Yes, how can I assist you?

My experience with assistive technology is quite limited.  With a foundation in Inclusive Education/Special Education I am very familiar with making adaptions or modifications to ensure the success of the student in my class.  I am able to make changes to the work, expectations, outcomes, and the processes in which a student can show what they know.  Sometimes technology has been involved in these adaptations but more often, it has not been.  To date, I have a student that uses various reading applications to have literature read aloud while he listens to grade appropriate text as he cannot yet read it for himself.  Each of our classrooms has a FM system to project and promote 

sound quality for students with hearing and attention deficits. I have two students who have microphone for their computers to dictate work(scribe type method) that is to be written. Other than that I would say I have not had a lot of experience in the setting of a typical classroom environment. We also have data projectors in every classroom to assist those visual learners.

The presentation given by Channing, Kelsey, Jill,and Haiming  on Tuesday gave me an indication of what assistive technology can do in special needs classrooms.  One thing that struck me as odd or a little “pie in the sky” was to have the assisitive technology for everyone in the room.  I think this is a lovely thought and would help all students in so many ways but financially it is not possible.  The speaker in the video said that the students who do not need it will let go of the novelty and the ones who require the assistance will continue with it. I wish it were as easy as that.  The cost of these support items is often too much to have a class set.  We are consider ourselves fortunate if we receive the funding or support for the students who require it.

In recent readings by Pitchford et al.(2018) Interactive Apps Promote Learning of Basic Mathematics in Children With Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, the use of math apps gave students a boost in learning outcomes.  Students with disabilities utilized the same apps and were found to be a positive source of support for them.  The SEND (special needs and disabilities) students were shown on average to need twice as long to receive the outcome, but they still met the requirement.  It was also noted that students with hearing or speaking impairments found the technology to be more difficult.  More proof that even with technology supports is needed for many students.

Lots to think about.

Assessment is Key

GiphyIt seems we, as teachers, are always concerned about assessment.  Is it formative or summative? Is it for, as, or of learning? Who will the assessment be reported to and what is the main objective of the report?  Often, unfortunately, we are told assessments have to be completed for data to be given to board offices or Ministry officials. These are completed without lessons having been thoroughly taught, students not having adequate opportunity to practice or the performance is based on a component taught so long ago that memory or skill is lost.  What good do these assessment do? Has the impact of the assessment on the student’s motivation or self-esteem been taken into consideration? How do students feel after this assessment has been performed?

Proper assessment is to improve student outcomes.  Given the time to receive rich and informative feedback, a child will grow from the assessment. A teacher is to provide assurance and constructive criticism to the learner in the hopes that the learner can develop to the next level of learning.

If students work with the teacher to develop the criteria for the assessment  they have active involvement in their learning.

Joe Bower as mentioned by Alec has a blog call for the love of learning. He blogs about abolishing grading in assessment is not a spreadsheet– its a conversation.  There are great videos regarding the need for grades, or maybe the need “not” for grades.

I use SeeSaw and Flipgrid weekly in my classroom.  We maintain these apps as digital portfolios.  Parents can interact on student Seesaw

https://flipgrid.com/s/07066bc1b49b    Student Response 

Here is one of my students using Flipgrid to respond to a story about residential schools. This student is very shy, she prefers to speak to the computer than to the class or even small groups.  This tool is perfect for her, although she still has to speak to everyone as some point. All of my students have their own laptops so there really was no challenge to setting up this assessment tool.  I use it for formative and summative assessment, depending on the assignment.  This response aligns  with curricular outcome CR7.1.  Being that we have done many reflections, I will use a rubric to complete a summative assessment.

CR7.1 View, listen to, read, comprehend, and respond to a variety of texts that address identity (e.g., Thinking for Oneself), social responsibility (e.g., Participating and Giving Our Personal Best), and efficacy (e.g., Doing Our Part for Planet Earth).

The only draw back is listening to 30 responses.  Sometimes assessing written work is easier, but having the ability to assess oral language is a bonus as well as an adaptation.  Finally, my students’ portfolios are a number of digital snip-its of what they have done this year.  We are required to have digital portfolios and I thought I would use these two tools.

 

 

Is it Possible to Keep Up?

Technology advancement is moving at such a quick pace that it is often difficult to know if I will be able to keep up.  I feel like I just learn something well enough to really use it and then there is a change, an update or someone “downtown” has decided we are not using that technology any longer.

I have also come to the realization that even when you think you have a learning opportunity there are so many glitches that can mess it up.  My classroom is said to be a twenty-first century classroom, each student having their own school supported device,  but we are situated in a building built for a different era.  The wifi cannot support my students’ computers. We get the wifi jacked up and then there are individual student issue with OneNote or another app.  I just became comfortable with Flipgrid, on our computers as the ipads could not update enough to load, and now we are being told to use My Blueprint.

Sage has a great chart in the Fox Den.  It really helped outline the changes progress has made as well as the learning theory that it coincides or works with.  I also appreciate the  illustrations, taken from Jake Gerstein, of what  Classroom 3.0 would look like. If we look at Education 1.0 as described by Gerstein, we can see that students have access to information via books and websites. They are not able to connect or share with their learnings with others outside the context of the classroom. We can watch our students take notes and learn from live or video lectures and we can use technology or mobile apps for drill and practice concepts. Moving to Education 2.0, our students are now able to construct part of their learning not just be consumers of the media. Students can participate in real tasks online with real world settings. Collaborative and hands-on activities are starting to be integrated into this generation of learning. 3.0 gives our students many educational opportunities to take the role of creator of their learning. They are connecting on a deeper level and globally, as opposed to locally or within our own classroom. The information we received is up-to-date and right at our fingertips at all times. Having learners take charge of their learning experience, share their knowledge with others and show responsible citizenship is key.

