Saturday, December 19, 2009
My second favorite reading is Chapter 8 from the Shelly/Cashman series. I liked this one because I was able to integrate it into my real life. I believe that's when the most effective learning takes place for my students, and I think that this is also true for me. Before entering graduate school, I had a working relationship with computers that was on a need to know basis. If I didn't have to know it to do my job, then I avoided finding out about it. Now that I am an online student, I have found that there are many things that I must know how to do with technology in general, and with computers specifically. This experience dovetails with my school district finally entering the 21st century. Suddenly, there are all kinds of technology cropping up in my job. The more I work with all this technology, the more comfortable I am with all of it. I have come a long way this semester toward conquering my fears about using technology. Also by necessity, I have learned how to cope with computer related issues that result from asking older technology (home computer)to do the same work as newer technology (school/work computer). Without the anxiety I have formerly felt, I have been able to relate almost all of the information in Chapter 8 to my personal situation. This was truly helpful information to me, and very applicable to my life.
Shelly, G. B., Cashman, T. J., Gunter, R. E., & Gunter, G. A. (2008). Teachers discovering computers: Integrating technology and digital media into the classroom (5th ed.) Boston: Thomson Course Technology.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Our student joins the class daily for a portion of the Language Arts period. He participates as he can in the activities the rest of the class is doing. The children benefit from seeing this young man from day to day. He has made progress in his speech, which everyone can notice. He also uses a "talking box" called a Mo that can be programed to say phrases that are likely to be used in different situations. The screens can be changed to accommodate different settings, where different words would be said. Everyone has gotten used to the different sounding voice from the machine, as well as used to the types of things they may hear from this particular student.
This has been a good way for young students to learn to accept differences in people and in learning.
P.S. I don't remember the Seer being blind in The Giver (LibraryThing booklist of books about people with disabilities). Is that correct?
I teach regular second grade. The second grade teachers assembled the kids one day for the sister of one of our parents to talk with them. She is deaf, and the hearing parent interpreted her signs for us and used sign to ask her the kids' questions. It was useful to all of us for a few reasons. First, second grade was reading a story about a deaf child (part of the Moses series), so it was helpful for them to visit with a person who doesn't hear. Also, the kids loved learning sign language and seeing it in action. Of course, the women were much faster than we were teaching the kids. It was also good for them to see that a person who doesn't speak or hear at all can look like just another mom and be a part of the community. Our guest told us that although there are ways that she could feel music rhythms, she doesn't have a desire to "hear" music. It helped all of us to not feel sorry for her when we saw that she has a full life without hearing.
The quiz on the AT blog was easy for me because I am certified to teach special ed. My expectation was that I would be a special ed teacher, probably in life skills. It comes as quite a surprise that I was hired to teach regular second grade.
Annotated websites on AT:
Wikipedia explains what assistive technology is. It lists several disabilities and what types of technology would be helpful for those persons.
The National Center on Accessible Information Technology in Education's website gives a brief overview of what technology may be helpful for some individuals and provides a link telling what those technologies might be.
Google images shows many people, including children, using a variety of assistive technologies. This gives people an idea of what some of these things look like when they are in use.
This site is a family guide to assistive technology. It is very lengthy and thorough. This would be a good resource for someone who is purchasing a first piece of technology and who needs all the information available about it. This would be a good buying guide, but not for brand names. It just discusses what features are important.
The Ability Hub website gives information in a question/answer format that is easy to use. Links within the answers to questions show products that fit the criteria in the question.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Inspiration proved to be an interesting way to present information. I have thought for a long time that pictures presented with words make more of an impact on people. When I present information to my students, I almost always have some kind of picture of graphics to go along with my words. I created a very simple overview of the lessons and activities that I would teach associated with the story Chinatown. I loved how Inspiration allows so access to so many features, like a dictionary and all kids of graphic organizers. Everything was extremely easy to use and the work was easy to save. There was not enough room for a great deal of detail, which I would need to present actual lesson plans. Unfortunately, I can't link my Inspiration lesson plan to this blog, and I can't copy and paste it, either. It exists in my Farmer file for school.
