Friday, 14 December 2012

December 12, 2012 - Last Class

December 12, 2012

Last class, as Metallica says “Sad But True”.  Our class consisted of the rest of the class presenting their case studies, including myself. First up was Trisha. She presented about a grade 3, female student.  The student loves technology, is a positive learner but struggles with reading and writing. I like how Trisha was able to implement AT support for the student in the classroom and in the Learning Centre. The difference between her writing before AT support and after was unbelievable. The App, iWordQ, was most powerful for the student. Loved it!!  Great job Trisha, you are making a huge difference in this students’ life, now and in her future.  The second presentation was by Ann. I was truly moved by Jaden’s story.  For a young boy to have gone through so much in his life already and be so strong is a true testament of his will, strength, his parents love and support and of course his teachers guidance. Jaden is a hard worker, a visual kinesthetic learner and needs repetition to aid him to learn.  He loves the iPad and does very well with using this AT.  The difference in his writing when using Co-Writer was amazing. I admire this boy’s strength in every way. Ann, you are doing an amazing job with Jaden. You can tell, by the video, how much he respects and looks up to you by the way he responded and look at the camera. J  The next presentation was by Francine. She presented about a grade 1 student, named Jack, who shows signs of Autism. Francine’s Case Study was different in that she provided the AT support at home. A very moving, heart warming and emotional presentation in seeing how much the iPad and Proloque2go has impacted this boys life. Something that might never had happened if it was not for Francine. You have impacted Jack’s life in immeasurable ways. Communication is so important for all individuals and you have been a huge part in providing the means for Jack to communicate his needs and wants. WOW!!!  Awesome job Francine!   The next Case Study presentation was by Janet, who discussed her involvement with J. It was very interesting to listen to Janet, who is a principal, describe how she was able to provide support for J in the school setting. I admire how Janet is able to connect to J, not only through AT, but through building a relationship with the student. The iMovie trailer was really cool to see. It really displayed J’s personality and his imagination. Loved it!!  The students at your school, Janet, are very lucky to have you as an administrator.  The next Case Study presentation was by Isaac. His presentation of A was very powerful. A is a 13 year old, non verbal student with high sensory needs. The amount of time, energy and patience that Isaac displays through his Case Study and in person is one of a kind. The communication piece which Isaac discussed is so important in A’s life. Isaac has done a great job understanding A in great depth. In my opinion, this knowledge is the main reason A is having so much success in the school setting.  The sensory piece involved in A’s daily routine at school is critical to his success. The swing may be the most important piece of assistive support he has in his daily schedule.  Great job Isaac!!  The next Case study was by Traci. Her presentation was unique in that it involved a group of students in the Early Literacy Program, LLI. I have had some experience with the program, being trained in the past. The level of knowledge it takes to run the program effectively is immense. It was evident that Traci has put a lot of time and energy into the program. She has provided amazing support through various AT to engage the students who have been struggling focusing during the lessons.  The iPad can definitely be a useful device to have in the LLI program. Really enjoyed Traci’s case study. J
I presented last and felt the Case study was a success because it has become clearer to me where we need to go in the future with Ziggy. Even though our team has incorporated AT into her daily life at school, the next step is to be more specific with the direction we are taking in regards of her writing. I am excited to take that next step with Ziggy.  Overall, I really enjoyed all the Case Study presentations. I learned a lot from all the presenters, thank you all!!!