 

Half Way Already!

This is my first fully on-line class.  I really like the Zoom Room concept as you can be involved in the class in as many way as you would in a classroom situation. I have completed a blended class in which Zoom Room was utilized as a tool for watching not participating; very little interaction occurred.  It was like watching a class happen instead of, what we are doing in 833, taking a class and making it happen.  This class has opened my mind to on-line classes

Giphy

as I was very closed off after my blended experience.  It is up to us as educators to model a growth mindset, and I feel this class has helped me see that in a very positive way. The breakout rooms, the ability to share a screen with the accessibility of all the applications and extensions that you normally use make Zoom Room the perfect tool to provide the formal and social aspects of learning. The chat allows for social interaction as does the speaking mode.  This allows for differentiated learning in that some are more comfortable and confident speaking and others with non-verbal communication.

I have been utilizing Flipgrid a lot since our first introduction.  Having had used this tool once before, I have made it a much larger part of my teaching and assessing portfolio.  My students are involved with the GRA, and Flipgrid provide the them with the opportunity to meet and interact with their reading buddies in Nashville. Such an easy and engaging opportunity; and my S’s love it. I am learning how to learning again!

We have heard time and time again that an app or extension are only as good as the teacher or instructor using them.  I can vouch for this with my experience in this class and in the blended class I was enrolled in last spring.  Here I am engaged and learning, utilizing my new skills and providing opportunities for my classroom. I am looking forward to Alec’s next class. If I had a choice of the direction of where to go next, I would like to tryout more of these tools and applications.  I find it helpful to my understanding of the tools when we are given opportunity to try it out in our classes.  I would like to see curricular connections made and how we can make the most of the applications to enhance our curriculum.

With the Connected Educator expectations, along with Flipgrid, I have managed to use Kahoot, Plickers, SeeSaw, Menti, and Quizzez as assessment tools.  I have connected with parents on Twitter, Scolantis and SeeSaw.  My whole world is widening, soon I may catch up to my students! My students love creating with Menti.  What values can you teach using technology?

How Much Can One Person Do?

Well, I don’t know if it is my age, the fact that I am a mom or that I am a teacher that puts me in the category of constantly doing more than one thing at a time.  I have had lists ever since I can remember and find the opportunity to sit idle something I gave up as a teenager, long before computers and the digital age. How we choose to use our time is exactly that, a choice.

Giphy

As adults we should be able to focus our attention to complete a series of tasks.  We can choose to open another tab or not.  If we have more time and feel the need for a distraction such as Facebook or to see what is trending on Twitter, go for it.  I can choose to close my laptop completely and do all of the other things my life requires.

Students, on the other hand, may need more help focusing their attention.  The OneNote extension of Windows does not have pop-ups and I, as the teacher have control as to what my students are accessing.  I do like the option of minimizing the viewing options of Youtube and anything I can do to block ads is helpful.  The tools we spoke of last week, DF Tube for example allow us to cut down on the distractions.

video

The video, Single Tasking is the new multitasking, assigned for this week made me laugh.  The list of tangents is exactly how my brain works…I don’t need a computer to do that. Ha!     Source                 Productivity suites were developed for people to be able to work quickly and efficiently in a world that is moving too fast.  Finding  the ability to focus on one task and perform it well, while keeping other things fluid can be difficult at time but is a real world requirement.  As Daniel mentioned in his blog, all tools are useless if used inappropriately. Each individual has to find what works best and how he can be at his most productive.   If time is of the essence, close a few tabs and buckle down, single task.  If you are finding you have time to spare, follow the links, go with the flow, what have you got to lose but time.

Unlike Sesame Street

Our assignment this week was to discuss Neil Postman statement, “…We now know that “Sesame Street” encourages children to love school only if school is like “Sesame Street.” Ah, Sesame Street, a place where learning occurred and the learner didn’t even know it was happening.  

GIPHY

I truly sat and thought about this for a period of time.  Technology gives the ability to go beyond the traditional sense of learning.  Our students are often learning without even knowing they are doing it as were the youngsters who watched Sesame Street. Hours spent in front of the t.v. was thought okay by parents as children were learning “good” lessons that included a lot of heart.  Having said that, the produces of Sesame Street were able to present a lesson and have that lesson bridge any concepts of ethnicity, religion or gender. Now, students spend hours in front of a device, but the lessons being learnt are not always as courteous or respectful.  Parents  and teachers have a much harder time controlling what their child/student is being exposed to.  Lessons of bigotry and racism are as easily to access as a math lesson or learning comprehension exercise.

There is another type of teaching that, in my opinion, has to go hand-in-hand with the use of technology.  Having students learn their own value system and what they feel is true to their being.  Students have to be taught and learn how to filter all of the information that is available with technology and find what is important and relevant.  The producers of Sesame Street did a great job for generations of children, but as we move further into the 21st century the students will have to take ownership of this element.

In our suggested readings and as Kyle mentions the SAMR model into his blog, I am reminded as to my purpose in using technology. In Classroom AV: what should you consider?  we are being reminded that “…we do not use technology simply for technology’s sake; there are some times where it isn’t appropriate. We always begin with considering our teaching and learning programme, identifying the knowledge, skills, and understanding the children’s needs.”

With my training as a Connected Educator, I think I am walking a line between M and R in the daily use of technology with my class.  The goal is to keep learning.