Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blog Post #16 Part 2

Blog Post #16 Part 1

    In preparation for this final blog post I went back and read the first blog post I wrote for this class. Everything I wrote in that post still stands true as to what I want my classroom to look like, what I want my students to learn, what methods I will use in my class, and the technology I will use. However, I now have a better understanding of myself and my ideals for my classroom and students.

My Classroom
     I want my classroom to be a place where students find a love for grammar and literature. In today's society most students dread their English class. I do not want my classroom to be that way. I want my class to be a place where my students learn the value of English in their everyday life and take their learning with them into the next phase of their lives.

Activities In My Classroom
    I have had the opportunity to learn numerous things through EDM310 about potential activities that could take place in my classroom. I would really love to have a SMARTboard in my classroom so that I could create activities based on grammar. I would have my students complete those activities on the SMARTboard and then get peer feedback. Active participation in a subject will promote understanding of important concepts. Another activity I would like for my students to participate in are having them create small YouTube videos in which they explain concepts of grammar. They could create their activity on the SMARTboard and then have a classmate video it. The reason I would like to do this activity in my classroom is because, if my students can explain the concept enough to create a video on it, then that means that they truly understand the concept.

    One method I know I will use in my classroom is blogging to improve writing skills. I had never blogged until I got into EDM310 and just going back and reading my first blog post I can see a dramatic difference in my writing. Blogging is a wonderful tool to help students with writing and even create a love for writing. My students will blog about concepts we are studying in class and they will also have creative writing assignments. My students will also learn the value of peer editing and commenting through blogging. I will also have my students focus on critical analysis of literary works. I will have my students read certain passages and then as a class we will discuss what could the writer have meant when he/she wrote this portion of the text.

Tools I Will Use In My Classroom
     The list of tools to use in the classroom are endless. There are so many wonderful tools and applications available to teachers and students. I know I will use blogging. Blogging has become one of my favorite things to do. I hope to instill that love in my students. I want to use Google Docs and Google Sites to have my students share their works with each other and to create viewable sites for their work or projects. I will have my students use Brainscape as a studying tool. On their iPads, they will use iMovie to create videos on concepts of grammar. In doing research I will have my students log onto iCurio so that they can access Common Core approved sites. These are just a few of the tools I will use in my classroom, but the possibilities are endless.
keep calm

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog Post #15

Caitlin Hinton
assistive technology
    I have never actually considered the possibility of teaching students with disabilities or special needs. In the school that I attended I honestly cannot remember any students who had disabilities or special needs. There were some students who had trouble understanding, but they just went to what was called resource. I never looked at them as if they had special needs. In saying all of this when I decided I wanted to be an educator, I assumed that I would teach students who had no learning disabilities or special needs. I assumed they would be in their own classroom with teachers who were specialized in that field and could work with them one on one to assist in whatever their individual needs might be. It was not until last year, when I did observations in a high school, that I realized that there were special needs children in regular classes. I almost feel a little bit silly for being so narrow minded. Why shouldn’t those with special needs or learning disabilities have the same experiences and opportunities as someone who does not have disabilities or special needs? Students who have special needs and learning disabilities are given the same opportunity to learn with assistive technologies.
    In one of the videos that Dr Strange had us watch for this blog post, Having a great time teaching mom what her deaf/blind child is learning on the iPad, we watch a mom use an iPad and she learns how her child learns on their iPad. It was so neat to see how an iPad can be used and how you do not have to be able to see or hear to use one. On the Microsoft Accessibility website there are numerous tools that could be used depending on what type of disability your student has. There is a product called an alternative input device and this allows students to control their computer through other means instead of a traditional keyboard. One assistive technology that I found that I thought was really neat and it fit my major is a website called Learning Ally. Learning Ally is an assistive technology that is available to educators to help their students who have trouble reading. Learning Ally is a leading provider of audiobooks. Another great reading assistive technology that I discovered is Bookshare. Bookshare is a company whose goal is to make print accessible to people with disabilities. Bookshare makes books available in accessible formats such as digital texts and digital Braille.
    I feel that all of the assistive technologies I mentioned above are ones that I could potentially use in my classroom. Literature is a large part of English language arts and with websites like Learning Ally, I could have stories put on audiobook for students who have reading disabilities, and Bookshare, I have stories turned into Braille for a visually impaired students. These are just a few of the assistive technologies that are available to me as an educator. In using these assistive technologies I am giving each of my students the opportunity to succeed in a way that is conducive for their individual needs.

Laura Crawford
     Luckily, I decided to take EDU400 this semester. I did not think it would be so immediately rewarding that I decided to do so. The class is entitled “Education for Exceptional Children and Youth” and has well informed me of the challenges I might face even teaching in general education classroom. Since the passing of the “No Child Left Behind” Act, teachers are encouraged to integrate all students into the “Least Restrictive Environment”--especially those with special needs. Considering everything I have learned in that class this semester, these videos were no surprise.
    In The Mountbatten, Amy Archer illustrates the wonderful device known as the “Mountbatten” which aids blind students in the process of learning braille. The machine writes Braille for the students using certain buttons or a combination of buttons while a recorded voice on the machine announces the letter the student produced. The Mountbatten can also save files and share them with other computers. As an English teacher, I look forward to working with blind students to enhance their rhetoric and their writing skills using the Mountbatten.
    Coincidentally, The Mountbatten is also featured in another one of Amy Archer’s videos entitled ”Assistive Technologies for Vision and Hearing Impaired Children”. This video shows a number of (you guessed it) assistive technologies for vision and hearing impaired children. These devices include Gotalk, a Hearing Information Centre, and as I said The Mountbatten, among many others that remained unnamed in the video. The video is obviously meant to encourage teachers to take the extra step in educating children with special needs. The video also offers information such as, “One in 2500 Australian children have a vision impairment” but its main purpose it obviously to inspire teachers to go beyond the status quo of teaching, which unfortunately rarely considers the needs of special education students.

Ashley Railey
    Professor Art Karshmer, of the University of San Francisco School of Management, shows in his video a device he and his team built to teach math to the blind. Professor Karshmer explains that without a knowledge of math blind students cannot from a career in the study of all the core sciences, which rely on math as their root language. Using computers and computer-based devices, Professor Karshmer has devised a system which translates the 2-dimensional realities of mathematical problems into the otherwise single dimensions of braille to allow a blind student to impress those realities into their visual cortex through touch and electronic feedback.
    The device is composed of blocks with numbers written in braille and a board to place the block on vertically. The blocks also have a bar code on them that allow the student to scan the bar code and the computer speak the number. The student can align the numbers vertically on the board and solve the problem as a sighted student would.
    Wesley Majerus (who is blind) is the Access Specialist for the National Federation for the Blind. In this video, iPad Usage For The Blind, he shows how a blind person uses the iPad. He explains that the iPad is equipped with a voice-over tool. Using this tool he is able to move his figure across the screen and the voice-over tells him the apps he can choose from. Once he finds the app he is searching for, he double taps to open the application. The iPad also has an offers a mainstream e-reader, which reads different books aloud. The e-reader allows him to choose by chapter or page number where to start. Using voice-over he is even able to surf the web.
    I thought both of these videos were very intriguing. I didn't attend school with anyone who was blind, therefore I'm not sure of the services that may have been provided. I had never thought about how hard it is for a blind person to learn math. Professor Karshmer's device seems to be a great way to help the visually impaired learn mathematics. I also had no idea the iPad was programmed to service the blind. This is an amazing development in technology!