Thursday, December 17, 2009

Animoto Spot

Here is a spot my students created last spring to advertise motor scooters to young adult males.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Module #5: Curriculum Connections & Recommended Reading

I really liked learning about assisted technology. I hate to say this, but I never thought about it before. I really liked thinking about the needs of a specific group and how can this library help them achieve their goals. I have already recommended this tutorial to our Academic Technology Committee and several members think this is a great way to expand our technology curriculum. We will definitely add these books to our professional development collection.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Module 4 Etiquette

I finished the etiquette survey and did pretty well. I can't say I've had too many interactions with people with disabilities but I'd like to think I would respond to any situation in a respectful way.

There is an independent living facility not far from where I live called Devereux Pocono center. People with disabilities stamp golf balls with company names and get paid minimum wage to do it. It gives the clients an opportunity to get paid for a job well done. They also live close to the center, many in their own apartments. I think this is a fabulous place and the clients seem very happy there.

The following is the list of 5 assistive technology websites:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Module 3: Software

Software: I actually did look at the software for this project and based my hardware choices on the software. Now that I think about it - choosing software first would have made more sense. I did agree with Dr. Farmer's feedback on defining my core group better in my needs statement so I revised that on the software section as well as how these items would be used to help this group of students. I develop all my rubrics in Rubistar and developed one for my software project that I posted on this week's discussion board.

The software downloads from this module were very interesting and easy to use. I really liked Inspiration. I played with some mind maps last year thinking that my students would really like them. I downloaded a free copy of Buzan's Mindmapping Software. I thought this would work for my students but their eyes just got glazy over it. I think that if it's not like Google or Wikipedia (Good, fast, cheap) and requires more than one or two clicks, most students don't want to have anything to do with it. I think there are some students who get a lot out of this software but they really like computers and aren't overwhelmed by work. I do think this is a great tool for a whole group project that might include the teacher to implement it. A more student interactive tool that is kind of like this is voicethread.

I can't say I thought a lot about disabled student before this project because our school just doesn't accomodate them. I think they should and as a member of the Academic Technology Committee at my school I will recommend this. I think this whole section has expanded my thinking about accomodating all kinds of learners and I've looked at my own students in a different way because of it.


Odin Chapter 2: Last week there was a great overview chapter about hardware. My library's policy about hardware is that it needs to be flexible. Most of our computers are laptops for this reason. We have 30 Macbooks and 10 stationary i-Macs. We do this so we can keep our library program flexible in terms of students working in groups and utilize all our classroom spaces, which in some cases, can not hold stationary computers. I should have made this clear in my Hardware selection process that laptops are often used on the library floor by individual students. Unfortunately we do not have administrative rights over these computers which is a problem we are currently fighting but it was validating to see it in this textbook. This week it was again a great overview chapter about software. Our software choices are driven by the curriculum so we have Microsoft Office installed on all computers. Unfortuanately, Office was designed for PCs and there are often problems associated with it being installed on Macs. Administrative rights to all computers would help this problem also.

Chapter 9: I have never worked in an unautomated library so I wouldn't begin to understand the issues associated with it. However, my son's school has an unautomated collection and the school decided to go with a web-based automation system. I have recommended that a friend who is a librarian work with the school as she has the time to devote to the project. We recently upgraded to TLC which I think was a 50,000 dollar mistake as it is a program designed for public libraries and we are a 1,000 member student population. I liked this chapter because it made me aware of all this issues a librarian needs to think about before deciding on an automation system and I wish my head librarian would have read it before she spent the money on TLC.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Module 2: Hardware

I think it's amazing what technologies are available today! I think it's great that more and more we as a human race can see past people's disabilities and they can become amazing artists, scientists, or whatever they capable of.

I really liked enable mart and found a lot of great things that I used just a few of for my hardware selection. We have a certain percentage of students who become temporarily disabled - mostly due to sports injuries - that we do not accommodate at my school. Since we can apply for limited funding I used something the library could realistically acquire to help these kids for my hardware plan.

Some of the scenarios we deal with are students with learning disabilities and some of the hardware we have bought are playaways so certain students can read while they are listening to books. We do have some students and faculty with vision impairment. We do show them how to enlarge the text on screens so it's easier to read. Currently we do not have an elevator in the library so no student in a wheelchair could get to our library, but if someone were able to get to get up the stairs, our computer workstations are wheelchair accessible.

