Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Blog Post Sixteen

Well, I guess it is true when they say the time flies when you are having fun! I cannot believe this is my final post for EDM310, but yet, I am so happy to be taking so much with me from this one class. I have learned so many things that have completely changed how I think about educating. I am very surprised going back and reading my first post, because I would not change much to it. Although this might seem like EDM310 did not change how I thought, it is quite the opposite. After watching Sugata Mitra’s “School in the Cloud” and reading Krissy Vendosdale’s blog, I was already thinking in a way that I have never been shown before in my life. By this first blog post, I was already thinking a whole new way of educating. I have always been taught in schools from a white board in a standard lecture setting, and as a future educator, I saw nothing wrong with this before EDM310. I know now that I would NEVER teach my students in this setting. Because of EDM310, I now want to change my future math classroom from what is typically expected in one. I want an energetic math learning experience for my children! I want to use project based learning and use what they learn to apply it to real life situations.

If I had to change things about my first blog post, I would add more project based learning and technology. Originally, when I started this class, I was an elementary education major, but EDM310 actually helped me realize that in order to help my students be the best learners they could be, I have to be the best teacher I can be. EDM310 has inspired me to become a wonderful math teacher and help children not to only learn what we are doing in math, but to maybe even enjoy math. So, as a future math teacher and not elementary, I would take out much of the art use as a tool in my classroom, and add technology instead. Throughout this course, I have seen the role technology plays in the classroom, and I think this would be essential for mine. Through my C4T’s and extending my PLN, I have found many math resources that I would have never been able to find before such as the math PBL resources I found in Michael Gorman's Blog. I also would add the Smart Board to my future classroom. Before my assignments in EDM310, I have not had much experience with smart boards, and now, I realize how useful they are. In my first blog post, I said “As Mitra, I would like my students to be the facilitators of their learning. They should be able excel beyond a curriculum, and take on the roles of researchers in order to continue interest in commonly “boring” subjects.” I think this is actually ironic, since I am becoming a math teacher now. If I had to rewrite my first post, most of what I said would stay. I still want my students to be active, confident learners, and I no longer want to play the strong head role as the traditional teacher. As a 21st century teacher, I want to be innovative, electric, and always a lifelong learner.
Life-long Learning

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Project Sixteen

Blog Post Fifteen

The Brail Writer and Other Assistive Technologies

Assistive technologies are a lifeline for some students who have disabilities. Like any other technology, assistive technology is advancing every day. Assistive technology is revolutionizing students’ lives by allowing them to learn, play, communicate and interact in ways that otherwise would not be possible.

A brail writer is an assistive technological tool for blind students. The machine allows the student to brail, then receive instant feedback from the machine as it verbally announces what is being brailed. This tool is very advanced and can save, transfer and receive files. The brail writer can also teach students who are not blind to read brail; as the student brails, print will display on a screen to show them what they are brailing. The brail writer helps to bridge the gap between the blind student and his or her peers. This machine gives students with disabilities the opportunity to participate more fully in class and peer groups.

Other assistive technologies include wheelchairs, laptops, onscreen keyboards, desks that raise and lower, voice activated software that allows student to complete school assignments on their computers, and cellphones to get help if needed. The Edutopia video below shows several students using different assistive technologies, from a wheel chair to a customized horn that allows a disabled boy to play in the marching band.

Ipad Use for the Blind

From videos such as Ipad Usage for the Blind and Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child is Learning, we see the use of the Ipad and its voiceover capabilities as assistive technology. These sensory disabilities such as deafness or blindness could be present in our classroom, and we must know as educators what is available to us and our students. Having disabilities in a world without technology would leave this student in a very challenging learning environment. Education is for everyone, and assistive technologies make is possible for students with assistivetechnology disabilities to be able to enjoy all the benefits of education. As for the use of the voiceover capabilities of the Ipad, these videos focus on the disability of blindness. The voiceover for the ipad allows students to scroll their fingers over the screen and be able to hear what apps they are sliding over. If they want to click that app, they just double click anywhere, and the app will open. These instructions are the same when typing on the ipad. After going over each word as it is read aloud, the student can double tap to choose that letter. One important app used from the ipad for the blind is the ibook. The ibook is important for people with blindness, because no other kindle or nook are accessible for the blind right out of the box. Normally, a software of some sort has to be downloaded. With ibook, the student can flip two fingers up to start any story out loud, and some books even have the images described. Not all gone are the days when disabled students are isolated from others, but hopefully, by giving blind people this reading tool and use of the ipad is just one way out of many that we can assist in recreating a better world of education for all students.

Teaching Math To The Blind

Math is a difficult subject for anybody and especially for students that are blind. A professor at the University of San Francisco, Art Karshmer, made a computer based system to help teach math to the blind students. Art Karshmer discusses how difficult it is for blind students to learn math problems with being visually impaired. Karshmer created a 3 million touchpad. This device is designed to use braille and technology together to create a math learning experience. It uses a voice touchpad and a barcode scanner to recognize numbers being used. The touchpad is also labeled in braille so that students can still have the option of reading along with the voice. This is a wonderful technology to help students that are blind. We would love to use this technology in our classroom if we have a blind student. It is a great resource to help the students learn and to help the teachers teach the blind students.

We found a article News at Vanderbilt that explains this app that turns a device into a math aid to help students that are blind. Jenna Gorlewicz, a graduate from Vanderbilt University is who came up with this app. We think this app is wonderful idea especially since ipads are starting to be available in schools now. We would love to use this app as well to help teach math if we had a blind student in our classroom.

Assistive technology is progressing every day, but it is not implemented as much as it could be in schools. Unfortunately, not all teachers and parents are aware of these advancements, resulting in some students not receiving all of the opportunities available to them. This is yet another reason why it is so important for teachers to be technologically literate. Staying up to date on the assistive technologies available to students with disabilities is crucial. The sooner a disabled student is introduced to an assistive technology, the sooner they can master the tool, and focus on the regular curriculum. This will better prepare the student and increase their chances to move on to college, then a career.