I was very interested to see Kurzweil 3000 in action, and spent over an hour downloading it, but there ultimately ended up being some kind of a problem, and I didn't get to use it. I read all the info about it, and it really got me excited about using it. I wanted one for every kid in my class!
I'm glad I checked out the accommodations that Windows has already made. I didn't realize that so many aids were already in place to help people with disabilities. Some of these accommodations would be great for people who aren't disabled as well.
Last, I knew we could count on the libraries of our land to provide people with the information they seek, whether they can see it or not. To be a librarian is to provide services to my patrons - no matter their issues.
Assistive Technology Rubric
Software is noted in pink.
Name of Technology
iCommunicator Software Setup CD's
Translates spoken words into text, sign language, or a computer-generated voice.
Allows people with hearing impairments to be independent and to work at their own paces.
Helps people who are deaf practice speech.
Must have computer with program loaded on it at all situations where the iCommunicator is needed.
While expensive, the iCommunicator is an extremely helpful tool for hearing impaired people.
2.Dragon Naturally Speaking
Nuance Communications, Inc.
Turn your voice into text three times faster than most people type with up to 99% accuracy. It's so easy, you can use it right out of the box. It learns to recognize your voice instantly and continually improves the more you use it. Dragon NaturallySpeaking works with the most commonly used desktop applications, including Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer, AOL and more! Just about anything you do now by typing can be done faster using your voice. Create and edit documents or emails. Open and close applications. Control your mouse and entire desktop
Types faster than most people can.
People with speech impediments or accents can use this.
People with physical impairments can produce documents without someone else typing for them.
Works with most desktop applications.
Easy to install and learn to use.
Voice commands can control most functions performed on a computer.
User is limited to the computer that has Dragon Naturally Speaking installed on it.
Because of its reasonable price and versatility, Dragon Naturally Speaking would be a good choice for many people, not only those with some sort of disability.
Michael S. Hart, founder
downloadable collection of 1/2 million eBooks
People with visual impairments can enjoy books.
Collection is growing.
People without disabilities can also use.
Must have appropriate technology to download books.
Not everyone is an auditory learner.
This tool is excellent for everyone who prefers to listen or who must listen to a book to access it.
4. Braille Plus: This handheld, personal digital assistant boasts an 80GB hard drive, wireless Internet, Bluetooth, stereo speakers, a built-in microphone, and a Mini Secure Digital storage slot. By using the telephone-style interface, the user can access an address book, music, digital books (including those from Audible, Bookshare.org, NFB Newsline® and the National Library Service for the Blind), a word processor, a calculator, a stopwatch, the Internet, RSS feeds and podcasts, and more. The Braille Plus includes a set of Perkins-style Braille input keys for rapid text entry. American Printing House for the Blind. Price: $1,395.
Access to many forms of technology for people with visual impairments.
Offers independence to visually impaired people.
Cost may be too high for some people.
If other physical issues exist, more modifications may be needed for a person to use.
User must know Braille.
This would be a good way for visually impaired people to access information and be independent in all areas that support Internet access.
5. Bookmaker Braille Printer (also called Braille Bookmaker): This is a 50-pound portable or desktop 80 CPS interpoint Braille printer with built-in ET Speaks speech synthesizer, and a 512K-text buffer. The menus are spoken, and the printer can be used as an external speech synthesizer. Enabling Technologies Company. Price: $9,995.
People without sight or mobility can use this, as it is speech activated.
Printer can produce Braille or speech.
Must know Braille.
This would be a good product for someone to use at a job site or a home office.
6. Talking Business Calculator: This is a fully functional business calculator with speech output. Each key is announced when pressed. The visual display calculations and results can be spoken with a press of a button. In addition to the usual arithmetical functions, this calculator offers items such as: repetitive addition/ subtraction, chain multiplication/division, constant multiplication/division, and much more. Electronic Technical Services, Inc. (ETS). Price: $358.66 (please use this order number - Canon TBC-1).