One of the bad things about my school is that we don't have a technology plan. We are currently working on one but the committee has just been formed.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week 10: Types of Disabilites, Accomodations and Readings

Types of Disabilites & Accomodations: I really liked the video about down syndrome. As a niece of a high functioning uncle who is MR, I can appreciate how many things people with MR can do. He worked his entire life and bought himself a new car every 7 years and was involved with Kiwanis and the Lions club in his community. I do wonder what he could have learned if technology was around when he was younger. Unfortunately, he is currently dying of cancer at the age of 76.

Spinal cord injuries got a lot of press with Christopher Reeve's disability. At my school we do not accomodate people in wheelchairs. There is no elevator. I often ponder what if the next Stephen Hawking wanted to go to our school we would have to turn him away.

My sister has MS and was diagnosed at 23. At 30 she has already had related health issues and is deteriorating. It's still hard for her to accept she has an illnesss she has to manage at such a young age.

We do accomodate learning disabilites at our school and have a wonderful teacher who handles developing IPs for each individual student who needs one. It includes more time on tests and specific tutoring.

Vision difficulties are something I think we could accomodate more at my school especially in the library with technology. We currently have all our signs in braille but do not have any books. We would have to interlibrary loan them.

Reading: I liked Odin's chapter. I have written many proposals and I am excited about writing this Technology Plan because it reminds me of the RFPs I've written in the past. I have collected a lot of data about what teachers and departments come into the library but not a lot on how technology is used by those students who need accomodations. I think I will add this to my current data collection list.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Week 9: Podcasts, E-Books and Audiobooks, Readings and Summary

Thing #21: I looked at and found a podcast from one of my favorite personal finance gurus, Dave Ramsey. I signed up for an account and added a widget to my bookmarks. I am a huge i-tunes fan and like to buy one song at a time and also listen to podcasts from the Breadloaf conferences from Middlebury College.

We use podcasts quite a bit as part of our curriculum in our school. One of my favorite projects is an English Class project that includes the students reading the stories they have just written.

Thing #22: Ebooks and audiobooks have come up as a discussion topic for me a lot lately. I work in a private school but work-out with teachers from various public schools in the area. One local public high school is going to move to an all e-book textbook format when they build their new high school that is slated to be completed by 2012. There is a private school in Massachussets that has eliminated it's entire book collection and is moving entirely to e-books and kindle. This has been a huge debate on Independent School Technolgy listserves.

I have mixed feelings about both these proposals. I do like using e-books and audio books but I guess the way I was taught as a kid or my own learning style prevents me from really retaining information I read on a screen. I can read short articles or emails and retain it but have problems when I have to read large chapters. I do thinks some students are like that as well. When I teach research classes and inundate students with options for using books, databases, or qualified web sites, some kids will just gravitate towards books. I think this observation is interesting and therefore think that e-books and audiobooks are part of the ever expanding options for students but will never replace books entirely.

I love project Gutenburg and we have a project here that requires students to write an "odyssey" referencing books that were published 100 years or more. I tell my kids to go there all the time. I looked at "Best Places to Get Free Books,"and
LibriVox but didn't find anything I was interested in. I was looking for the "Epic of Gilgamesh" and did find it through my local library's catalog as an audiobook.

Thing #23: I have to say I think this is a great program and have recommended it to our technology integration director at school. I think it would be a good way for teachers who are not familiar with technology to get a handle on 2.0.

Reading: The most fascinating part of the chapter for me in Courtney about podcasting was the Legal Issues section. I think the fact that podcasting does not require a FCC license opens up all kinds of issues both good and bad. The good issues are based in the idea that there is an opportunity to provide all kinds of content, but there are also negative sides to open content. I do agree that if librarians are in doubt about the content of a podcst, "Legal advice should be consulted." (Courtney, 43).

Summary: My favorite things were the visual ideas like flixter and LTC. I think the program filled in a lot of gaps for me in terms of understanding different 2.0 options for use in the classroom. Some things I did not know very much about and other things I knew about but could not see their applications to classroom learning. One sentence I would use to describe this program would be, "A comprehensive, clear, tool for learning important 2.0 technologies and how to use them for classroom learning."