Research shows that students today are learning in ways that they didn’t, even 10 years ago. Web 2.0 applications are no longer static, “sit ‘n’ git” situations. Web 2.0 applications are interactive, allowing for “online participation, collaboration, harnessing collective intelligence, and more. The key concepts are participation and dynamic interaction.” (Gibson 2007). For persons with disabilities, the opportunity to participate and interact are rare gifts, and truly level the playing field. Web 2.0 applications also offer the opportunity to engage students – all students, and meet their various learning needs. They are truly tools that address the principles of Universal Design for Learning.
BECTA, the ICT Training and Research Project in the UK, published a summary report that stated that Web 2.0 technologies engaged many learners who were tentative contributors in class or who had special needs , and supported learners’ natural curiosity by enabling expression through different media and a sense of audience, providing access to further resources and the ability to gain confidence and skill in speaking and presenting . Some teachers had found that Web 2.0 technologies could encourage simultaneous, learner-directed discussions which extended beyond the lesson. The ‘anytime-anywhere’ availability of Web 2.0 can also be highly motivating, and can enhance learner autonomy and encourage extended learning through open-ended tasks. Publication was felt to enhance a learner’s sense of ownership, engagement and awareness of audience . Publication online was used by some teachers as a key element in peer assessment and was found to encourage more attention to detail and improved the quality of work.
UDL calls for educators to employ three principles into their instructional strategies and materials to better meet the needs of a diversified learning community. These principles are multiple means of representation, multiple means of expression, and multiple means of engagement. [click] Multiple means of representation refers to giving students a number of ways of acquiring information. [click] Multiple means of expression refers to allowing students to demonstrate their knowledge through various means. [click] Multiple means of engagement refers to providing students with motivating ways to learn.
Many indicated that there was a tension between the collaborative learning encouraged by Web 2.0 and the nature of the current assessment system. Concerns about e-safety and strict filtering in schools could be a barrier to use. Lack of adequate bandwidth was sometimes an issue. Teachers need the support, time and space to develop skills and practices. Much of the web 2.0 activity encountered was supported by learning platforms and a ‘walled garden’ approach that addressed safety concerns, though a minority of Web 2.0-innovating schools enabled some or all of their Web 2.0 activities to be visible on the open internet. So what else is missing? How about teacher attitudes?
Some focus on the tools. Others see Web 2.0 as introducing new educational practice. Innovators focus on tools and express a sense of continuity with existing practices, rather than a radical departure from them.
As special educators we have an additional challenge. The Web 2.0 tools that have so much promise to address student learning needs are still, largely inaccessible. Many of the Web 2.0 tools are still built on Web 1.0 architecture, and the ability to make these tools accessible has not kept up with the rate of change. Fortunately, we have tools at our disposal, some free, some commercially-available, that can make these tools accessible.
The first bit of Assistive Technology that we’ll use to access Web 2.0 apps can’t get much simpler. We’re going to use switches and switch adapters or switch interfaces. A switch can offer independence to a person with a physical disability through the use of scanning (which we’ll demonstrate shortly). The switch interface simply converts the activation of the switch into any number of other key activations or mouse actions.
Perhaps this application will best demonstrate the concept of scanning. SWAY is Switch Activated YouTube. You simply create a playlist in YouTube, copy the URL, and past it into the correct field at the SWAY website. Voila! Students can control their own video viewing. Consider the amount of access that a tool like this can provide to the general curriculum (which is required by law). The Sophomore Literature class is learning about Shakespeare’s Sonnets. The student with whom you are working has difficulty reading as well as a physical disability. By finding the various Shakespearian sonnets on YouTube and utilizing this tool, I can now provide access to the general curriculum, and do so in a manner that allows access and provides independence. DEMONSTRATE SCANNING SWITCH INTERFACE SHOULD BE ON GREEN UP ARROW (1) SELECTS RIGHT ARROW (4) MOVES TO THE NEXT OPTION
Most switch adapters accept multiple switches, as is the case with this particular model. With it, I can control the different aspects of movement within Second Life. For students with physical disabilities, movement in SL can be a completely liberating experience. [Share example of Dan McNulty’s conversation with girl from India in wheelchair.]
The Hawking Toolbar was developed out of UNC-Chapel Hill and is one of my favorite add-ons for Firefox. It was developed to work with earlier versions of Firefox (pre-3.0), but with a little tweaking, will work with current versions. Because of the dynamic content of the internet, it has traditionally been impossible for a switch user to access a traditional webpage. There are software applications that would allow a user to specify “hot spots” that they could scan through, but that severely limited what they could browse on the internet. It all had to be mapped out ahead of time The Hawking Toolbar is an add-on that will emulate your navigation toolbar, as well as scan any link in the webpage, all with single or multiple switches. DEMONSTRATE WITH
An Intellikeys keyboard is an adapted or keyboard that has a variety of uses. Right out of the box, it has several overlays that students can use to control the keyboard and mouse functions of the computer. If a student simply needs larger keys or different sensitivity to touch, they can use the overlays right out of the box. This is perfect for writing on wikis, communicating via Twitter, etc. It also acts as a switch interface. However, the power of the Intellikeys isn’t unleashed until you utilize the Overlay Maker software. This allows you to customize your overlay and tailor it to your specific needs. Any keyboard command (and a few mouse commands) can be programmed into the Intellikeys keyboard, which allows the user to have great control over their web experience.
