Monday, December 17, 2012

Class # 12 Wednesday December 12

And this is last blog entry!  Our last class was spent sharing our case studies.  What a fantastic job by each and everyone of my classmates!

Case Study "S" was presented by Tricia.  "S" is a  grade 3 student who enjoys technology.  She struggles with reading and writing.  "S" has  ADD and for technology use, she utilizes paper port and word Q.

 Anne presented her Case Study on "Jaden".  He is a grade 6 student but reads at grade 1 level. The technology that he currently uses is Co writer and Write Out Loud.  Jaden has a special story, he suffered from a brain tumour when he was very young and was recently given an ipad through a grant.  He is considered an optimal user :)  The before and after work samples are awesome!!  Love his ibook!!!  Jaden's story was especially encouraging to me as a good friend of mine had a  baby who was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and given only weeks to live, exactly one year ago this month.  She has struggled more than I can comprehend and although will likely cope with cognitive and developmental difficulties throughout her life, is currently tumour free and looking foward lots of exciting years in the future :)
Janet shared her casestudy on "J", a grade 9 student who suffers from ADHD and often has inappropriate behavior at school. He produced a fantastic Imovie on the Hunger Games.

Issac presented his casestudy on "A" who is a 13 year old student with high sensory needs.  Issac certainly works with a challenging caseload this year…..kudos to him!!

 Traci presented on an Early Literacy Intervention group of grade 1 students.  Love the presentation format :)  I loved the Show Me app. I also thought the Sand trays were fantastic- will use at home with my 4 year old to practice writing his name!!  Great low tech idea!
Scott  presented on a Grade 1 female that he works with on his resource caseload.  Also enjoyed seeing the apps that she is using at school and the quality of work produced when the technology is integrated!

Overall, I have really enjoyed this course.  The last few courses I have taken have been online, so it was nice to see real people in a classroom again- especially since I am on Mat Leave and am disconnected from my students as well!  I have learned a great deal from the presentations and blogs of my classmates, each of whom comes from different backgrounds and perspectives- from working with elementary school students to adults.
On a more personal and meaningful level, I have been introduced to two families (one of which I based my case study on) that I have been able to support and their students using AT at home. For this reason I feel like I am able to put what I have learned to good use.  Yes, when I finish this degree in the spring, the pay increment will be a nice bonus, but I can truly feel like it has all been worth it after all.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday December 5, 2012 Class # 11

Tonight our class began case study presentations.  Darcie works with a female student (Mary) who is in grade 10 and has a vision impairment. What I found most interesting is that she has a condition called Nystagamus, which is involuntary eye shaking.  On a side note, I can voluntarily do this but can only do it for about 30 seconds until it becomes uncomfortable.  I can't imagine having to deal with it while trying to do school work on a daily basis.  Mary is a strong advocate for herself. She is able to use an app to scan documents for her to read she is able to use the ipad to scan and enlarge documents as opposed to photocopying and having large paper at her desk…It was obvious that Darcy has a close working relationship with Mary.  The second presentation was by Emily.  She presented a case study about a grade 3 student named E. She loves arts and crafts. She is using various apps on th ipad. The third case study was by Stephanie about Paul, an adult male. He has epilepsy and his seizures continually decrease his cognitive abilities. He relates everything he does to Star Trek and considers himself an author using the ipad as a writing tool for his stories.  The before and after work samples were just amazing!

During the second half of class, we were fortunate enough to take part in the Grade 6 technology presentations at Hebbville Academy.  I can't describe how impressed I was!!  The students were so familiar with the technology,were fantastic presenters and handled their audiences very well!!  I especially enjoyed sitting back to watch the pure amazment on their parents faces :)  Their teachers have obviously done a fantastic job incorporating technology into their classrooms!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Class # 10 Wednesday November 28

The class that it snowed.....or didn't snow....I'm not sure because it didn't snow in Barrington, but that's at least two Nova Scotia weather belts away from Bridgewater!  In any case, here is my rendition of our assignment, and I will see you all tomorrow night!

