Assistive Technology for Students with Learning Disabilites

As I was researching ways to help students with learning disabilities I was able to find information on assistive technology (AT). “AT for kids with learning disabilities is defined as any device, piece of equipment or system that helps bypass, work around or compensate for an individual’s specific learning deficits.The use of technology to enhance learning is an effective approach for many children. Additionally, students with LD often experience greater success when they are allowed to use their abilities (strengths) to work around their disabilities (challenges). AT tools combine the best of both of these practices.” (greatschools.org)

The following websites I’ve found help discuss Assistive Technology for students with learning disabilities and give resources for teachers to help their students.

http://www.greatschools.org/special-education/assistive-technology/702-assistive-technology-for-kids-with-learning-disabilities-an-overview.gs?page=all

http://www.educationworld.com/special_ed/assistive/index.shtml

Are there any resources that you can share that help students with special needs?

Technology Help with Common Core Standards

As the standards have just recently changed for Kentucky teachers are struggling to get used to the new standards or having trouble understanding them. Technology gives us many great sources especially through the web in order to help teachers with the standards. While researching resources for common core and technology I was able to find two great websites that I found to be incredibly useful when helping teachers with the common core that also involve technology.

http://gettingsmart.com/cms/edreformer/10-common-core-resources/

This site gives a list and description of 10 website resources that teachers can use to help them with common core.

http://www.teachthought.com/teaching/50-common-core-resources-for-teachers/

This site gives 50 different web resources that teachers can use. It is a very organized blog that gives different sites into sections. It gives other blogs to look at, tools, developments, and much more!

I also wanted to mention that there is an iPhone app on my phone that you can get for both your iPhone and iPad that lists all of the common core standards. I find it very handy when I’m writing lessons and want to quickly look up a standard. You can purchase it on itunes, www.apple.com/itunes/ .

Kentucky schools have also began implementing CIITS, Continuous Instruction Improvement Technology System. This program allows teachers to plan their lessons and also includes the common core standards.

If you have any helpful resources that you know please list them in the comment box, I would love to read your ideas or suggestions!!

Leadership and Technology

In order for technology to thrive within our schools it will take strong leaders within the schools to help guide technology integration in the classrooms. It is critical that we as teachers step out of our comfort zone if need be to help support technology integration in order to help reach our digital students. Over time we hope that the leadership through teachers supporting technology within classrooms will help fill the gap between teachers and students. A few websites concerning leadership and technology integration can be found at:

http://blog.web20classroom.org/2010/07/thoughts-on-school-leaders-and.html

Is a blog that I stumbled across that focuses on leadership and technology integration within schools.

http://www.nassp.org/Content.aspx?topic=58730

This site discusses leadership and effectively intergrating technology for both principals and educational leaders.

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/mentoring-coaching-tech-integration-mary-beth-hertz

This site discusses how schools can come together in order to integrate technology into their school.

 

In my poll I would like to know if you feel that your school consists of leaders of technology. Comments are welcome!

A Change In How We Should Assess Students

As we all know our world has changed significantly thanks to technology, so what does this mean for the way in which we prepare assessments for our students? Students’ skills have now become more about the process instead of the content. We as teachers need to change our mindset and focus on how students got there instead of just the solution. I was able to find a couple of websites that I found helpful pertaining to technological ways we can assess our students, take a look…

http://educationcloset.com/2011/08/01/using-technology-to-creatively-assess-students-and-teachers/

Is an article that discusses how technology can be used to assess students and teachers. It gives various different options to use that I found very interesting and helpful.

http://www.caacentre.ac.uk/dldocs/alter.pdf

Is an awesome PDF file that breaks down how you can use technology to assess students. Although it’s quite long its definitely something teachers can find helpful when it comes to finding effective ways to use technology as an assessment to evaluate student learning.

 

Communicating Visually

Our world is now communicating visually instead of strictly through text. This has its pro’s and con’s. Over time new technology has helped play a huge role in this discovery. The web has played one of the biggest parts in this new communication; it has allowed for more graphics to be shown rather than just text. A study has been shown that 1/3 of our brains is devoted to processing images where as less than that makes us processing text. So what’s the down fall you may ask? Traditional reading is on the decline. Students no longer feel that reading for entertainment is important when they have all these other things competing with it. We as educators are going to have to find new fun ways to bring the love back into reading again before it ceases to exist but we also must remember to teach our students visually.