When I reflect on the last 3 months of this course and the journey I have taken through Assistive Technology,   feel very lucky and enlightened. I had taken this course in 2007 and it is hard to believe, in some regards, how much technology has changed in only 5 years. During the first few classes there were many new elements of AT that were not even discussed last time. Most of this centers around the Apple devices of iPad, iPod and now the iPad mini. We discussed many Apps, such as iMovie (also on Mac computers), Book Creator, Proloque2Go and many others. We learned about the convergence of technology in regards to the Apple devices. We were also able to learn about presuming competence. Very enlightening! The Universal Design for Learning was taught and really made me more aware of my teaching in school. Using this design is critical to the success for all of our students in our schools. In class we had two class projects, with a partner to present. It was awesome to have this experience, what a way to learn – hands on with the technology we are using with our students. The Assistive Tech. models were researched, which made me more aware of the depth the evaluation of the students and their needs – the technology needs to match the student.  The class had the opportunity to see AT in action with a field trip to view Grade 6 AT projects. This might have been the coolest part of the course. Loved it!!  We ended with all of our Case Studies, all were truly inspiring and very well done.
Thank you to all of my classmates, to Anita and Barb for a great few months. I learned so much in a very short period of time. I will miss coming to class this Wednesday night. :(     
Happy Holidays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

December 5, 2012 - Presentations

December 5, 2012

This was the first night for the class to present their individual projects/case studies.  We also had the opportunity to visit the grade 6 presentations and their use of technology in school.  The first 3 presentations were by Darcie, Emily and Stephanie.  The student Darcie described, Mary, is in grade 10 and has a vision impairment. Mary is a strong advocate for herself. In the past she had used such technology as Kurzweil. Her newer AT centered around an iPad and the various apps that can used to aid her in school. Mary is able to use the Iscan app to scan documents for her to read and enlarge. Overall, the iPad device seems to be the now and future device for Mary to use. It is a mainstreamed device so Mary will feel comfortable using a device as many other students use, just in a different way. I found the presentation by Darcie excellent, with lots of energy and knowledge of her student. I also enjoy learning how AT is working for students in high school opposed to my setting of elementary school.  The next presentation was by Emily.  Emily presented a case study about a grade 3 student - named E. E loves arts and crafts and enjoys using the iPod. Her AT assessment recommended Clicker 5, Razkids and the iPod touch with various Apps. Emily discussed how E was using some of the Apps in school to aid her in the school setting. I could relate to Emily and her experiences with using various technology, finding out which ones work and which ones are not optimal for the student. I have found at the elementary level that there is a time period where the student is learning how to use the technology and then using the technology to learn. During that process it can be interesting depending on the student, their capabilities and their behaviour. I really enjoyed Emily's presentation. :)  The last presentation of the evening was by Stephanie. Stephanie's case study was about a man named Paul. Paul is a 25 year old male who is in an adult facility that Stephanie works at. He has epilepsy and has seizures. These seizures are lessening his cognitive abilities after each one. Stephanie has been working with Paul since 2005. Paul is a huge fan of Star Trek and considers himself an author.  Paul use to lie in bed for most of the day. Now he is using the computer and the iPad. Stephanie has done a great job matching the technology to her user. I loved the visuals used for Paul for him to gain independence when using the computer and the iPad. Similar to the first presentation I found it really interesting learning about an older student (adult) using technology to aid them in everyday life.  Way to go Stephanie!!  Great presentation :)  After the presentations we were lucky to have the opportunity to participate in the viewing of the Grade 6 students and their use of iPads in their classrooms. I found all of the presentations really interesting, particularly the ones done by students that I had the privileged to work with last year.  It was great to see the use of the iPads being used to the fullest by the grade 6 team for their students. I always find it so amazing how much students grow in their use and knowledge of technology from elementary school to the middle school setting. It is an amazing journey they are continuing for the rest of their lives.  Awesome!!!


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

November 28, 2012 - Assignment in Lieu of Class Cancellation

November 28, 2012

This week's class was cancelled and we were asked to discuss various models of Assistive Technology Assessment. Here are a few that I was able to find:

Models for Assistive Technology

1) Model Name: The Human Activity Assistive Technology (HATT) Model
Authors: A. M. Cook & S. M. Hussey
General model for an AT system. Shows the interrelationship between system components.
Human Performance Model Bailey (1989) was developed by human factors engineers and psychologists ... to assist in the design and application of technology. Framework for studying human performance in tasks involving technology.
Typically used to describe the performance of a human in a given task (activity) in a given situation (context – environment).

