Friday, December 18, 2009

Favorite Readings

I liked our readings from our textbook Library 2.0 and Beyond edited by Nancy Courtney the best. It was easy to read and I felt like I learned a lot. I definitely enjoyed the required readings from this course more than the required readings of our Cataloging course. The chapters I liked the most were the most informative and relevant. One reading I liked was the first chapter, "Web 2.0 and Library 2.0:What Librarians Need to Know" . I had definitely heard the term Web 2.0 before but this gave a great explanation to what Web 2.0 means. My other favorite reading was chapter 3 of this book, "The Wonderful World of Wikis: Applications for Libraries." This explained the reasons and ease of using wikis in libraries. I think what I appreciated most was the follow up with our class discussion in Tapped In based on our readings and activities about wikis. I felt this was the best session of Tapped In that I attended. After reading and discussing I wanted to explore more about wikis.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

AT Module 5

This was a nice conclusion to our AT discovery exercises. It was good to read some suggested lesson plans. A lot of good resources are available and promoted during disability awareness month. It was interesting to study AT in this course. I'm on a team at our church that was brainstorming needs of our church over the next few years. We met last night and one area that came up was making sure we meeting the needs of those with disabilities. They talked about updating our technology available for those who need help hearing the sermon. I thought that was awesome that our church was looking to use funds to use assistive technology.
I spent a little bit of time looking through the books on Library Thing about characters with disabilities. Some I am familiar with but some titles were new to me. I hope to have some down time to get to read a little. I'll check out a few of these books. I really think Library Thing is a great resource. I found the information in these AT modules beneficial.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

AT Module 4 Part 2

Here are some good websites I bookmarked about Assitive Technology:
Assistive Technology to Meet K-12 Student Needs
Includes table with lists of assistive technology separated by disability
Enable Mart- Technology for Everyone
Store with variety of assistive technology based on disability need
Tech Matrix
Search for assistive technology tools by subject or learning support
RJ Cooper & Associates Inc.
Hardware and software needs for people with special needs
Technology for Education
Includes assistive technology to use in classrooms

Monday, November 30, 2009

AT Module 4

I was amazed at how many different resources there are about netiquette. I guess it has become an important area to inform as so much communication now happens over the computer. I know schools really need to address cyberbullying and teaching students correct use of technology.

I also enjoyed reading all the website had to say about ettiquette with those with disabilities. I enjoyed the You Tube video where the guy went for an interview and roles were reversed. I know people gain comfort the more they spend time with those with disabilities. This is definitely something I feel is important to support and reach out to those with disabilities. When I was in high school, I helped coach special olympics soccer. I loved my time and it is a major reason why I became a special education teacher.

I thought the suggestions this module gave were very good. I thought one good point was to make sure you are communicating and making eye contact with the person rather than any tool they use. One area that I think more suggestions are needed are when people are communicating with someone with severe speech difficulties. I know how much they want to be understood. It is hard when they know a person can't understand and are struggling to continue to repeat themselves.

I actually think students are sometimes some of the best at rallying around someone who has a disability. I loved watching the kindness of students who really made a student I had with autism feel accepted. I think sometimes teenagers are better than adults.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

AT Module 3

There was a lot to navigate through and check out with this module about software. I sorted through some software rubrics that are already developed. I ended up liking one of the first ones I checked out the best. It was one developed by Kristin Miller and Jacqueline Bach as SAS School interns. It was very detailed and had important components to measure.

I like seeing demonstrations on You Tube about some of the software solutions available for students with disabilities. It definitely brings it to life more than just reading about them.

I read the pdf brochures about Kurzweil. This is the first I had really heard much about it before. It seemed to make a positive difference in those students' lives. I am familiar with Inspiration. Teachers used it in the school I taught in Virginia. When I was reading up on the different assistive technology software, I noticed reference to Assistive Technology Act of 1998. Then I was curious to find out more since we are studying it in this course. Then I found with some searching that it was revised in 2004. I'd like to know more what is involved with this Act. Maybe there is more about it in one of our next two modules. I'm not sure. I'm just curious a little more what it says and how it affects meeting the technology needs with students with disabilities.

I also explored the accessibility features of Windows Vista. That was cool to see what was already available and listed as features within the system I use.

For my software selection for our course I compared screen magnification software and scanning to edit text software for a student with visual impairment. I looked at Zoom Text Magnifier USB v9.18 and i Zoom 3.1 Reader & Magnifier . I also found out more about Scan 2 Text and Scan and Read Pro.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

AT Module 2

I almost forgot to do this blog. I was so worried about getting our hardware selection assignment turned in the beginning of this week since I have company in town. It just hit me that I never did this. Glad I didn't totally forget.

I really am enjoying learning about the different assistive technology that is available. The You Tube video that shows the graphic designer using assistive technology was amazing. I was so thankful that she has the chance to rise above her challenges.

I did my hardware selection based on a student with visual impairment. I looked all over the EnableMart website with the technology available for different disabilities. I'm so glad that people have developed this amazing equipment. It seems we will need to keep developing technology to keep up with new technology.

I was surprised by just how expensive all of the equipment is. I wonder how many disabled students have been denied access to what they need simply because of budget needs.

When I was choosing my hardware the ease of portability was important to me. I heard about a visually impaired student in my old county that all that was provided was a clunky old CCTV that was not even housed in any of the classes he was in. I think you have to be logical and find what's most beneficial for the student when provided assistive technology.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Discovering AT Module 1

I am very excited for our next few weeks in these modules. This combines my interests in gaining more skills with technology and my current job as a teacher of students with learning disabilities. I first of all enjoyed looking at some disabilities that famous people have overcome.
I then enjoyed looking at all the information about teaching blind students. I was reflecting at how much hands on teaching and technology in education affects students without sight. I guess it really depends school district to school district how blind students are included in the regular curriculum. So much planning would take part to accomodate for a student with no sight. I browsed through the Braille is Beautiful part of the website. It sounds like an awesome way for seeing students to embrace the world of life with a blind student.
Twice I have had Visually Impaired students as part of my case load. It takes a lot of extra work and thinking through every step of the lesson how to adapt. Math was sometimes a difficult subject because there is so much modeling on the board and lining up problems correctly. I found that preparing for a Visually Impaired student that I needed the regular education teacher to be more prepared than usual so that I could accomodate. There was always a balance of how much do we change the material or do we require VI students to use resources to change existing materials. That's why I'm interested more in technology that helps students work with existing material. There is not always someone to change the materials for them.

Also for this module we looked at the Job Accomodation Network. It was great to search through this website as I think of the future of some of my students. Transition planning on IEP's starts at age 14 but because much more involved at the age of 16. I haven't had to do much transition planning because the majority of the time I've taught students with Learning Disabilities was 6th grade students. I've taught 8th grade the past 2 years. At a recent inservice about IEP goal making, the presenter was saying how much the rest of a high school teacher's IEP should be based on the transition plan. Teachers should really start planning educationally based on the students' goals for post high school. It should be a major part of the IEP rather than a minor. I liked seeing what JAN's goals were for students with disabilities. I look forward to the rest of these modules.