Makes it possible for visually impaired people to perform math functions independently.
Must be able to use hand/finger function.
This would be a great tool for visually impaired people, although less expensive versions exist.
Cambium Learning Technologies
Software grades 3–Adult
• Built on text-to-speech
• Reading, study skill, and
Provides users with learning disabilities the opportunity to have material read to them.
Material is scanned into the machine, making use quick and easy.
Highlighting tools and split screen enable users to make notes and prepare written work while having the reading material open in front of them.
Must be loaded on a computer.
Not available for younger children.
While costly, this looks like an excellent learning tool for anyone who struggles with reading or assembling their thoughts.
8. Trekker: This is a stand-alone device that consists of a shoulder strap with a GPS receiver, power module, speaker, and PDA. Several GPS receivers are available including a Bluetooth receiver for wireless connectivity. When connected wirelessly the PDA may be stored in a pocket or on a belt clip. The GPS receiver is attached to the shoulder strap for ease of operation. Several maps may be loaded into the PDA, covering the regions the user is traveling in. Ear buds or an ear phone may be used in place of the speaker so the user can hear surrounding traffic and noise. HumanWare. Price: $1,695. With Maestro option, $1,995.
Independence for people who are visually impaired.
Works with more than one type of receiver.
Earpiece can be used instead of a speaker, making the user less noticeable.
Could be used by people without impairments also.
Must be kept charged.
This is a good way for visually impaired people to gain mobility, even in areas with which they are unfamiliar.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I focused on ergonomic designs, special keyboards, and classroom participation helps that a regular education classroom could use. I teach regular second grade, and as I watch those young children learning how to keyboard, I think of how useful it would be for them to have larger keys that are in different colors, like some of the ones I found on the Infogrip website. As a person who spends a lot of time typing, I would love to have one of the ergonomic keyboards for myself. I see so many adults wearing carpal tunnel supports on their wrists, and I wonder that we allow this for ourselves. I also found the option to have the keyboard letters arranged any way you want them to be interesting. I recently had the opportunity to hear Dr. William Daggett speak, and he mentioned that the letters on a typical keyboard are arranged for the least efficient, slowest typing as a throwback to the old days when typewriters used to get stuck when the letters crossed because the typist was going too fast for the technology. Now we our technology can go as fast as we want it to, so if we rearrange the letters, we could communicate even faster. This would be great for someone who uses a keyboard to talk. Last, I liked the classroom items I saw on the EnableMart website. Again, as a teacher of young children, they could benefit greatly from some of the technology that is designed to aid children with disabilities. Many of them are still developing cognitive and motor skills needed to manipulate more "adult" items like keyboards and spinners.
I wish I had done this week's assignment before I started my assistive technology plan. A lot of the things that I laboriously searched for are right here at my fingertips!
implement simple accommodations in various
While I was searching for hardware for my assistive technology plan, I came across a thumb drive that enables any PC to magnify and read on screen information to the user. It can be easily removed and transported to other PCs, so the person isn't limited to a single computer. It's called a dolphin pen.
The Task Builder is a nice tool, both for children who cannot cognitively process multi-step directions and for young children who lack maturity to recall multi-step directions. It records the steps of a process and the child can play them back until he or she has completed all parts of a process.
As a software application, word prediction is a great feature for both children with disabilities and children who are still learning how to write. When a group of letters is typed in that do not match with a known word, the program suggests likely possibilities. This would make writing easier for a person who has motor or cognitive issues, or help a young learner with the complex task of writing.
particularly helpful in developing your knowledge about assistive technology
EnableMart was particularly helpful to me. I actually did my own research last week for an assistive technology plan, and I came across the EnableMart website and found it to be informative and have a large number of hardware and software items for a wide variety of needs.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I teach second grade. Currently, I have one child from the life skills room who attends part of each day in my classroom. Bruce has a "talking box" that we call a Mo. It has several screens that, if he touches a picture on any of them, will do his talking for him. The phrases are rudimentary, but since Bruce is extremely limited in his speech, it gives all of us a good idea of what he wants. Early in the school year, Bruce's aid and I introduced the Mo to our classroom so that everyone would know what Bruce had and what it does.