A few good websites that relate to communicating visually can be found at:

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/realistic-ideas-get-teens-reading

(Is a great website I found that gives some awesome ideas for getting teens more interested in reading)

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top_teaching/2010/11/visualize-teaching-readers-to-create-pictures-in-their-minds-

(Another great site that helps teacher get ideas on how to help students visualize while reading.)

Technology and Collaboration

Collaboration is becoming more important in the working world today. However, collaboration isn’t necessarily the same as it used to be. In order for us to now prepare our students for the working world we have to rely on teaching them more technology based ways to incorporate technology. Students have to be able to work with others even when they aren’t in the same place to work on the project. In my technology reading this week it stated that, “Students need to learn communication skills required to make a virtual work group function.” and “They must learn how to plan joint work, to negotiate the distribution of work between members, and to resolve conflicts.” (pg 109, Understanding the Digital Generation, Jukes, McCain, Crockett) We as educators also must learn to do this as well so that we can help our students.

I few sites I found to help teachers when it comes to collaboration:

http://www.ascd.org/ascd-express/vol6/611-bechtel.aspx

(This website has tips for new teachers that helps them teach collaborative skills to the digital generation.)

http://www.innovativeteachertoolkit.com/documents/skills/collaboration.pdf

(A great PDF website that focuses on teaching collaboration skills to students.)

Cell Phones in School…Good Idea?

One of the most important tools to our students today, especially to our middle and high schools students, is you guessed it the cell phone. However, there has been a lot of controversy about whether this tools should be allowed in schools. Cell phones allow for a great window of opportunity to our students, they allow them to communicate and find information quickly. These are a 21st century tool that they will be able to use well passed their school days and into their careers. Although teachers worry about students doing things on their phones during class that are inappropriate, why not have them do things on their phones that relate to class. Programs now allow for students to participate in quizzes and polls simply by texting the answer to a certain number. There are great possibilities when it comes to cell phone use we as teachers just need to find ways that work for both us and our students.

I was able to find quite a few websites that pertain to cell phone usage in schools. They’re pretty cool, check them out if you have a chance!

http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3751073

(Is a scholastic website that discusses why they feel the cell phone ban should be lifted with some great points and an example of teachers attempting to use cell phones within the classroom.)

http://www.teachhub.com/how-use-cell-phones-learning-tools

(Gives a list cell phone use strategies and how to solve common problems within the classroom with cell phone use.)

http://www.howtolearn.com/2012/04/how-educators-can-use-cell-phones-in-the-classroom

(Is an article about the percentages of schools that ban cell phones and also how teachers are using cell phones within their classrooms.)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/2012/sep/10/mobile-phones-classroom-teaching

(An article that discusses cell phone use and tips given by teachers that use them within the classroom.)

Meeting Students’ Needs Instead of our Own

As I have mentioned in previous posts about us as teachers primarily teaching towards the test and having our own ways of teaching to our preference but we have to keep in mind is this type of teaching really helping our students? We know that simply having students memorize material isn’t cutting it. If we take a look at the “Learning Cone” we find that talking at our students is one of the worst approaches we as educators can use. We need to allow our students to discover while they are learning this is how we reach them, by finding ways to relate to the student. We need to become more of a facilitator of learning, guiding our students instead of telling them.

Preparing Our Students for the Real World

As we all know our main focuses as educators recently has been preparing our students for the test. Although we are preparing our students we have to think is this really preparing our students for the real world? In order to prepare many teachers are talking and/or lecturing their students so that they can do well; they are also having them memorize the majority of the material which results in them typically learning it long enough to take the test then forget everything they have learned in the process. Students are learning new skills thanks to technology and even their higher order thinking has changed. We now need to prepare our students for the technology based world of today and in order to do so we have to focus on their needs. Below I have created a chart explaining the new skills taught to students and another to demonstrate the change in higher order thinking.

New Basic Skills

Bloom'sTaxonomy

Sites that also help promote higher level thinking can be found at:

http://www.pbs.org/teacherline/

(which gives examples of activities teachers can do with students)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6grRsLm8eww

(a you tube video discussing Bloom’s taxonomy with softchalk).

Time to Play Catch Up

In order for teachers to best help students, especially those teachers who may not have as much experience with technology as others, it’s important for them to prepare themselves as much as possible. There are many opportunities available to teachers so that they may be able to learn and teach new technology to their students. Workshops can be found online or locally to help teachers with technology. Training are also being done within school systems to help their teachers learn new technology and how it can be used. Professional developments are also available to those interested in learning more about technology. Remember to always reach out to your co-teachers!!

I was able to find two specific websites that offer professional developments to teachers, they can be found at:

http://edtechteacher.org/ 

http://www.pbs.org/teacherline/