The structure of the tool allows this, the only necessary adaptations are in the implementation in the vocabulary software.
For the implementation of the tool, the teachers require more support than the students.
Future research needs to look into the educational benefits of the tool for students with physical disabilities and an SGD.
Date of Award31 May 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorSylvia Stuurman (Examiner) & Alaaeddin Swidan (Co-assessor)

Master's Degree

  • Master Software Engineering

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