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!