2)  Model Name: The SETT Framework Author: Joy Zabala
The SETT Framework was designed to aid the process of gathering, organizing, and analyzing data to inform collaborative problem solving and decision-making regarding assistive technology and appropriate educational programming for students with disabilities. Information is gathered concerning the Student’s abilities and needs, the Environment(s) in which the student navigates, the Tasks required for the student’s active participa- tion in the activities within the environment, and finally, the Tools needed for completing the tasks. As transdisciplinary teams engage in the consider- ation process, key questions associated with the SETT Framework (see Figure 1) provide a system- atic method for discussion and decision-making. The intuitive nature of the SETT model has led to its widespread use by school-based teams.

3) Model Name: Education Tech Points Authors: Gayl Bowser and Penny Reed
Education Tech Points was created to facilitate decision-making regarding the utilization of assistive technology services and resources when planning educational programs for students with disabilities. Bowser and Reed argue that each Education Tech Point represents a critical juncture in the process of referral, evaluation, and develop- ment of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP). As illus- trated in Figure2, the six key points are (1) referral, (2) evaluation, (3) extended assessment, (4) plan development, (5) implementation, and (6) periodic review. Because of the compatibility of this model with the traditional special education referral and evaluation process, it has been widely adopted in special education.

4) Model Name: The AT CoPlanner Model
Authors: Leonard P. Haines, Gladene Robertson, Robert Sanche, and col- leagues
Recognizing the value of technology to foster communication and the time-lock pressures of the school day that infringe on adequate time for collaborative planning, Haines, Robertson, Sanche, and colleagues created,CoPlanner, a groupware product that supports communication, collabora- tion, and co-planning. Additional content modules (i.e., Instruction CoPlanner, Transition CoPlanner, and Assistive Technology CoPlanner) provide elec- tronic worksheets and planning systems that support specific applications of collaborative planning. In work describing the theoretical development of the assistive technology module, Haines and Sanche (2000) summarize their review of four common special education technology models and how they used a normalization
5) The ABC Model Author: Rena Lewis
While technology can be helpful to everyone, Lewis observed that it is important to recognize the unique contributions technology offers students with disabilities. She suggested that these benefits could be understood by noting that technology can Augment abilities and Bypass or Compensate for disabilities (see Figure 5). This model is intuitively easy to understand and is the essence of rehabilita- tion and therapy decision-making.

6)Model Name: The A3 Model
Authors: Smith, Schwanke, & Edyburn
The A3 Model is a theoretical work that seeks to describe a developmental process associated with efforts to provide access for individuals with disabilities to facilities, programs, and information. As shown in Figure 12, the model illustrates a web- and-flow of efforts that are needed to obtain universal accessibility . In the first phase, Advocacy efforts raise awareness of inequity and highlight the need for system change to respond to the needs of individuals with disabilities. Accommodations are the typical response to advocacy. Inaccessible environments and materials are therefore modified and made available in phase 2. Typically, accom- modations are provided upon request. While this represents a significant improvement over situa- tions found in the earlier phase, accommodations tend to maintain inequality
since there may be a delay
(i.e., time needed to
convert a handout from
print to Braille), it may
require special effort to
obtain (i.e., call ahead to
schedule), or it may require
going to a special location
(i.e., the only computer
with screen reading
software is in the library) 

The other part of our assignment was to find 10 Low Tech Assistive Tech items. Here are a few from the web and a few from my Learning Centre. 
 Clothes pins can be used for a variety of AT, including counters for basic math. 

 Simple shoe box and beads to create a shoe box activity for a blind student at my school. He counts the beads and puts them in the can.

Another shoe box activity. Different shapes with the blocks. Counting them and placing them into the container. 
Muffin tray we use in the Learning Centre for a counting tray. We have velcro on the each for a tactile and the student feels each muffin top to count. 
 Simple wooden blocks with velcro. The student pulls them apart to develop fine motor strength. 
 Basic winter gloves with a ball, ball has velcro to aid student to catch the ball in PE class.
 Basic pencil grip aid to support students with fine motor difficulty and to promote proper pencil grip
 Basic PVC piping used to have student hear themselves read, what they sound like. 

