University of Iowa

About Us

Notice: ICATER will close on June 30, 2019. Please refer to the Iowa Now article on center closures. Assistive technology and accessibility resources will be available on the UI College of Education’s Assistive Technology & Accessibility website beginning July 1, 2019.

Welcome to ICATER!

Patti Bahr
We’re a small, but passionate, group who believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn. We know people take in information and show what they’ve learned, in various ways – sometimes with technology. This may be in the general education classroom, or in the college lecture hall.

ICATER helps students, teachers, counselors, families, and others to learn about tools that may enhance learner capacity by allowing access to the curriculum. Most groups want to use these tools for themselves, indicating that assistive technology can be used by everyone! (Doesn’t everyone need help with organization?)

The best part is working directly with struggling students and finding tools that allow them to learn and participate in life – turning “this is too hard” into “I can do it”. For example, students can try various note taking options, so they can get the most out of college lectures.

I’m also interested in research – to clearly show that assistive technology helps students to learn.

Stop by and see our new space – it has lots of accessibility features. We’d love to provide a tour or just talk tech.

I hope to see you soon!

Patti Bahr, Director
Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research

ICATER History

More than a decade ago, a group of students with disabilities were motivated to move the technology that they used to access their classes to a more accessible location. The technology they used was in the basement of Burge Hall, and required the assistance of an IT staff member to access it. These students approached the dean of the College of Education with a proposal. John Achrazoglou, the head of IT in the College of Education, used the framework of inclusion to incorporate tools that the students needed in standard computer labs. They needed computer maintenance funding, so they created a video, got letters of support from senators Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley’s offices, and asked for computer fees to get things started. One of the students, David Dawson, become the first director.

Jim Stachowiak was the associate director for 8 years before Patti Bahr came in 2014.

Our New Home

We have an exciting new home! Our new space inside N110 Lindquist Center was remodeled for accessibility and is welcoming for all students. Our technology goes beyond ADA compliance, featuring:

  • Hearing loops
  • Automatic hand dryers with no need to insert hands
  • Door opener strips
  • Powered, height adjustable tables throughout the space
  • Outlet height at 24”
  • Accessible gaming (coming soon)
  • Braille signs

Stop by and see us - we love to talk about awesome technology

Our Vision

ICATER supports integration of all learners through education and research of accessible technology, universal design for learning, and assistive technology.

Our Mission

Our mission is centered on showing education professionals, teachers, students, and parents how to use assistive technology and apply principles of universal design for learning in classrooms and beyond. Assistive technology helps students with disabilities be full participants in general education classrooms. This leads to building learner capacity, as well as access to more productive participation in school and life. Through webinars, classes, and courses, we demonstrate and teach people how to utilize and benefit from assistive technology. We also help university faculty and staff learn how technology and accessible information can meet the educational needs of all students.

ICATER maintains a lab where students can witness demonstrations of assistive technology equipment and software. Assistive technology modules for University of Iowa College of Education graduate and undergraduate courses are also available. Web-based assistive technology resources for UI College of Education practitioner preparation students, graduate students, as well as faculty and in-service professionals are also offered.

We ensure students with disabilities have their individual accommodations met at all times and are able to reach their full potential by using the most current assistive technology. Our staff may facilitate, advocate, and/or be the direct provider for these students. Establishing and maintaining partnerships with community-based agencies and resources to ensure adequate support for individuals that utilize our center and services is a top priority at ICATER. This enables ICATER to benefit and reach more people than ever before on a local, state, and national level.