Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A Time To Explore!

I really enjoyed Nov. 7th class - as I have enjoyed the others, but this time we received the opportunity to explore our iPads and the many apps. During my work day, as a classroom and resource teacher, I rarely have the time to explore and learn. I loved having the time last Wednesday and I felt a bit more proficient with this technology. Thanks Barb - the time provided was a gift!

I'm finding this assignment very relevant to the classroom today. There are so many needs and we need to look at how we present tasks with a new lens. I'm looking forward to 'working through' this assignment.

The following quote is from the article
 sent to us:
Harnessing the Potential of Technology
to Support the Academic Success of
Diverse Students
Dave Edyburn

"Efforts to enhance the success of twenty-first-century learners will require
a fundamental shift in thinking about, and responding to, learner differences.
Rose and Meyer (2002) argue that we should not think about students as being
disabled, but rather consider the curriculum disabled, as it poses barriers to
access, engagement, and success. Tomlinson (2004) recommends thinking
about learning differences as a Mobius strip: a continuum of knowledge and
skills with no clear demarcation on the journey from the starting point as
novice and the end point as expert." Page 38.

Rose and Meyer, Tomlinson all wrote about this in 2002 and 2004. I graduated with my education degree in 2009 and do not recall having this perspective discussed. It is a very interesting approach. When I continued reading the article it reminded me of how I inquired as to whether or not our school has a cable to connect an iPad to our LCD's? This way we meet all of our learner's needs in an inclusive setting. As the article stated the "one size fits all" classroom is gone and the sooner we accept that - the better we will teach ALL learners.

The following statement is one I am not sure I agree with:
"Unfortunately, purchasing more digital whiteboards
is not likely to have the same impact as purchasing netbooks. Therefore,
administrators are advised to encourage initiatives on the learning side of
the teaching and learning equation."

I love using the smartboard, as do my students. I have been able to differentiate my instruction for its use and it allows students a break from pen and paper (traditional) and it is often a collaborative approach. I also feel it 'enhances their learning', not just 'enhancing my teaching.' I think, referring to the above quote, that both netbooks, iPads and smartboards have their place in a learning environment. I also recognize that schools and boards have diminishing budgets and that administrators do have to examine where the 'better learning' takes place.

The discussion on security versus learning makes me appreciate that our board recognized the importance for teachers to have access to youtube etc., but not the students. I have designed lessons based on youtube videos that have engaged the students and met them in 'their world.' This accomodation has been proactive and definitely used. I appreciated the closing statement:
"Such efforts must be considered strategic investments in the success of all students."

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

In lieu of class

Happy Halloween (belated) everyone,

#1   Proloquo2go follow up activity post:

Wanting to review "presuming competence" I explored another website. Check it out:

I decided to watch all three clips, they were short and offered a similar, but different approach.
I agreed with the mothers, learning support person and SLP's opinions that Proloquo2go changed the 3 children's lives. Not being able to communicate must be terrifying, at times, but also extremely frustrating. The video clips clearly showed what a difference this app made in these 3 children's lives, but for those around them too.

Ruby, an autistic girl, from Great Britain certainly spoke to the presuming competence issue. Once she had P2go to use she 'amazed' people with her knowledge that, before, she could not reveal to those around her. Ruby is now assessed on a National Curriculum Level(s). She used to hit out of frustration and that has drastically ceased, if not completely. Ruby is using her P2go at school, home and I presume everywhere. It was wonderful to observe her playing with another student and sharing (something she found difficult to do).

Max has cerebral palsy and uses his P2go at school. His SLP noted that he can spell independently and is less frustrated. Not sure if he uses it at home, but certainly seeing the joy on his face was wonderful to observe.

Nick is also autistic and his mother's recounting of his wanting pizza for supper was a special moment - he was being a typical kid. I remember when my son started walking at seven years old and quickly going through the developmental stages i.e. turning on and off the light switch - my husband and I were so excited, just like Nick's mom, because it was not expected to happen. :) many times over!

