Saturday, 15 December 2012

Course Summary

This course has truly been an amazing journey.  It has opened my eyes to the power of assistive technology in allowing accessibility to learning for ALL students in today's classrooms and beyond. 

I remember when the first iPad was launched and the words out of my mouth were "Why would someone want to buy a smaller version of a macbook?"  This course has taught me why:

1. iBooks Textbooks:  Today's students have grown up completely immersed in technology.  They need a textbook made for the way they learn.  iBooks textbooks allow students to dive into learning with interactive captions and images, speak selection, 3D graphics and more. 

2. iPad Apps:  iPad apps are expanding the learning experience both inside and outside the classroom.  From interactive lessons to study aids to productivity tools, there's an app for every learner.  Some of the powerful apps that we have been introduced to in the course include Proloquo2Go, Pic Collage, iWordQ, iMovie and Book Creator. 

3.  Apple TV:  With video mirroring, the iPad allows students and teachers to easily share their content with a classroom of students. 

4.  iPad Accessibility Options:  The iPad comes with built in accessibility options that give all students easier access to the curriculum.  These options include: voiceover, zoom, inversion of colours, tactile buttons, speak selection and dictation.  

5.  Affordability:  Never has their been an instrument that has made Assistive Technology so affordable for learners.  

6.  Portability:  The iPad is lightweight, can be easily carried from class to class, and weighs from 0.68 to 1.5 lbs.  

7.  Independence:  The features of the iPad allow ALL students to be independent learners  in the classroom. 

I leave you with this quote that I posted on my very first blog entry: 

"For people without disabilities, technology makes things easier.  For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible"

Compelling Case Studies

On our last day of class, we presented our case studies about utilizing assistive technologies to help struggling students achieve specific learning goals.  I was once again blown away by the power of AT and its promotion of independence in the classroom!

Darci's Case Study:  It was amazing to see how the portability and built in features of the iPad enable this struggling student to reach her curriculum goals.  She no longer has to transport bulky pieces of paper with extremely large font through the halls of school, but is now able to carry a small trendy iPad and use the zoom feature to make the text on any document the optimal size for reading.  Amazing!

Emily's Case Study:  I loved how the app EDU Creations allowed this student to share her stories with her teachers and peers using her voice and pictures.  Heartwarming!

Stephanie's Case Study:  It was fantastic to see how Co-Writer has allowed this student to write fantastic Star Trek stories with ease.  He truly is an author!

Ann's Case Study:  I loved how the use of technology has had a direct impact on this students confidence.   Assistive technology has allowed this student to view himself as a successful learner.

Francine's Case Study:  It was amazing to see how AT gave this student a voice both at school and at home.  What an uplifting story of child who can now communicate with his family using the iPad and Proloquo2Go.  

Janet's Case Study:  Talk about engagement!  It was fantastic to hear about a student, once disengaged from the classroom, now completely engaged through the use of technology.  The app iMove allowed this student to successfully complete his book report on the Hunger Games.  Fantastic!

Isaac's Case Study:  I loved the idea of using ComicLife for Social Stories!

Traci's Case Study:  It was fantastic to see how AT can be incorporated in Levelled Literacy Intervention to help our struggling readers and writers.  I really liked the idea of using a sand tray and the Wet, Dry, Try App to help students learn and remember those very important high frequency words.  Great!

Scott's Case Study:  I really liked the idea of using the PicCollage App as a graphic organizer for writing.  What a great way for this student to organize her writing ideas on Guinea Pigs.  I also enjoyed how you introduced this student to different apps that would allow her to use the speak selection option on the iPad to learn about guinea pigs (e.g., the GuineaPedia and Britannica Kids App).  Great use of AT!

Great work everyone!!!!

Grade 6 Presentations

On the eleventh day of class, we had the amazing opportunity to experience a number of presentations developed by Grade 6 students on the effectiveness of the iPad as a learning tool.  

It was fantastic to see how engaged and knowledgable the students were when presenting the capabilities of the iPad.  They demonstrated how the iPad could be used across all curriculum areas to achieve the outcomes in a way that is fun, engaging and accessible to all. 

I love how the iPad is changing our classrooms into classrooms where everyone has the potential to succeed.  They inspire creative and hands-on learning and let students engage with content in interactive ways, find information in an instant, and access an entire library wherever they go.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Homemade AT

1. Tape -  Tape can be used for the stabilization of materials.  Simply tape the paper to the work surface to keep it from sliding around for children who have trouble holding the paper with one hand while writing with the other. 

2.  Cereal Box Lid - A cereal box lid can be used as a slant board or inclined surface.  Simply cut to an angle. 

3.  Glue Sticks and an Elastic Band - Glue sticks and an elastic band can be used to make a T-shaped grip.

4.  Gloves - A glove can be used for finger isolation to avoid accidental hits on the iPad. 

5.  Crayola Model Magic - Model Magic can be used to make gripping pencils and paint brushes easier. 

6.  Clear Coloured Divider - A clear coloured divider can be used as an overlay for reading. 

7.  Cutting Board - A cutting board can be used as a communication board. 

8.  Egg Carton - An egg carton can be used as a card holder for kids with physical disabilities. 

9.  Tennis Ball - A tennis ball can be used as a pencil grip. 

10.  Plastic Ring - A plastic ring can be used to modify a mouse.