Harry Potter

Harry Potter
Even the world's best super spy needs a little help from assistive tech!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Last Post...or is it?

Well, here we are. The last night of class. It's been a long, strange trip down the rabbit hole of assistive tech but one that I am so glad I went on.

Tonight we had the rest of the case studies. Once again I was struck by how much technology can be a transformative process for these students. Trisha's student, S said that she was so excited to use the tech, that she didn't get frustrated. What a comment! I have loads of students that I see everyday that get frustrated for one reason or another and who could really use a boost in their learning. Ann's student Jaden was very informative as well, especially when she mentioned that he was an optimal learner as soon as he had the Ipad in his hand. It's not that surprising. My 2 year old nephew can use my IPod to find the music he likes now! It's all rote memory for him of course, but he knows which pretty picture to touch!

And Jack's story! Well don't get me started on that. The fact that his Mom was a little bit clueless when it came to his use of Proloquo to go at home but the brother understood it! Well, the group had tears in their eyes. Or at least I did.

The presentation on James was excellent as well, not in the least because he'll be my with me next year. It's good to see a student who has used the tech successfully to be more independently engaged in his own learning. Once again the word "engaged" was said at least 15 times in the presentation. That seems to be the key word tonight. That is what the new AT  and the Apps that students and teachers are using are helping them with and it's what all students need. We really need to get on top of this and make sure that all teachers are at least willing to embrace the new technology that we have and not get caught up in what we are "loosing". Education moves on people! Deal with it!

I took this class to begin because I didn't really know what was out there for students that was new and exciting and man oh man! Did this course deliver! There was so much to learn and know, but surprisingly it was all on one or two devices instead of the 12-13 that I remember using before I left for England. It makes it far more user friendly for me and therefore the kids as well. I am in a different role this year not being in the classroom proper, so I am really missing the chance to use my new found skills on a whole group of kids in a curriculum way. That's another reason for my purchase of the IPad mini. I can work on that in smaller classes and on an individual basis and get to know the Apps I will need when I go back into the classroom in a few years. And then, pass on those skills to the classroom teachers.

I'm not sure if I am going to keep this blog going or rename it and keep it going. I've enjoyed having a place to talk to whoever wants to hear my random thoughts on this course and every other random thought I have. I'll have to see if any random thoughts make their way into my brain. No promises about that though.

Thanks Barb for opening my eyes to a whole new world of AT and UDL and everything! I can't wait to help more students and teachers in the new year.

Case Study Night 1!

It's amazing to me that there are so many students in our board who are using or are in need of AT. Especially for the elementary students where understanding the basic skills of decoding and comprehension, number and word sense and sounds. I have a 9 year old nephew who is so excited about the idea that I might buy an IPad mini and is busy looking at the games that he can download. Little does he know that I am busy looking for educational apps for him to try instead...

I think that the presentation that Stephanie did on "Paul" was so fantastic. The world is truly becoming a smaller world with the tech we are using and if it can help someone like Paul to be happier and more successful even under the circumstances that life has given him.

The second part of the evening was really cool too. I loved the Apps that the students were demonstrating and how excited they were about them. The parents were excited as well, some were a little confused or looked overwhelmed but that's to be expected I suppose. We all feel that way as well and we are using it everyday!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Assistive tech shopping spree!

So as I was doing some Christmas shopping on Friday, I thought I'd combine that with Barb's second assignment of finding low tech for use in the classroom. I'm not going to lie and say I thought all this up as I was going through the dollar store. I asked the students I work with and other teachers and here is what we came up with. Please forgive the google images, my camera was left at school and the camera on my phone is awful.

Darcie's Top 10 Low Tech ideas:

1. Abacus!
My nephew has one of these and it really helped him with the number concepts he was just not getting at school.

2. Graph paper
To help line up Math problems or write in English class, you can even use a permanent marker to make the lines darker and easier to see.

3. Earplugs
This can really help to provide a low sensory environment for some students.

4.  Wrist Weight
Helps lessen the involuntary movements

5. Post It Notes
I use these all the time for my more visual kids and those with ADHD as the colours help them to focus somehow.

6. Stencils for tracing letters
I think this one is self explanatory...

7. Masking Tape
This has so many uses! As a number line at the top of the desk, sentence starters during English...and did you know that it now comes in different colours?

8. Book Holders
I use mine when I am baking, but for kids who have gross and fine motor control issues, this is a great help.

9. Foam shapes, paper clips and magnets
Glue these to the corner of the pages of books to help the students turn the pages!