Colored overlays have been used to aid students with reading. It helps isolate the words and works as a highlighter for the students.

 Party ring on a mouse enables the student to hold onto the mouse pad. 

In conclusion I really enjoyed the assignment.  Thanks for reading :)  

Monday, 26 November 2012

November 21, 2012 - Class Assignment Attempt

November 21, 2012 - Classroom Assignment Attempt

My partner and I presented our assignment this past week in class. We demonstrated how a Grade 2 classroom teacher could take her lesson plan of poetry and incorporate technology to aid all the students to reach success with the assignment.  Today, in class, I attempted to provide a similar assignment in class to a grade 2/3 classroom. It was similar in that we (classroom teacher and I) presented a poem in the same way we did for our assignment. An example poem was shown on the hover cam. It was read by the teacher. There was no Youtube video to add to the display of assignment but the students were engaged. The students were asked to write a similar poem with connection to things they like. Some of the students, used the Ipads to create their poem using Pic Collage. They performed really well.  There is a pic below from a student who worked on their poem in the classroom.  This was a huge success for him, he has been transitioning from the Learning Centre back to the classroom over the past few years. The classroom teacher and I both felt the use of the Ipads aided, not only him, but the other students in completing the assignment.  Even though, it was not the complete assignment done from our class it is a step in the right direction to be using AT in the classroom regularly.  :)  I feel good about the outcome today. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

November 14, 2012 - Reflection

November 14, 2012

This weeks entry will not be a long one. Our last class gave us the opportunity to finish our assignment for next week. Since this class I have been a little under the weather with flu like symptoms. Good news is I feel better and believe I will be in school again tomorrow and be able to come to class to present with my partner.  During the past few days that I have been laid up I have found some interesting articles and videos in connection to technology in general. The below video I found to be quite interesting, it was on the CNN website.  Please watch and feel free to comment.

What else could technology and the people who really know how to use it be doing for our world?

Monday, 12 November 2012

November 7, 2012 - Universal Design for Learning

November 7, 2012

It is hard to believe that this blog will discuss our seventh class. It has been a great experience  :)  The class discussion centered around Universal Design for Learning (UDL). It is important for educators to use this approach to teaching to make it possible to reach ALL students in their classroom.  The class learned the importance of knowing your students and their needs. This seems to be an obvious point but can be overlooked at times. In our school we have transition meetings to discuss the students going from one grade to the next. It includes their strengths and challenges. How they learn best. It not only discusses academic needs but also social.  As a resource teacher, I am involved in these meetings and do a file review of each student to provide information on each of the students. The UDL principles 1) provide multiple means of representation 2) provide multiple means of action and expression 3) provide multiple means of engagement. It is important to understand the UDL principles and how they can be implemented into teaching. Below is a video with a overview of Universal Design for Learning.

We had the rest of class to work on our next assignment. Next week I will discuss the creation and presentation of our project.

Monday, 5 November 2012

October 31, 2012 - Activity in Lieu of Class

October 31, 2012

Proloquo2go follow up activity:
The assignment is to view one of the videos B.Welsford sent me, which were on Proloquo2Go utilization. The videos show children, with various disabilities, using the App.  I am to reflect on the videos based on my knowledge of the App and post my thoughts. I have posted the video below I am reflecting on:

