When tackling the idea of assistive technology in the classroom I have a bit of a different approach because of my own experience. Growing up in school I never had the access to technology, due to my age demographic and the development of technology at the time. Aside from that, I never received the technology I needed to succeed until grade eleven, and that is because I went undiagnosed. Since I wasn’t a student of concern, my administrators and counsellors couldn’t provide the funding needed, but encouraged my parents to have me undergo a psychoeducational assessment report. A psychoeducational assessment report is a test used to diagnose a student’s learning or behavioural challenges, and identify if a learning disability is present. These evaluations cost between $2,500-$5,000, and for a majority of the population that price is unattainable without funding from the school district. It is also needed in order to create and individual education plan (IEP), or qualify for funding to get tools and the assistance in the classroom. When I was in grade eleven I finally got the results from my psychoeducational assessment report and then my own IEP became a reality, which I needed so desperately my whole life. I was diagnosed with dyslexia, and below is a screenshot from my own psychoeducational assessment report breaking down the types of dyslexia.
Once I got the administrative stuff out of the way, I could look at different devices and programs to assist my learning. When it comes to technology and different devices I had the opportunity to use and iPad, and a laptop which aided me with note taking and helped my success today. There is also this text/talk program called Kurzweil 3000, and I found it beneficial to help with reading, even though it is a robotic voice. The downfall to these options are funding and how imperative it is to have the money to support not only the student, but the classroom as a whole. Assistive technology will greatly influence how learners with disabilities, among their peers develop in the future. With the strides taken in the last ten years in regards to technology, it will be the best tool to help each student succeed.
Over the last couple of months I had the opportunity to dive into training my pups and I could’ve asked for a better experience thus far! Obviously I say thus far because there is still lots to work on and building those bonds to solidify what I’ve been working so hard on with them for. I managed to train both of them in sit, stay, come, and lay down. With that being said, I managed to train Beau in walking properly on a leash and that was a huge win for me! I’m still working on fetch with them because I haven’t found the right toy, or ball that either of them love yet. I really enjoyed taking time out of my day to be engaged in something that interests me, while also spending valuable puppy time with both of them! At this point in the semester they are both coming up for eleven months, which is crazy to think about! I hope you enjoyed joining along my journey puppy training with me, and in the future when more progress is made, you will be the first to know!
In class today we continued with tech presentations, and there were four groups including my own. Two groups talked about classroom blogging and it really aided in solidifying my understanding and my own experience with blogging throughout the semester. Another group discussed photography, and it was very informative and it got me thinking about getting into photography myself. I have a canon camera at home, and I hope with this beautiful weather I can get out myself and take some pictures and build my own portfolio. Lastly my group presented assistive technology, and I was nervous going into it, but it went very well and I’m glad it’s over with.
After taking a short break, the class regrouped to discuss distributed learning. My experience with distributed learning are minimal, but I feel like I dove deep into the process. In high school I took 4 online classes because of circumstantial reasons, and I saw the pros and cons to it depending on the course. I took grade 12 biology and it was different not having that face-to-face contact, but with English 11 it was simple and laid out for you. The role of distributed learning isn’t as emphasized as it should be, simply because technology has just caught up to the times, so many aren’t familiar with it. The role of modality in face-to-face is self explanatory because it involves direct contact between teacher and student, which I believe to be essential for the younger grades. On the other hand, the role of modality in the online realm is more complex, but I think it is a great tool for the upper grades (8-12.) I believe technology is becoming the bases of learning moving forward and it will be very beneficial for both students and teachers.
This week I focused on getting the both of them to play fetch, but as I quickly figured out they aren’t down for a fair game. They were both great and going for the toy, but they could never understand that they needed to return it as well. I also found it challenging to train them together, because they would just fight over who had what toy, even if they were the same! That being said, it was difficult to train them separately because I couldn’t keep one inside when the other was having so much fun outside. After the week it is still a work in progress for both of them, and some more conversation with my neighbour on how I should approach this skill with them! Until next time.
Going into the dry run of teaching a lesson plan in front of the class it was overwhelming at first, but it turned out to be such a learning experience. There was eight of us in a group which made it difficult to split up roles, but it really gave me a good sense of how to collaborate with a big group of my peers creating a music lesson plan. We decided to take the “Rain Chant” and break it down to rhythm and beat. I found it beneficial to work with rhythm and beat because it made me more comfortable with it moving forward. During the lesson it was difficult to co-teach with seven other people, so I hope with our next lesson plan moving forward it won’t be so crowded. With that being said, I still leant so much from building the lesson plan, and the feedback form my peers. It was great to also see my peers step up and build other resources for us all to use and share in the future. I am excited to begin to work on our next lesson plan, and hopefully during practicum I have the opportunity to put these resources to work.
