Technology and people with disabilities

  • A
  • A
  • A

Phil Pockey

I was hired by The Center for Disability Rights as an IT Programmer in February, 2008. Most of my professional experience with technology has been in K-12 education and adult education working for BOCES in New York State and Intermediate Units (similar to BOCES) in Pennsylvania.

My main responsibilities have been in the administration of technology services for learners of all ages. Some of the most satisfying contributions I’ve been privileged to be a part of have been for the teaching and learning communities of people requiring assistive technologies.

I have learned that technology is much more than just a computer. I believe we limit ourselves if our thinking is restricted to only the computer or Internet when considering technology or the needs people may have for technology, especially for people with any type of disability.
As important as computing and network technologies are to the way we live and learn and do business, technologies such as devices and tools that will increase mobility and communication may be even more practical for some people.

For example, I’ve been involved in the planning and implementation of video conferencing technologies that have been used to facilitate communication and learning by all types of people. An example of a particularly useful technology is the voice activated video camera. The video camera will focus automatically on a speaker during a meeting or teleconference.

Videoconferencing is an example of a useful technology for all people and will allow people to visit places they may never be able to physically visit. Videoconferencing can help all people overcome barriers to learning by bringing the place or education to the user of the technology.

My job at CDR is to support any company stakeholder by solving data problems and other technology needs people have with various contemporary Web programming technologies and desktop computing. More importantly, I am interested in serving people, helping to meet human needs in a practical way with technology.

It’s also important that we do not forget that technology is in its right place when it is serving people. I want to help people enjoy more freedom by learning to master technology, which is how the relationship should work. Unfortunately, technology sometimes seems to control us (or we allow it to control us) and that is why I am willing to help all people learn how they can use technology to their benefit.