#2 Autism, the iPad and Appropriate Apps

I chose the 2 webinars on scheduling and sensory integration because of the students with ASD and for students who may 'just need' these apps due to anxiety or a variety of other reasons. I appreciated the list of apps and a description, along with the price. The webinars were very informative, easy to follow and useful for today's teacher. I will be utilizing the sensory integration tomorrow morning for a student - the timing of this was perfect!! Yeah! :) Can you feel my enthusiasm? Many students require transition times and a timed session with a variety of apps will help them manage their day. The students I am going to be using these apps for are not on IPP's, but need it to have a less stressful day. I also use the app pictured below when I'm feeling stressed and it works!

Pocket pond app photo (google images):

The scheduling webinar was very comprehensive, in that it covered many different types of schedules. Each student has their own uniqueness and the apps provided and discussed certainly can meet the individual needs in regards to scheduling. At this time the students on my caseload only need the class visual schedule, a common practice at my school. In the future I do see myself incorporating this support with students. Listening/watching the webinar I especially appreciated the high school example with the female student who was high functioning autism. I feel that sometimes we don't do enough for these students and that they may get 'overlooked' in regards to support. That simple app, added with a peer mentor made a huge difference for that high school student. Thank you Lindsay for providing this example.

The reminder app (found on google image):

To view these webinars and others, just go to this link. The webinars are free and the only request is to complete a quick survey upon completion:   http://assist-tech.ednet.ns.ca/Assistive_Technology_Centre/SSRSB.html

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Proloquo2go from different perspectives

Assignment #1 Presentation Night

6 distinct presentations on 2 case studies - your choice. It was very interesting, well done and lots of information sharing! The best kind of presentations!

I enjoyed seeing skype used for one of the presentations. I have never had the opportunity to use this type of technology, but I assume that soon it will be the norm. Observing the differences, for two different studies, was very helpful and provided a lot of reflective material. For example, writing the whole sentence versus a word for the cell, the speed of the speech, voice chosen, different colours, size of cells, layers of folders and buttons. The explanations of why something was used and the ensuing discussions will aid me in the future to plan for students and their communication plans.

The added perk to this course night was exploring different book apps. I have used pictello to create a social story with a student with autism (high functioning) and it was easy to use and the student really enjoyed it. I liked how book writer could be viewed on so many technologies.

Our Quest for Christian to be able to communicate

So on Wed. Oct. 10 we mapped out Christian's basic communication plan. On Wed. Oct. 17th we got to play, oops I mean work on Proloquo2go. I must say, it was fun to look up images to use in the various cell(s). :)

Reciprocity was my challenge and it is so important! I'm blogging this to firmly 'cement' this in my mind and to have a reference for when I have a student that requires this app. As I mentioned before there are several students who may, eventually, be on my caseload .and will most likely be using this app or an improved version.

Proloquo2go was very user friendly and it was easy to focus on Christian's communication versus the technology. Now that ipods and iPads are becoming so popular, seeing someone holding one is not abnormal, but becoming the norm - yeah for students/people who require it to communicate.

Working with Bill on this assignment demonstrated the need for a team approach. Having someone to 'bounce off'' ideas was very important. Also, it was crucial to have Bill to discuss what would motivate Christian and his communication partner(s) to utilize this app. I once worked with a student who exhibited frustration from the lack of ability to communicate, but unfortunately the home component (communication partner) did not participate with the modality provided - this is unfortunate.

Proloquo2go: experience a whole new way to communicate!

On Wednesday, October 17th our class was thoroughly introduced to Proloquo2go!

Bill and I partnered up for assignment #1 and as we explored the program we couldn't help ourselves - we digressed onto students at our school who could or will eventually benefit from this app.
We did 'map out' our case study and felt ready for the next week: putting our new app to the task of programming a new way for Christian (our case study) to better communicate with his world.

Our focus was on Christian's needs, wants, knowledge of his interests and information transfer. I found myself having to remember to include social closeness and etiquette - a very important component in communication. Doing the groundwork first, prior to using the app, proved to be a good thing!

"Proloquo, which means “speak out loud” in Latin and was created by AssistiveWare in April 2009" and the following link, where I copied and pasted the origin of the word, was an interesting read:

The short video clip, included in the article, had a touching testimony re: having childrens' voices.

I found this picture on google image and added it here to show how unintrusive this communication device can be and how 'normal' it looks.