WebQuest Assistive Technology Activity By Constance Moore
As teachers in today’s classroom, we are faced with the challenge to reach a set of diverse classroom learners. The word “diverse” can be used to describe students with different backgrounds, learning styles, and ability levels. Creating a learning environment that allows access for all students is not a choice, but is mandated by law for our students who are considered to have special needs or disabilities. Overview
Legislation that addresses this mandate is the following: Education for All Handicapped Children (EHA Act of 1975) was created to ensure that students with disabilities receive an appropriate public education. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 reauthorized the original law with expansions to emphasize access to the general education curriculum for all students with disabilities from the time they are born until they graduate from school.
Technology Act for Individuals with Disabilities (Tech Act of 1988) was designed to enhance the availability and quality of assistive technology devices and services to individuals and their families. The above mentioned legislation makes it imperative for teachers to be aware of assistive technologies that are available to aid their students in achieving learning goals as well as strategies to help the learner experience success despite their disabilitity.
Inclusion Setting– Basically, students are included in the mainstream classroom and have access to general education curriculum. Collaborative Setting –Students are included in the mainstream classroom having access to general education curriculum and two educators. One teacher is the regular education teacher, and the other is a special education teacher. Para-pros may or may not be in the setting. It depends on the students Individual Education Plan (IEP). Today’s legislation promotes the least restrictive environment which is one that has full access to the general curriculum. Definitions to Know
Low Tech: Require little or no training to use. Examples are calculators, spell checkers, timers, talking picture frames etc… Mid Tech: Assistive technologies that use some form of power source and may require initial training for use such as tape recorders, CD players, portable word processors, leveled augmentative communication devices, and talking dictionaries Types of Assistive Technologies
Identifying the assistive technology to utilize to support a child’s learning should be a team process. Interests, abilities, and needs of the child should be considered. Time must also be given to observe and evaluate the assistive technology to determine effectiveness. Selecting assistive technology interventions is an ongoing process that should center around helping students with challenges achieve their learning goals. Final Note
High Technology: Assistive Technologies that are more complex and expensive. These are high tech multifunctional tools often can be customized to meet individual needs and may require extensive training such as computers, computerized voice-output devices, environmental controls, and software programs.
http://www.ericdigests.org/20031/assistive.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assistive_technology http://www.1donline.org/article/8088 Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2010). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, U.S. References
Introduction: My scenario is based on one of my own classes. I am a seventh grade middle school teacher who has one inclusion class. This particular class has one regular education teacher and one para-professional. I have three students that have severe reading problems. I also have one student that struggles with writing. In addition, I have one student with extreme ADHD. Moreover, I have five Quest students, and most of the remaining learners are average to low average. What resources do I have in order to help me meet my students’ needs? Learning Scenario
Currently, I have been following the IEP’s, individual education plans, that have been written for my students with disabilities. Primarily, students have their tests read to them in a small group by the para-professional. Our school does have a computer software, “Read Aloud” program. My tests are scanned into the computer program, and students put on headphones to hear the test read to them. Learning Scenario Continued
I use the Read Aloud software for struggling readers who are not in the class with my parapro. We also have another reading software program that has been installed on most classroom computers. This program is suppose to read highlighted passages on the classroom computer that could be projected on the smart board. Teachers haven’t had a lot of training on this particular program. So, I am not currently using that. Learning Scenario Continued
Regarding struggling writers, notes are provided for those students. Students can also complete writing assignments on word processors. As for as ADHD, I try to utilize the smart board to provide graphic organizers of notes and content, video clips, review games that can be manipulated to maintain focus. Quest students and other students have access to the smart board to present extra credit projects. Many of the students enjoy creating extra credit power points and glosters to teach the class about topics that interest students. Learning Scenario Continued
I feel that I am trying to meet the needs of a diverse classroom of learners. However, there is so much of there to learn and discover. Certainly, technology changes everyday. One has to stay abreast to the latest assistive technology tools that are out there to help students achieve their learning goals on a continual basis. Constance Moore Final Thoughts