Posts Tagged ‘Assistive Technology’

 

desk

Accessibility in Education:

-Dynavox-picture board/speaking tool

-Dragon natural speaking

-Kurzweil 3000 and Firefly

-Reader Pens

-Talking Calculators

-Alpha Smart (writing aid)

-IPads

*ASK for help. LEARN about these technologies*

*As an educator, make sure your lessons are accessible for ALL of your learners….really think about WHAT is it that the students are learning*

*by emphasizing technology, we can appeal to the widest student audience.

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center for quality learning

A Universal Design for Learning allows educators to meet the learning needs of all students. By incorporating a variety of learning modalities, teachers are able to engage students, and increase comprehension.

So how do educators incorporate UDL into their teaching practice? To me, the simplest way is to use technology. Utilizing web-based technologies such as YouTube, Skype, and Kurzweil provide a new dimension of interactivity and depth to a lesson. Furthermore, by using the IPad as a teaching tool, teachers can organize lessons, download fun and educational apps for the classroom, and store presentations that are ready to go and easily accessible.  To me, this seems a lot easier than lugging around a giant resource binder!

jeff-parker-080712

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is an innovative aim that will allow for students to use personal computing devices in the classroom. Personally, I think that this is a great idea for two main reasons:

1. Students are able to follow along with course material and save data onto their computers in an organized format (no more crumpled notes), where it is easily accessible for later use-a wonderful tool to help with study skills and time management.

2. Students with learning difficulties are able to use assistive technology as a tool to help guide comprehension and understanding of course curricula; fostering an inclusive learning environment.

However, BYOD has its implications. With social media at an all time high; the temptation for students to “get off track” is tremendous. This creates a conflict for innovative schools: how do you use technology to teach without the classroom becoming all a “twitter”?

I think it should come down to creating solid guidelines and expecting a high level of personal responsibility. Constant monitoring of students is not a realistic approach. Teachers can go over expectations and guidelines, while reminding students that each individual is responsible for his/her own behaviour.  Moreover, if participation is highly valued by the teacher, students are less likely to become distracted (no one truly wants to get caught not paying attention).

BYOD is imminent. A successful transition is dependent on flexibility, adaptability, and a desire for a more open learning environment.

Further reading: This website features plans for personalized learning, including a “how-to” guide to implement BYOD. http://www.k12blueprint.com/byod

sidenote: how do educators handle social media? (ex: friend requests from students and parents)