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Constructivism and Assistive Devices in Education.

Constructivism and Assistive Devices in Education.

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Constructivism[1] Constructivism[1] Presentation Transcript

  • How DynaVox, Boardmaker, and Alpha Smart create an authentic learning experience Presented by Danielle Cothren, Jenn Decatur, Colleen Flood, and Christy Soto   Constructivism and Adaptive Technologies
  • What is constructivism?
    • Constructivism is a developmentally-appropriate, facilitator-supported approach to learning that is initiated and directed by the learner. Constructivism builds on prior experiences and knowledge.
  • Jean Piaget
    • Jean Piaget suggested that through the processes of assimilation and accommodation, individuals “construct new knowledge from their experiences”.
    • A constructivist approach to learning emphasizes authentic, challenging projects that include students, teachers, and experts in the learning community.
  • What is the purpose?
    • The goal of constructivism is to “ create learning communities that are more closely related to the collaborative practice of the real world .”
  • What role do students and educators play in the process of constructivism?
    • The nature of the student learner:
    • The role of the educator:
    • A constructivist approach considers the student as an individual learner with specific strengths and weaknesses
    • The background and culture of the learner is understood and stressed
    • The responsibility and motivation for learning should reside with the student
    • In the constructivist approach to education, the teacher acts as a “facilitator”, not a traditional “teacher”:
      • A teacher tells ; a facilitator asks
      • A teacher lectures from the front ; a facilitator supports from the back
      • A teacher gives a monologue ; a facilitator is in a continuous dialogue with the learners
  • Constructivism can be used in conjunction with assistive technologies to provide students with disabilities authentic and challenging projects , as well as allowing them to be full contributors to the learning community.
  • What are assistive technologies?
    • Assistive technologies (AT) are any items, pieces of equipment, or products that are used to increase, maintain, or improve the abilities of individuals with disabilities. ATs are becoming increasingly common in classrooms throughout the country and the world. Assistive technologies allow the student to authentically engage with assignments and projects on the same level, and in the same way, as their peers without disabilities.
  • This video introduces viewers to the concept of augmentative and alternative communication and how speech communication devices can help those challenged by significant speech disabilities to speak their minds
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eb_URYj_L_k
  • By providing students with a way to express themselves, they will be more able to engage with and direct their educational experience, which is the goal of constructivism. Three well-known ATs are Boardmaker , DynaVox , and Alpha Smart
  • What is Boardmaker?
    • Boardmaker is the preeminent tool in the field of adaptive technologies for creating visually supported materials. Boardmaker is used by educators and speech/language pathologists for creating printed classroom materials such as schedules, worksheets, reading and writing activities, game and song boards, communication boards, and books.
    • Boardmaker software is a database of graphic picture communication symbols that can be searched on the computer. The picture communication symbols used in Boardmaker represent a wide variety of nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
    • Boardmaker is typically used in conjunction with the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). The Picture Exchange Communication System was developed in 1985 as a unique augmentative/alternative training package that teaches children and adults with autism and other communication deficits to initiate communication.
  • Example of a communication book created using images from Boardmaker.
  • How does it complement constructivism?
    • Boardmaker allows the student access to countless images that they can use to communicate. The student can either hand the symbol to the communication partner or arrange the symbols to generate phrases or sentences. This gives the student the ability to fully collaborate with the facilitator and their peers, and allows them to direct and individualize their education experience.
  • What is Alpha Smart?
    • The Alpha Smart is a light weight word processor. Alpha Smart is the perfect tool for students who are working and need to avoid the distractions of a regular computer.  The screen only allows the worker to see four lines as opposed to many different tabs or windows like a computer screen.  This enables the student to focus on the task he or she is working on at the exact moment. 
    • The Alpha Smart is that it does not constantly prompt the writer to make changes or corrections.  It can make basic corrections, but the student is able to work on an assignment without being distracted by worrying about perfecting it during the rough draft. This also ensures that the work produced is that of the student, not of the machine.
    • The newest Alpha Smart tools are the Dana and Neo models.
  • The Alpha Smart “Dana” Model
  • Comparison Of the Dana and the Neo
    • Dana
    • Neo
    • The Dana system is a Palm OS device that has a touch-screen.  This feature lets the user write directly on the screen in addition to typing on the built-in, full-size keyboard
    • The Dana has a backlight on the screen.  It is also able to show complex images as opposed to simply text like the original Alpha Smarts.
    • The Dana has slots for multimedia sources such as Secure digital and other cards.   The Dana is compatible with mostly all Palm OS programs.  The Dana's screen is much larger than original Alpha Smarts, which was also a benefit for programs that had visual images.  The Dana has an option for wireless usage for internet and connecting to other Dana systems.
    • Capable of holding 200 pages of text
    • The LCD display is bigger than the Alpha Smart 3000 display and doesn't used fixed blocks so different font and sizes and graphics can be shown.   The Neo allows a user to have more control over Smart Applets and has a new version of the AlphaWord processing program.  This program provides for the resizing of documents.
    • The Neo 2 has also been released and is also a product of Renaissance Learning.  The Neo 2 has the 2Know! toolbar which allows users to have quiz functionality.  This is a great benefit because teachers can create and give students quizzes using Neo 2. 
  • How does it complement constructivism?
    • The Alpha Smart products function in a similar manner to Boardmaker; that is to say that it allows students to fully express their ideas, ask questions, and offer input. Again, students are able to demonstrate their understanding of the material, guide their learning and, perhaps most importantly, interact quickly with their peers. Alpha Smart products allow for the generation of large quantities of text, letting the student create an authentic product in a well-known and widely accepted medium. Other students, as well as facilitators, will be able to quickly and easily read and respond to the output generated by the student.
  • What is DynaVox?
    •   DynaVox is an educational computer system that was created in 1983 through Sentient Systems Technology.  This system was developed to help children and adults with speech, language, learning, and physical disabilities.  
    • A student using a DynaVox cannot generate their own speech, but the DynaVox gives them the capability to create any type of sound/voice, because of the auditory scanning system - via an automated voice - that comes with the system. The voice of someone else can also be recorded for use.
    • The DynaVox has a rubber edge with a 12 inch color touch screen.  On the touch screen, and as part of the system, there are seventy-seven buttons that have different fonts and graphics.  By pressing a button, a voice is generated that states the need, want, action, or item selected.  In each system there are a total of thirty-three hundred different symbols called the DynaSyms.  DynaSyms are pictures of things like humans, animals, nature, food, and everyday words and expression.
  • Example of DynaSyms
  • The DynaVox 3100
  • How does it complement constructivism?
    • As with Alpha Smart and Boardmaker, the DynaVox technology allows the user to participate fully in their educational experience. However, DynaVox is an even more powerful tool because it literally gives a voice to the user. Being able to respond to prompts and ask questions/give input orally allows the student using the device to truly collaborate with their peers and facilitators.
    • In conclusion, constructivism and ATs can work together to create a student-directed/driven educational experience for pupils of all abilities.