It states on the AssistiveWare website that, "Max is nine years old and was born with Cerebral Palsy. The language area in his brain has been affected and he therefore has difficulty using his speech to communicate. He started using Proloque2Go on an iPad about a year ago. He now uses it on a daily basis, at school and at home. His speech has made good progress and his frustration level has decreased. Max is more able to communicate, he spells and he can create sentences that he was not able to create before. He even helps with customizing the app's vocabulary. According to his speech therapist, Proloquo2Go has become his voice and has completely changed his life."
I found the video to be very powerful and moving. From reading from the website the App has had a major impact on his life.  The beginning of the video shows Max using the Ipad with the Speech Language Pathologist. I found it interesting how she used the device to have Max tell her what he wanted to do with the paints. The SLP's strategy provided the basis for Max to communicate his needs through the Ipad and the Proloque2Go App. He was able to manipulate the device and tell her he wanted to do the craft/painting. He has many skills developed, including some spelling skills. He demonstrated this when he spelled the word 'Purple'. Very impressive. I know these skills and others he displayed can not be all contributed to the Ipad but it seems it has been a platform for acceleration in Language and Speech skills for Max.  The SLP states the language area in Max's brain has been effected since using the Ipad over the past year. This is amazing!!!  When thinking of 'Presuming Competence', I feel Max's experience on the Ipad demonstrates that all students have a certain level of understanding but need a voice to communicate their understanding. With this voice students' level of frustration decreases, like Max and their behaviour would improve. My experiences over the past 3 years with a student who is blind, non verbal and possibly ASD have been educational to say the least. It has been extremely difficult to find a means for him to communicate his needs and wants. We are currently using a GoTalk with 6 cells, 2 of which he uses (at times). It has been extremely important for our team to have an understanding of his level of competence when it comes to working with him. I feel we have made some major strides in his communication skills and I can only hope he is able to be as successful of a story as Max in the future. One aspect of the video I wanted to mention that I found interesting was the lack of interactions with peers in the mainstream classroom. It seemed, although a short video, that Max has many skills and now a communicative device, that he would be able to be in the regular classroom - more than the video showed. If it has not happened already I would love to see Max in with his peers. This may be the next step for this amazing student. Loved the video :)  

The second part of our assignment is to choose 2 Webinars that tweek my interest.  After choosing the Webinars I am to discuss how I would support the classroom teacher with the integration of  the technology into the classroom with a student with Autism. The first Webinar I viewed dealt with the aspect of Visual Scheduling. One of the Apps mentioned was called

The Webinar discussed the importance of using a visual schedule and how the App can support a student with Autism. I have used this App at my school this year. A student in grade 2, who has Autism, has been using this App since the beginning of the school year. In the past he used a visual schedule comprised of PICS from Boardmaker, laminated with Velcro and attached to a board with the words First Then. This year we decided to have him use the App on a Ipad. I first discussed this with the classroom teacher, since this student is fully integrated into the classroom. She was fully on board and felt comfortable with the technology. It is a somewhat straightforward App to use. We sit up a view basic schedules for the student to use the first day of school. I introduced the new Visual Schedule through a Social Story over the summer, which included his teachers name/pic, his Teacher Assistant, myself etc and the Ipad and the App. He was excellent from the start using the device and the Visual Schedule. The convergence of using the Ipad for academics, social stories and his visual schedule has been awesome!!  It really is great to see him using the device with this App. The school team has been fully supportive of the student using technology to aid him and his parents have been supportive as well. I am very lucky to have school teams support ideas for students with open arms. I commend the classroom teacher, vice principal, teacher assistant and parents for the success of the App working for this student. My job as Resource Teacher is very easy when we are all on the same page as in this case. It makes it easy for me to support the student and teacher in all areas of learning in the school setting. 
The other Webinar that I viewed centered around the use teaching of Social Skills. I particularly enjoyed the discussion around the App - Social Skills Sampler 


I have not had any experience with this App particularly.  As a Resource Teacher I would love to introduce this App with many of my students I work with in regards to Social Skills. I would first introduce this mode of teaching various skills in connection to previous lessons with Social Skill development. As the student was more familiar with the App I would expand the use into the classroom. The student I mentioned above would benefit from using this App, in and out of the classroom on his Ipad. He could watch the videos (video modeling - Love it!!) and learn many skills through this App. The classroom teacher could reinforce certain skills by connecting those skills in with the PATHS lesson of the week. This way the student would have the benefit of learning on the Ipad and the App and with the other students in the classroom setting. I would also include these lessons from Social Skills Sampler in my weekly Social Skills groups. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the assignment this week. The videos and Webinars were very informative. I look forward to our discussion in this weeks class.