Assistive Technology Assessment Models

1.  Matching Person and Technology (MPT)
This model considers the individuals expectations, preferences, background, family and environmental influences and economic factors that will come into play when determining appropriate Assistive Technology.There are three major components (Milieu, Person, Technology) which are assessed using a series of questionnaires. This model provides 6 assessment forms. 

2.  Life Space Access Profile for Individuals with Severe or Multiple Disabilities  (LAP)
The purpose of the LAP is to provide a collection of observations that will help select appropriate AT. It evaluates Physical, Cognitive, Emotional, Support Resources and Environmental Analysis.

3.  Student, Environment, Task, Tools  (SETT)
This model collects information on the 4 components mentioned above.

4.  Education Tech Points (ETP)
This is a tool that helps schools to determine and meet the AT needs of the individual students as well as evaluate and improve their AT services.  This model works on effective AT service delivery.  The 6 Tech points are: Referral, Evaluation, Extended Assessment (trial period with the AT), Plan Development, and Implementation (which is training and equiment management) and Periodic Review.

5.  Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (WATI)
This is to provide a comprehensive and thorough AT assessment process.  It is usually for school aged children and gives 10 specific guidelines: Overview of AT assessment & planning process, AT assessment Packet (forms), AT for writing and computer access, AT for communication, AT for reading, studying and math, AT for recreation, leisure & daily life, AT for positioning and seating, AT for vision and hearing, AT for examples of IEP goals and objectives and finally AT laws and funding.

And now for the Low Tech AT Solutions portion of the assignment.  I opted to use pictures I located via the web, as I do not own a small enough camera to take pictures discreetly enough at our local "Buck or Two"

1. Timer- can be used for students who struggle with anxiety.  We have all heard "how much longer do I have to do this?  How much longer until recess?  Small, simple and inexpensive way for students to measure time themselves.
2.  Tactile Ruler- rulers with raised lines for students who require them.  Can also DIY with puff t-shirt paint

 3.  Coloured Paper- for students who have visual difficulties such as Irlen Syndrome.

4.   Highlighters- to highlight important words or phrases that students will need to refer back to
5.  Large key Calculator- for students with vision difficulties or motor skill challenges
6.  Magnifying Glass- to enlarge print, objects, diagrams

 7.  Modelling Clay- can be used to wrap around pencil or pen to create a pencil grip specifically molded to the student's hand
 8.  Page Flags- to flag a page of importance or to help a student turn to a page who struggles with page turning
 9.  Foam Page Fluffers- attach a small peice of foam (can often be purchased with sticker already attached) to seperate pages of a book for students with fine motor difficulties
10.  Koosh Ball- can be used for sensory input, kinesthetic, stress reliever.  Can also be used to identify a speaker in a group

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Class # 9, Wednesday November 21, 2012

Somehow I nearly had my post done for this week complete with pictures and I deleted it.....lesson it!  Argh!  Technology can be a blessing and a pain in the a**!!
The revised post will be a little less "pretty" as the baby will soon be up for her late night snack, and I need to be awake for the drive to class tomorrow evening :)

Last week we spent our class sharing the apps we had found and thought were worthy of sharing.  And it sure was a valuable class!  Some of my favorites were....

Grafio- great for making organizers, diagrams and a reasonable price of $8.99

Bone Scan Bob- only 99 cents and I think we were all loving Bob by the end of the demonstration!

3D Skellatal Anatomy $2.99 Also good for learning the parts of the body!

This is My Body- Anatomy for Kids- this one is free!!

Dragon Dictate- a voice recognition app that is faster than typing on a keyboard!

EduCreations-Turns the ipad into a recordable white board....also free!

After each class I become more convinced that every school should have an assistive technology specialists to support teachers and students select appropriate technologies.... however before convincing my school board to create a new position, I should probably work on scoring us a few ipads first....:)

So, tonight I will leave you with some Blue Collar crude as it might be..... some of this is undeniably true!!

