Monday, December 19, 2011
This class was packed. There was a lot to learn and time management was key in this sense. I do not think I was able to fully delve into each piece of new technology we learned, but I did certainly gain a better understanding of the really important ones: Kurzweil, Smartboard and Boardmaker. I am confident that I will be using this in my many teaching years to come and am happy to say I am comfortable with these programs. And I love prezi now, and so do my students. I think they are simply pleased to be presented with something non-linear like ppt. Hey, whatever it takes to keep them engaged!
The group work was a bit challenging. I did not really like coordinating all the information on the Wiki, and to be honest, all my groups just abandoned that method and stuck to email chains. It was hard to rely on everyone checking the wiki consistently, and there wasn't a way to decipher who was saying what. Yes, I understand that we could get fancy with it and make it easy to decipher, but honestly that was just too much work to simply communicate ideas. Again, time efficiency was crucial with the work-load.
Overall, I really enjoyed the class and definitely walked away with a lot of useful tools that I have already introduced to my classroom.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Thinking of how to better assist children through the "organizing and accessing networks" really helped me better understand how we, as teachers, can better "break down" the networks of assistance students need. My color group was asked to focus on Luke:
Dyslexia and Executive Functioning Difficulty
Luke always amazes with his keen insight and contributions to class discussions even though he is reading about 5 grades below grade level. When it comes to technology, Luke is the resident guru, often sharing pictures, videos, and is up on the latest developments. Even so, with his disabilities, he is extremely sensitive and apprehensive about trying anything new related to school, and often hangs back in class until he is certain he has a good understanding of what the class is discussing. Luke often has difficulty following through with directions. Even when the homework or project does not include decoding, Luke rarely has his homework or in class work done, often loses his papers, and rarely follows through on using references or asking for help.
Enjoys class discussions
Contributes to class discussion
-shares his thoughts
Struggles to try new things
Can share his knowledge about technology
Go to person for technology-others will ask him for help
Monday, November 7, 2011
The most encouraging take-away I had from last weeks readings and viewings was the idea that we shouldn't only make educational parts of life accessible to students with disabilities, but all parts of life - leisure and social activities. Sometimes we focus so much on how to make the educational material accessible to all students that we forget there is a lot to be learned by living a full life. I like the idea of changing my mindset to include making all life experiences accessible- it makes my job a little more fun!
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Kurzweil 3000 is a text to speech program which can be used to adapt to different students reading needs. Kurzweil requires minimal preparation. The teacher simply needs to have a text uploaded and read to go, and the student needs to have access to a computer. There are a variety of ways it can be used effectively.
As you know, I am a 6th grade English teacher. In exploring Kurzweil I realized it would be a great tool to use with students in a "read aloud" method. We are currently engaged in a short story unit. It would be great to use this technology and allow the students to follow along to a text on the projector while the program reads it aloud. The only downfall with that is the lack of "voice" and "tone," but for difficult texts with complicated vocabulary, it is worth it. Additionally, in this short story unit I have learned that some students have decoding issues. I can now recommend this program to them and their parents to practice reading aloud with.
In terms of the student profiles for this class, I believe that Sarah, Sam, Finn, and Luke could benefit from using this program as well. Particularly Finn, since he loves technology. IF he had access to the short story in a kurzweil form he could read it aloud with the program the night before we read it in class (this would allow for more processing time).
As I become more and more comfortable with the program I become more excited to use it in my classroom.