There are many ways that technology can aid a student in their learning. Things like apps or technology based products that help a student achieve their greatest learning potential.
Communication is very important in learning and in everyday life. There are apps that can help people communicate through text- speech apps. like Proloquo2Go. This is an app that provides an alternative way of communication where there are symbols to speech. This app is available for all ages (beginning to advanced communicators). An app like this can help a student who has more difficulty communicating. The app not only has symbols to speak, but also helps users learn how to communicate due to the app having a variety of levels for different learners. technology is everywhere so something as simple as an app can help many people due to it being accessible on a popular platform like IOS. Although you still have to pay for the app, it still amazes me how AT is everywhere and can be something as small as a text to speech app to help many users communicate.
On Youtube, there is a video called “Assistive Technology in Action,” this video introduces a boy that uses a Livescribe Smartpen. This is another resource that can help students with note taking in class. The smart pen records the teacher while the student takes notes during the class. With this pen, the words written correlate with what the pen is recording so When a previous word is clicked on, the pen would repeat back to what was recorded at the time the note was taken. A product like this can be very beneficial to many students because everyone processes information at a different pace so an object like this allows for a student to not only take their own notes and process the information, but give them the ability to go back to see if they missed any information. A smartpen still allows for a student to use their own abilities and feel in control with what they are learning where they are working a long side the class when the teacher is talking but are able to work at their own pace too because the student does not have to worry about not getting everything because they have the pen to help them.
These are just two examples of Assistive Technology products that aide students in their learning. These products are two simple things that help students communicate/learn information makes a big difference to their learning.
Today’s class started with the beginning of the tech presentations which included two groups that discussed graphic design and video editing. They were both very informative and gave me a great start at how to maneuver different platforms and tools to create my own final product. Below I have the graphic design I created for EDCI 336, and I thought it was interesting to use the different tools on the graphic design platform.
Twine and Sketchnoting were the focus of the rest of lesson, and it was very informative to know more ways of learning that are out there. Twine is a great way of creating your own choose your own adventure story, and its a pretty user friendly platform. Sketchnoting is a way of taking notes that helps the note taker process the information better than typing, or even just writing without links and/or pictures associated with words. Both tools really helped me see what possibilities are out there and I am excited to dig into them more in the future!
After three solid weeks on working on leash training every opportunity I could, I am pleased to say that Beau is now fully capable of walking on a leash without pulling! Theodore on the other hand still needs some work, I find that he is better at the end of the walk when he finally looks a little tired. With some more training I would feel comfortable enough to bring them on runs, and hikes with me. I hope that the nice weather keeps up, and I can start to take them on hikes with me because they would love that! I’m so happy this skill has now improved because it was an uphill battle for a week or so there. I cannot wait until they get a bit bigger and grow out of the “puppy phase,” so they have greater attention spans, but one paw at a time!
While I was researching about Assistive technology, I found this site called SET-BC. SET-BC works in partnership with BC school districts where both groups work collaboratively provides services surrounding assistive technology and students who need the aid of assistive technology. The website not only gives more information about assistive technology but provides resources and information about sevices that are accessible and stories about how assistive technology is used in a classroom.
SET-BC provides a lot of sources to learn more about assistive technology. On this website they have Self Directed online courses that allow for you to learn from online through videos and modules through a self-pace system. I went through a course about the basics of assistive technology. The course introduces types of technology and how they are used in a classroom and how they support students. There are modules that contained videos and worksheets that asked questions that allowed for reflection about the technology. The modules walked you through how to look for signs of students who might need more aid and how assistive tech can be used in a classroom. One module that stood out to me was the second one where they linked a variety of youtube videos called “Assistive Technology in Action” These were short videos where students talked about the technology they use and how it had helped them. Some things used was Pulse Live Pen, computers that were speech to text, and communication boards/ computers.
The course also provides a general plan to implement assistive technology if needed. Each module has an activity and extra resources to further your learning. This self-guided course only introduces AT but this website is a good source where you can learn more and read stories about how AT has aided so many students in a classroom and see new technology emerging to help students.
I know, I was skeptical at first too. Heidi James from Colquitz Middle School along with her students came in to help us discover what Minecraft in the classroom is. Turns out Minecraft can be used as an amazing learning tool, using math, science, and literacy all in one touching on cross curricular competencies. I never realized that a game like Minecraft could be used as such an important engaging learning tool. In the beginning of testing it out for ourselves it was very overwhelming, and the idea of trying to navigate my way through a world seemed near impossible. With the help of Heidi and her students I came out of our class today thinking what a great learning experience and tool to use. After leaving todays lesson I realized that there are many different games and tools to bring into a classroom that can teach a multitude of different skills. I hope to one day get a better handle on Minecraft and have the resources to bring it into my practice as a future educator.