  1. You get a secret thrill out of laminating things.
  2. You can hear 25 voices behind you and know exactly which one belongs to the child out of line.
  3. You walk into a store and hear the words, “It’s Ms./Mr. ____________ and know you have been spotted.
  4. You have 25 people who accidentally call you Mom/Dad at one time or another.
  5. You can eat a multi-course meal in under 25 minutes.
  6. You’ve trained yourself to go to the bathroom at two distinct times of the day, lunch and planning period.
  7. You start saving other people’s trash, because most likely, you can use that toilet paper tube or plastic butter tub for something in the classroom.
  8. You believe the Teacher’s Lounge should be equipped with a margarita machine.
  9. You want to slap the next person who says, “Must be nice to work 7 to 3 and have summers off”.
  10. You believe chocolate is a food group.
  11. You can tell if it’s a full moon without ever looking outside.
  12. You believe that unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says, “Boy, the kids are sure mellow today.”
  13. You feel the urge to talk to strange children and correct their behavior when you are out in public.
  14. You believe in aerial spraying of Ritalin.
  15. You think caffeine should be available in intravenous form.
  16. You spend more money on school stuff than you do on your own children.
  17. You can’t pass the school supply aisle without getting at least 5 items!
  18. You ask your friends to use their words and explain if the left hand turn he made was a “good choice” or “bad choice.”
  19. You find true beauty in a can full of perfectly sharpened pencils.
  20. You are secretly addicted to hand sanitizer.
  21. You understand, instantaneously, why a child behaves in a certain way after meeting his/her parents.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Class # 8 Wednesday November 14, 2012

This was a working I appreciate those!  There is so very little time in our work week to sit down and collaborate with colleages, let's face it, although soooo important, we just don't have the time!  The classes that we are able to do this are appreciated and certainly invaluable :) 

So, we are ready to present our assignment next class.  make the lesson accessible for a class including students who had difficulty with reading, visually impaired, autism, cerebral palsy etc. Our task was to get an assignment/handout from a teacher at our school and adapt it appropriately for each student using assistive technology.  Its always so interesting to see how the groups within our class can take such different approaches to the same assignment, and how we can learn from each of them. 

The other part of this assignment was to take the ways in which we had adapted the assignment back to the teacher we had "borrowed" it from and share what we had done.  My partner and I actually didn't use the assignment that I had collected from a teacher at my school, but used the one he had brought instead.  So, I offered to share it with a friend of mine who is currently doing a practice teaching term in grade 2 (the grade level that we completed our assignment for).  As a new teacher I think she was appreciative of the knowledge I bestowed upon her :)  We actually installed a few free apps on her ipad that she thought would work for a couple of her students.   Unfortunately, this was her own personal ipad, and the school where she is does not provide any for student use.  Oh well....hopefully someday soon!

On my hunt for useful apps and websites I found two more that I'd like to share :)

and this one is for kids that are younger, but I thought was still quite valuable, maybe for an individual who works with Early Intervention (I'll be sharing with my sister!!) or a program that works with pre-school age kids.

See you all next class!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Class # 7, Wednesday November 7, 2012

We spent some time discussing Universal Design for Learning.  This framework recognizes that learners are all unique in the ways in which they learn and require multiple means of representation, expression and engagement.  As a resource teacher, this is paramount in my daily activities with students and while co-teaching with my colleagues.  Here is a short video from CAST that gives an overview of UDL.

Throughout class, our professor discussed several apps for students with various needs.  Some that were most interesting to me were;

Prizmo- to assist with scanning, speech and OCR.  We used this program a bit on the ipad in class, and although a fantastic program, the picture of text must be taken in a very well lit environment, othewise it will not read the document properly. 

 Pages- a word processor (much like Microsoft Word) that can define words at your fingertips, and is very simple to insert images and design anything from posters to writing a resume.

Pic Collage- This app is also very simple to use and accessible for many students.  We were able to take a picture of a document and then easily add text, images etc.  It can also be used on both the iphone and ipad.