Imagine a student who has difficulty writing, videoing their responses to the homework for the day. Perhaps you’ve seen the videos and video responses to those videos on YouTube. Using a tool like video is an alternate means of having students express what they know. Imagine that on the class field trip to the museum, the class is supposed to write about 5 things they learned about medieval life. Using this technology, the student could use photo and video to provide the response to this assignment. Or perhaps they would be arranging to interview fellow classmates on camera about the aspects of the assignment.
DEMONSTRATE SL OVERLAY Studying the weather in SL.
There are a number of universally accessible software applications on the market today. When I say universally accessible, I’m referring to universal options for input (traditional keyboard, headpointer, scanning, Touch Window access, etc.). These applications can give emerging readers and writers successful reading and writing experiences utilizing the same applications as their peers. DEMONSTRATE MARISA’S WRITING ACTIVITY AND CLICKER EMAIL EXAMPLE. Both of these could lend themselves to posting on a wiki, for example. Consider students who have never been considered to be able to read or write because they’ve not been exposed to reading or writing, much less taught reading or writing. Suddenly, you are providing them with a means of beginning writing with audio feedback, symbols that they understand, and you’ve given them success. That’s going to motivate them to write more. Age-inappropriate or too basic? Do you expect a two-year old to pick up a pen or sit at a keyboard and suddenly write with proper grammar, punctuation, sentence/paragraph structure? No. We see their scribbles and praise them for pre-writing. Consider this digital pre-writing.
Whether it’s the NEO, the Writer Fusion, etc., portable word processors are a good way to offer a broad audience for student writing. Consider a classroom that only has 2 computers, and the student would like to publish their thoughts on “The Secret Life of Bees.” Using the portable word processor, they can write their thoughts down, and transfer them to the classroom blog or wiki whenever they have access to the computer. DEMONSTRATE WRITER FUSION UNDER ELMO.
Communication Devices aren’t just for verbal communication anymore. More often than not, devices that were once proprietary to the vendor and had customized hardware and software are now running off of computer platforms with software that is more readily available. I have two devices, the Vantage Plus and the Mini-Merc. The MiniMerc is running a program called Speaking Dynamically Pro that will allow a user to write, using text or symbols. That text could then be easily copied into Twitter, a wiki, and email, etc. The Vantage Plus can access the computer for writing, even though there isn’t a MS or Mac operating system onboard. This one is set up to control a video camera for purposes like we discussed with the PhotoBooth and Webcam applications earlier. DEMONSTRATE UNDER ELMO.
Using Assistive Technology to Access Web 2.0 Tools
David Hohulin, UCP of Greater Chicago – Infinitec June 17, 2010 TATN Regional Conference
http://web2.socialcomputingjournal.com/all_we_got_was_web_10_when_tim_bernerslee_actually_gave_us_w.htm What is Web 2.0?
<ul><li>Web technologies will increase 43% per year </li></ul><ul><li>Prediction: 2013 - $4.6 billion invested in Web 2.0 </li></ul><ul><li>Social Networks, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasting, RSS, Mashups, Widgets </li></ul>Forrester Research, Inc (2008) cited in http://www.ijpis.net/issues/no2_2008/IJPIS_no2_2008_p2.pdf Over the next 3 years…
<ul><li>NO MORE “Sit ‘n’ Git!” </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive </li></ul><ul><li>Allow for Online Participation </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Harnessing Collective Intelligence </li></ul><ul><li>Key Concepts: Participation and Dynamic Interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Gibson 2007 </li></ul>
<ul><li>Stimulating new modes of enquiry </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging in collaborative learning activities </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging with new literacies </li></ul><ul><li>Online publication of content . </li></ul>Web 2.0 Technologies for Learning at Key Stages 3 and 4: Summary Report, Charles Crook and Colin Harrison Four Promising Areas
<ul><li>Collaborative Learning vs. Current Assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Safety/Strict Filtering </li></ul><ul><li>Bandwidth </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher Training, Time, and Support </li></ul><ul><li>The “Walled Garden” </li></ul><ul><li>What else is missing? </li></ul>Web 2.0 Technologies for Learning at Key Stages 3 and 4: Summary Report, Charles Crook and Colin Harrison Barriers to Web 2.0
<ul><li>“ some teachers focus on the new tools, while others take a broader view and see Web 2.0 as introducing new educational practices. Innovators generally tended to focus on tools, and expressed a sense of continuity with existing practices rather than a radical departure from them .” </li></ul>Web 2.0 Technologies for Learning at Key Stages 3 and 4: Summary Report, Charles Crook and Colin Harrison
<ul><li>“ In general, Web sites are becoming more and more graphical [Zajicek, 2007], which makes it difficult for assistive technologies to extract the relevant Web page content .” </li></ul>http://www.ijpis.net/issues/no2_2008/IJPIS_no2_2008_p2.pdf
<ul><li>“… content should always be presented in text form and graphical and auditory information should only be used as an optional enhancement which enables screen readers and other assistive technologies.” </li></ul>http://www.ijpis.net/issues/no2_2008/IJPIS_no2_2008_p2.pdf
<ul><li>“ Herding a class of students down to the computer lab to watch a few catchy videos has no more learning benefit than turning a class of students onto the Internet for a half hour of random surfing . The power of YouTube only is activated when the teacher has a clear idea of how a specific video clip can be used to introduce a concept or theme, instigate a discussion, or serve as a writing prompt .” </li></ul><ul><li>Brenda Dyck </li></ul>http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/columnists/dyck/dyck016.shtml