NAIT opens interactive Assistive Technologies Centre to support students of all abilities

Published on September 12, 2023

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is proud to open its first Assistive Technologies Centre (ATC) – a new and innovative resource to support the learning experience for students of all abilities with opportunities to explore and test a wide range of assistive technologies. 

Located on NAIT’s Main Campus, the ATC offers services and resources for assessment, training and implementation of assistive technologies. This involves anything to make a student’s life easier - from hardware to software, and no-, low- or high-tech supports. 

Interested students meet with ATC staff to assess and evaluate their individual requirements to find the most suitable technologies.   

“The Assistive Technology Centre plays a vital role in creating and fostering an inclusive and accessible learning environment,” says Wendy Marusin, Learning Services manager at NAIT. “It gives students a safe space where they can explore and understand their needs, interact with our team to find the best fit, and build their confidence in the classroom and beyond.” 

With this centre, NAIT now has more than 130 pieces of technology and assistive software available to address a variety of needs and abilities. 

“We have a station to support those with low vision, an ergonomic station, a sip or puff mouse for those with mobility challenges, and a 3D printer to make low-tech tools, just to name a few,” says Shahveer Ratnagar, accessibility technology specialist with the ATC.  

Ratnagar adds that NAIT will continue to grow its inventory of assistive technologies as these supports continue to evolve. The ATC is also partnered with NAIT Libraries to expand loanable assistive technologies for students and staff.   

While NAIT has had an accessibility technologies specialist for several years, the institution recognized the need to create a hub where students can test and trial technologies before renting, purchasing or arranging for them as part of their accommodation process. 

Until now, “There wasn’t a place where they could go and just experiment with the assistive technology options available to them,” says Marusin. “The ATC will help alleviate apprehension students may have using new technologies in the learning environment, which will positively impact a student’s overall experience and ability to achieve the required learning outcomes to obtain their credential.” 

Students of all abilities are welcome to access the ATC’s staff and resources at any point during their time at NAIT. Staff are also encouraged to visit to learn more about assistive technologies for their own use or to recommend to students.  

“Access to assistive supports helps facilitate equitable participation in various domains of life, including education, recreation and employment,” says Marusin. “We’ve very proud and excited to offer this service to the NAIT community.” 

Last year, NAIT had more than 1,100 students living with a disability who received a variety of support or disability accommodation(s), and another 758 students identified themselves as having a barrier to learning but didn’t access disability support.  

Anyone considering NAIT for their education is also welcome to visit the ATC booth at the institutions Open House on October 28 to explore several technologies and speak with staff about how NAIT can support them throughout their learning journey. 

Funding for the Assistive Technologies Centre is provided by the Government of Alberta’s Campus Alberta Grant. 


About NAIT

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and skilled trades. With over 34,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads help fuel the economic engine of the province. NAIT also contributes to Alberta's prosperity by helping businesses and communities become more competitive through industry-driven research and corporate training. Recognized as one of Alberta's top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, industry partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.

Media inquiries

Nicole Graham
NAIT Media Relations
C 780.916.8307 E

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