For assignment # 2, we began working on finding some apps to make a particular activity accessible for the entire class.  My partner and I were off to a great start, but I forsee that we will have difficulty making the activity accessible for one particular student, but two heads are always better than one.  While looking for some apps that might be suitable, I found a few websites worthy of sharing :)

Special EducationApps,

Mom's with Apps is really worth checking out...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Class # 6 October 31, 2012

This was the class that we didn't have to go to class :)  However, we completed some interesting things online.  We viewed videos of students online using Proloquo2go....and if Oprah had been a teacher, this program would definetly be on her annual Favorite Things show!!  Here are the links to Nick, Ruby and Max.  Their stories really are amazing.  They are using this technology at home, school, even at the gym!!

This week I also had the opportunity to view Webinettes via Blackboard Collaborate for the first time.  And like the videos, I couldn't chose just one, but had to view them all :)  I just can't seem to learn enough about all the apps that can be utilized on the iPADs....I am always thinking of students that these apps would work well for, and even think/wish these had been available for students I've had in the past.  I teach a course called Life Work Transition at the senior high level, and I think that many of the visual schedule apps could even be used post high school for individuals in assisted living situations.
I especially enjoyed the two student led webinettes.  I always learn best by watching a demonstration rather than having to sit down and read instructions myself, so the teacher demos were great, but seeing the students using these programs was even better!
As a resource teacher, I think that I could support classroom teachers to integrate these technologies into their classrooms by sharing these videos as well as webinettes so they are aware that these apps are often very simple to utilize and manipulate and very valuable resources to the students that need them!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday October 24, 2012 Class # 5

Tonight we presented our Proloquo2go assignments.  There are a few thing we might have added and tweaked, but for the most part were satisfied with what we accomplished in the 3 hour class last week.  It was also great to see what the other groups came up with. Kudos to the group that came up with the "Texting" folder.  It was a great way to make using the program fun for the student and not simply a necessity item.

What I am MOST excited about is that I am going to be introducing the Proloquo2go to an elementary level student, who is currently not using a communication device at home.  I am unsure of what he is using at school. While visiting a friend I was sharing with her what I was working on in our masters course and she thought it sounded like a great fit for a young cousin of hers.  Would you believe that his Mom was told (reportedly by someone from the school....eeks!) that the program was very hard to set up and use!!!  At home he is unable to effectively communicate to his family when he needs the washroom, something to eat, etc.
Although I have been a resource teacher for several years, I have not yet worked with a student who is non-verbal at the high school level.  So this is going to be a learning experience for both of us, but I am confident that Proloquo2go is going to be a great fit for this young man and his family.  Will keep you all posted!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wednesday October 17, 2012. Class # 4

This class was spent working on an assigment with Proloquo2go on the Ipads.  I hadn't used this program before, and it was super :)  My partner and I designed a communication set for a grade 3 student with communication needs both at school, home and in the community.  Once you get the "hang" of the program, it is really quite simple to use and can easily be tailored to invidivual student needs and interests. 

Since I hadn't used the program before, I've been watching lots of Youtube videos to see it in action.  Check out the videos below to views some of my favorite demonstrations :)

This one is a nine year old boy who was not able to communicate with his family and friends until using Proloquo2go.


And this one is a six year old girl who made great gains with the Ipad, and after she was able to communicate, her negative behaviors were reduced by 95%!

And one more...this is a nice demonstration on using the program and how you might customize it for a student.

Some food for thought....

If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.
-Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Estrada

If kids come to us from strong, healthy functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they do not come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important.

-Barbara Colorose

Friday, October 12, 2012

Class # 3 Wednesday October 10, 2012

During this class we discussed three different terms, two I must admit that I needed to do some further research on.
The first, "Presuming Competence" was one I am fairly familiar with as a resource teacher.  One must never presume that a non verbal student is not intelligent.  This was reconfirmed for me while watching the video about a girl named Carley (I will share in a bit!)
The second term, "Convergence of Technology" was one I needed some more familiarizing with.  Technologies interacting and performing similar tasks sure sounds like the way of the future to me :)
And the third, "Dusruptive Technology", which is technology that displaces an already existing technology without warning.