Similarly, if I needed to teach Braille to my students, I would introduce it whole class. Hopefully the student who uses it would be proficient enough to demonstrate how this works and why it is important to know. After showing some of the letters and combining those letters to make words, I would have the children practice using Braille in pairs. This would lend itself well to my elementary aged group because of the tactile nature of Braille. After some practice, we would use our new knowledge to interpret some Braille literature. To continue to reinforce the skill, I would have a Braille center that each child would rotate through on a biweekly basis.
In reviewing The National Center for Learning Disabilities website, I clicked on most of the links to see if there was new information out there for me. As a teacher of emergent readers, I often am part of the diagnostic process when a child has a learning disability, and as part of a team of educators, I have access to many modifications and ideas about assisting these children in a regular classroom. The information I saw on this website reflected current thinking, but it was more general in each area than the information that I have been working with. I would use this more to expose or introduce educators to the types of needs they may experience int heir classrooms.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
I located a group of podcasts created by an elementary school group, older than the second graders that I teach, but nonetheless inspiring to me. These kids sound GOOD! My class made a podcast last year, associated with an animal report, and I relied heavily on our technology support person for help. This year, I know more about what needs to be done. I will still use her help, though (let's be real - I want it to be done before the end of the school year!). Part of the issue for me is that I need time to both complete my graduate studies, do my regular job, and then I need time to learn how to use some of the new technologies and make them fool proof for my students and my colleagues.
This is true for the ebooks and audiobooks. I love the idea of choosing a book, downloading it to my ipod, and listening to it when I'm not reading something else or working on something. That doesn't happen in my life right now. I hope when I have free time (next Aug. before school starts again) that technology won't have changed too much that I can't recognize what to do!
Back to podcasts, I found one of my favorite radio shows on iTunes. I gave it us when school started because I didn't have time to listen to it in the car, where I can tune it in. I cant' get it in my house. Now, I can listen to it on my computer. Podcasts are not at all scary when I realize that they are radio shows. During the early decades of the 20th century, people broadcast radio shows from their homes regularly. Everything old is new again! Fannie Farmer has written one or two books about characters who did just that. Thanks to Chris Kretz's clear explanation of all that goes into a podcast and all the uses for a podcast in a contemporary library, I no longer feel a hollow feeling in my stomach when podcasts, or other types of technology, are mentioned. In fact, I really need to know what what I'm talking about, because I tend to be the one at my grade level in my building who knows the most about these topics. Now, that's a surprise.
Kretz, C. (2007). Podcasting in libraries. In Nancy Courtey's Library 2.0 and Beyond. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Anyway, here is the link to my librarything list. These books go with my webquest, which if you've been keeping up is a second grade PA animal report.
I'm hoping my easy day with technology holds out until bedtime.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
PA Animals Webquest
Nothing. Let's try plan B. I tried saving the link to the desktop and pulling it into the blog. No good.
Saving as a word doc. No attachment icon. What to do?
What if I added it as an image? NOpe.
Let's try again. Still no.
It's miserable to post a failure, but I can prove that I did it with a Word doc. Never mind, I can't attach it!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
On to the assigned posting - I think that as with mash-ups, people often don't even know that they are looking at a wiki. Many of the ones that I sampled looked like simple web pages. I guess that's one of the hallmarks of a wiki - their simplicity. As Chad F. Boeninger says in his chapter for the class text Library 2.0 and Beyond, Wikis find uses as communication tools, as collaborative process tools, and as research guides for library patrons. Although I found the initial idea of working with a wiki to be intimidating, it is a very easy way to clearly communicate with people that I don't talk to but need to work with.