10. Small soft toy or stress ball
This was a suggestion from one of my students who has a lot of anxiety. She said that when she feels herself getting a little stressed, she can pet this or squeeze the ball and it calms her down.

Obviously, there are lots more! I can't wait to read the other blogs to see what everyone else came up with!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Snow day and assistive tech!

Snow day, snow day, snow day! Barb tried t be nice and help those of us who have long way to drive seeing as how their was an impending snow-pocalypse on the way...which was non existent but the thought was a nice one!

In my search of the web, here are the models that I found that seem to be these ones:

1. SETT (student, environment, task, tools)
The student (learner)
  • What is the functional area(s) of concern? What does the student need to be able to do that is difficult or impossible to do independently at this time?
  • Special needs (related to area of concern)
  • Current abilities (related to area of concern)
The environment
  • Arrangement (instructional, physical)
  • Support (available to both the student and the staff)
  • Materials and equipment (commonly used by others in the environments)
  • Access issues (technological, physical, instructional)
  • Attitudes and expectations (staff, family, employees, others)
The tasks
  • What specific tasks occur in learners' natural environments that enable progress toward mastery of their goals and objectives?
  • What specific tasks are required for active involvement in identified environments (related to communication, instruction, participation, productivity, environmental control)?
The tools
In the SETT Framework, tools include devices, services and strategies; everything needed to help learners succeed. Analyze the information gathered to address the following questions and activities.
  • Is it expected that the learner will not be able to make reasonable progress towards his/her goals without assistive technology devices and services?
  • If yes, describe what a useful system of assistive technology devices and services for the learner would be like.
  • Brainstorm tools that could be included in a system that addresses learner needs.
  • Select the most promising tools for trials in the natural environments.
  • Plan the specifics of the trial (expected changes, when/how tools will be used, cues, etc.)
  • Collect data on effectiveness.
- the do-er, the operator - underlying abilities (sensory input, central processing and motor output) - need to take into consideration the person’s skills and abilities ability – basic training of a person, what he brings to a new task
skill – a level of proficiency
- 3 basic performance areas: self-care, work/school, play/leisure - the activities an individual performs are determined by that person’s life role(s) - activities can be broken down into smaller tasks ... need to know what these are ... helps determine points at which an individual may need assistance to accomplish activity
where the activity is being performed - setting (environment) - social context (e.g. with peers, strangers, family) - cultural context (influences social s context) ... will talk about the influence of culture on AT later - physical context (e.g. light, temperature, sound)
The AT
provide basis that allows human performance to improve

3. MTP (matching person and tech)

The Matching Person & Technology Model organizes influences on the successful use of a variety of technologies: assistive technology, educational technology, and those used in the workplace, school, home; for healthcare, for mobility and performing daily activities. Specialized devices for hearing loss, speech, eyesight and cognition as well as general or everyday technologies are also included.Research shows that although a technology may appear perfect for a given need, it may be used inappropriately or even go unused when critical personality preferences, psychosocial characteristics or needed environmental support are not considered.

 The Matching Person and Technology Model is operationalized by a series of reliable and valid measures that provide a person-centered and individualized approach to matching individuals with the most appropriate technologies for their use. The Matching Person & Technology Model and measures were developed by Marcia J. Scherer, Ph.D. beginning in 1986.

MPT process with accompanying assessment measures
  • Initial Worksheet for the Matching Person and Technology (MPT) Model -- to determine initial goals, potential interventions, and technologies needed to support attainment of the goals.
  • History of Support Use -- identifies supports used in the past and satisfaction with those supports.
  • Specific technology matching:
    • General -- survey of technology use
    • Assistive -- assistive technology device predisposition assessment, cognitive support technology predisposition assessment and hearing technology predisposition assessment
    • Educational -- educational technology device predisposition assessment
    • Workplace -- workplace technology device predisposition assessment
    • Healthcare -- healthcare technology device predisposition assessment
  • Follow-up versions of the measures to determine degree of use, comparison of expected benefit and realization of benefit and change in functioning and subjective well-being.
And finally,

4. LAP 
Primarily for those with more severe disabilities, it is more of a team based approach based on a collection of observations on the following categories:
  • Physical Resources
  • Cognitive Resources
  • Emotional Resources
  • Support Resources
  • Environmental Analysis

There sure is a lot more to this whole process than you would think. I find that a lot of teachers assume that the assessment is something that isn't that strenuous and then the kid gets an IPad...

They all need to read this blog.

This is the link to the really great power point that set me off on my quest for knowledge  this week.