We discussed Communication and were challenged to come up with 10 different modes of communicating, I think they fall into three different categories:
1.  Oral- this can be spoken language, singing music, poetry, newsbroadcasts, radio programs.
2.  Written Language- this can be anything from hyeroglyphics carved in stone, road, signs, posters, letters, books, magazine articles, newspapers to emails, instant messages and texts.
3.  Body language- gestures, stance etc. 

We watched a video in class that I immediately sent to one of our Program Support Assistants that has a great interest in Autism and Assistive Technology (I sure wish I could bring her to class with me!!) It was very emotional and hit home for (I am sure) many of us who work with students just like Carley. Here's the link...

Another similar situation that our professor suggested we check out was Amanda Baggs.  Her video, "In My Language" is below.

And finally, we ended our class using Proloquo2go on the Ipads....I am looking foward to completing our case study assignment with this program next class :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday October 3, 2012 Class # 2

Second night in class and I feel like I'm actually accomplishing lots in just a few hours!!

We put together a book in the Ibooks program and it was just amazing!  As a Resource Teacher, my mind was racing about just how useful this would be for my caseload students.  Finally, a textbook that can talk to the struggling reader.....a multiple choice quiz with picture answers to choose from!

For my teacher friends, here's a short tutorial on how to use Ibooks Author...

The ways differention of instuction can be implemented makes my Resource Teacher mind race!!  Some ways to use Ibooks in the classroom might be:

Quizzes- Students can listen to the material and then to questions and chose the best answer- with the teacher knowing they have comprehended the questions!  This will eliminate the need for a support person to read or scan lengthy material for students!  What a concept!

Cloze activities- instead of note taking, students can complete a cloze activity accompanied with videos and animations.

Study guides/cards- with highlighted terms and teachers notes.

Social Stories- I think this will be a great idea.....often times we find ourselves using juvenille books and materials to teach Social Stories to high school age students.  It will be much easier to make them age appropriate with the Ibooks Author!
On the drive home I did some thinking about the Ibooks....yes, they are great, there's no doubt about that.  But the longer I drove and the more I thought (I have about 1 hr & 45 mins to get home, LOL) I had to question how time consuming putting these books together would be.  Let's face it, teachers are already swamped with enormous amounts of work.  But, I think once a book or material is finished within Ibooks Author, it will save tons of time in the long run.
See you all next week!

Wednesday September 26, 2012 Class # 1

First night back in class!  Its been a while, but it felt great to be a student again!

So what is Assistive Techology?
I think the definition from the The National Center on Accessible Information Technology in Education says it best...

"Assistive technology is technology used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible."

The definition continues on to describe in more detail.  "Assistive technology can include mobility devices such as walkers and wheelchairs, as well as hardware, software, and peripherals that assist people with disabilities in accessing computers or other information technologies. For example, people with limited hand function may use a keyboard with large keys or a special mouse to operate a computer, people who are blind may use software that reads text on the screen in a computer-generated voice, people with low vision may use software that enlarges screen content, people who are deaf may use a TTY (text telephone), or people with speech impairments may use a device that speaks out loud as they enter text via a keyboard."

Here is a video that gives a good definition of Assistive Technology my partners and I found on youtube while working on the Imovie :)

Another term that was discussed in class that I am a little less familiar with was "Universal Design of Learning".  I like the definition found on the Center for Applied Special Technology".

"Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.  UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs."

I started working on this degree a few years ago (5 to be exact!) and took the first part of this course from Barb when it was offered in Yarmouth in 2008.  How technology has changed!
I was overwhelmed with the Assistive Technology that is available now, and sadly reminded of how far "behind" my school, and the Tri County Board seems to be right now in comparison to the South Shore Board.  An IPAD cart available for student use?  I must admit, during our first class, it was only the second time I've used one myself.  Wow.....I am definetly putting that on my Christmas list!!

I know...funding, funding, funding.  So, here's a great way to get some dollars for the South Shore Board for just that purpose through the Aviva Community Fund....head to this website and vote everyday!!!

And the video for the Aviva Community Fund 2012 is below....

Using the IMovie application during class was simply awesome.  There are lots of great ways this could be used within the classroom.  And it definetly lends itself to many different styles of learners.

Looking foward to our next class!