Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Blog Assignment #15

Group Pissarro:
Jordan Neely, Kaley McDonald, and Brooklyn Rowland

Assistive Technology can help children with learning disabilities find their strengths and work around their specific learning problems. It can provide both routine and access to curriculum in the classroom. Assistive technologists use their tools to extend students' physical and social abilities. These tools help “assist” students with interactions and learning in the classroom environment. Technology in this century is changing the methods in which teachers instruct students and is changing the way the students learn. School districts are required to offer appropriate assistive technology to students with disabilities. The selection of the right device is influenced by the abilities of the student, their family’s culture and value system, the environment in which the technology is used, and previous experiences with devices and strategies. Thorough assessment needs to be done on children in order to decide what devices must be chosen. It is important to have a combination of strategies that will work for a particular student because a single solution will not meet all the needs of the student. Some things to consider would be the following:
-The abilities of a child; his/or interests and preferences
-Family culture and value system
-The environment it will be used in
-The functional tasks for participating in daily routines
-Available materials and technologies
-The barriers of his/her participation
-Ongoing intervention and evaluation

Assistive Technology should be used to help the student academically and should also assist in meeting their personal goals. The student needs to work with their parents teacher, all working together as a team, to monitor the assistive technology that has been chosen. If a device stops meeting the student’s needs, it should be abandoned and replaced with a different method.

In the video, Assistive Technology, Kathy is a special education teacher and she tells how she uses technology in her classroom. Students who can hear and understand, but don’t have the ability express what they want or not, use the “Text-Speak” tool. It is software that has different pictures of phrases they want to verbalize, and pictures of choices they would want to voice. They also use a numerous amount of sign language in their classroom and they also play videos of sign language lessons. Another device they use is “Partner Four," which has four blocks that speak out loud, and it also speaks out simple responses, such as “yes," “no," or “I’m all done." The teacher can reprogram the four squares to say whatever she desires and show students which block represents what.

The next video is Assistive Technology: Powerful Solutions for Success preview, which expresses how teachers are exploring technology in their classroom in order to reach, influence, and inspire their students. Technology can make the difference in a child’s life with disabilities. Assistive technology is the use of devices that increase the capabilities for students with disabilities. It is important for teachers to provide different options for acquiring information and different ways that allow students to express what they are learning. Some students more equipped in the practice of typing since they do not have to focus on paper and pencil. Many students have problems with spelling, so the “AlphaSmart” allows students to choose the correct spelling. “Ginger Software” is a new program that is designed to correct common spelling errors that students with dyslexia tend to make.

The next video is Assistive Technology in Action - Meet Mason . Mason is a first grader who enjoys music and playing the Wii. He is blind in his left eye and he is partially blind in his right eye. Mason is a normal child, but he is required to adapt and be accommodated for in order to learn. In the classroom, Mason uses a device, called the Malpatton, for writing activities. When he types, it tells him what letter he is typing. He uses an iPad at school, which assists in displaying larger letters and other eye sight accommodations, and at home for educational games and activities. Mason also uses the SMARTboard at school; it is great for him because things are displayed big and the contrast on it is easier for him to use and see as well. Technology is constantly changing. Mason will be introduced to new technology throughout his lifetime, but it is evident that he will be prepared to adapt to any type of new situation.

Dell has a video that talks about technology and students with disabilities. Students that are more comfortable learning through technology can still learn social skills by interacting with the computer screen. Whether it is smart phones, iPads, or laptops, technology can make a huge difference in a child’s life. With this current population, we are required to make learning all about engagement. Moving a mouse, or moving a finger on a track pad, can be difficult for the disabled, so finding the right device for an individual is about trial and error. People with disabilities often also have problems expressing their emotions, of which technology can aid them in overcoming.

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