Beoninger, C. F. (2007). The wonderful world of wikis: applications for libraries. In N. Courtney's Library 2.0 and Beyond. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I can see the potential of Delicious as a research tool. My personal list of bookmarks at home is not too long, because I try to not sit around at my computer when I am not working or doing my grad school stuff. At work, my list of bookmarks has grown. After putting some websites onto Rollyo last week, I was glad I kept the bookmarks because Rollyo was so slow. Delicious adds another step for me when I find a new website that I like, but it is a good way to organize all the sites that are saved. They can be bundled into topics, so I save time by not having to look at all of them to find a particular topic. Of course, this makes sharing information easier because I don't have to be at my own computer to access my bookmarks. As a librarian and educator, I can share my bookmarks and let coworkers and students see a particular group of websites.
Library 2.0 means to me that information is now a two way communication, rather than something that the reader had transmitted to him/her through reading and comprehending a written page. As I read about Library 3.0 and 4.0,
Dr. Wendy Schultz
To a temporary place in time...in the OCLC Newsletter blog Next Space, I started to wonder when the down time occurred for people when they let ideas take shape in their minds. Sometimes I wonder if we are teaching students how to think, or just how to access lots and lots of information. I saw at the end of the Library 4.0 entry that the benefit there was to be able to sit quietly and maybe just read something. School librarians must help ed ucators to decide how to best use technology to give students access to information but also be judicious in not allowing constant, frenetic information gathering without critical thought.
The idea of Creative Commons is one whose idea has come. This dovetails perfectly with a 2.0 society where ideas and concepts are formed collaboratively. There is such an abundance of ideas made available on the Internet that the idea that each one can be completely protected is silly.
Michael Casey made some excellent points in his chapter of the book Library 2.0 and Beyond, about how a library could use a system like Amazon's to have patrons rate books. I'm not like this, but lots of people enjoy blogging about a genre they like to read. The more methods a library can employ to get people interested in communicating with each other about its materials, the more effective that library can be.
Casey, M. (2007). Looking toward catalog 2.0. In N. Courtney (Ed.), Library 2.0 and Beyond (pp.15-23). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Hey! It worked! An early Christmas miracle!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Actually, I do like the idea of this. I hate to spend more time looking for and at things online than I have to. I want to sit and read books!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
In my somewhat backward school, I am one of seven teachers who have second grade classrooms. I have the title of powerpoint creator. Since we all had TVs installed over the last school year (I told you we are backward) everything that used to be a transparency can be a powerpoint. I make powerpoints that are animated and sometimes have sounds. Not always sounds because I have to share a remote for the volume with my neighbor across the hall, and if it's too quiet or too loud, sometimes I can't find the remote to adjust! I share my powerpoints with my team, and they share things with me, so the work is not as much as it could be. The kids like them. We also look online for things that have already been done.
We also can stream from Discovery.com. We have a smart board in our building, and I have created Jeoaprdy games for it. They take a while to make!
Technology is a slow process for me, but given my environment, I am just about right. When I read about what all of you are doing with older students, I feel Amish all over again!
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Week 3 Thing 6
This is my trading card. Maybe I should have waited until after lunch to take this pic.
I'm willing to admit that if I did this same activity over and over again, I could probably do it rather quickly and easily. I'll also admit that it's tempting to make trading cards of my class for Open House. Oh, oh, it looks like I'm starting to find applications for all these new applications. Look out...
OH, well, as you can see, I got it. But not before I was nearly driven to tears (not really, I'm no crybaby). I tell myself every day - "I CAN do this!"
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Working with technology can be frustrating! It took me 25 minutes of fooling around with my avatar (is that spelled right?) and not getting any changes to realize that I needed to download a newer version of Firefox. Things like this just come to me out of desperation. There are so many things that can be wrong so that my technology doesn't work. Every time I think I know what could go wrong, something new goes wrong. It's like cars - when I first started driving, every weird sound made me nervous because I didn't know what it meant, and if I would break down. Since then, I've driven so many clunkers that I know what MANY sounds and wobbles and bumps mean, and they don't throw me.
I think that computers change more quickly than cars, though.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
As for point 7 1/2, Play, that usually has to wait until the work is done. In this class, those two things may turn out to be the same.