Monday, December 7, 2009

AT MODULE 5

What one thing did you learn, and what will you do differently as a result?

I learned that there is a lot of non intrusive technology out there that can help children with disabilities with their schooling and everyday life. I also learned that I should not modify the way I interact with a person just because they are disabled (unless they specifically ask me to do so).

Do you plan to recommend this tutorial? If so, please elaborate.

I would recommend this tutorial to everyone. It is beneficial for people with disabilities and for people without. People should always be open to learning about people who are different from themselves. That is what makes the world go around!

Do you plan to read or recommend some of the Recommended Reading books or add them to your collection? Will you link our LibraryThing list to your blog? If you have a book recommendation or have read one of the books that does not include a review, please send us your own review so we can share it.

I plan on reading a lot of the recommended books. I will then think about who would benefit from a recommendation (I never recommend books without reading them). I have already read three of them, The Child Called It, The Giver, and the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. I would be happy to send a review when I am finished with the other ones I have selected.

Friday, December 4, 2009

AT MODULE 4

I do not work in a school (even if I did I would not have time to complete this task). However, I would like to share a story about a girl that was in my second grade class. Her name was Gretchen and she had a mobile disability. She was very small, her legs weren’t developed correctly and she had to wear full leg braces and used crutches. One day I was playing outside at recess. I had a ball and Gretchen came and took it off of me without asking. I told the teacher and she said I shouldn’t be so mean and should let Gretchen have the ball even if she didn’t say please. Even at this very young age, I knew this was wrong. None of the children liked Gretchen because of this special treatment she received. Gretchen needed to be taught manners just like every other child. By giving her want she wanted, the adults in her life were doing her a huge disservice. I often wonder what type of adult Gretchen became. Just like the etiquette states, people with disabilities want and should be treated equally.

I took the quiz and got one wrong. I am not sure I agree with the “correct” answer. Why would I extend my right hand if I clearly see that they would need to shake my left hand? I don’t understand this. This is the same curtsy I would extend to anyone, disabled or not, like if someone was holding their coffee in one hand.

When I read about finding an independent living center I immediately thought of Clelian Heights, http://www.clelianheights.org/index.htm. This is a school for the developmentally disabled and also has residential apartments for men, women and children. In my special education undergrad class, we designed a lesson plan for the children at Clelian Heights and got to go there and teach it. The residential program
“provides life skills training, community recreational and leisure activities, structured therapeutic activities and numerous opportunities for individual involvement in community events”. Clelian Heights is run by the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

These are the websites I found:

http://www.pluk.org/AT1.html This website is geared toward families that have a child that could benefit from assistive technology. It is very informative and gives examples of how assistive technology has helped other children in the past. Also, it provides many other resources for parents that may be looking for assistive technology devices, training and/or funding.

http://www.ataccess.org/ This is the Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) website. It is operated through a collaboration of people with disabilities, family members, and professionals in related fields. Their mission is to supply all people that need assistive technology with education and the know how to get it.

http://www.resna.org/ RESNA stands for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America. The promote research and education of everything related to assistive technology to improve the lives of people with disabilities. It is a bit expensive for a membership, $150 but would seem to be well worth it for all the network benefits.

http://www.uchsc.edu/atp/aboutUs.html Their mission statements is “for persons with cognitive, sensory, and/or physical disabilities to reach their highest potential at home, school, work and play through the addition of appropriate assistive technologies to their lives.” I see that they help with getting people and companies funding for assistive technologies.

http://www.agrabilityproject.org/index.cfm I thought this was a really cool site. The AgrAbility Project supports people with disabilities that are working in the agricultural field. They assist with obtaining grants, on-farm assessments, training and technical assistance (just to name a few services).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

AT MODULE 3

Implementing assistive technology into your library should be a very thoughtful process. If I worked in a school library, I would analyze the student population and try to fill any assistive technology needs that they may have. For the visually impaired, I would want screen enlargement software and Braille translation software. I would look into obtaining mp3 players that could be used with audio books. For those students with mobility disorders I would look into voice recognition software and microphone head set. I would also make sure that my library has wide spaces to accommodate wheelchairs and also computer desks that can be raised and lowered. For those students with learning disabilities that involve difficulty with reading, I would budget for software that reads text aloud. All of my proposed hardware and software would, of course, go into an assistive technology plan. So, summing it up into steps, first I would analyze, then I would do research and chose my technology and then I would formulate a plan. I also liked how California advertised their assistive capabilities. I think this is important because a patron might have been looking for this at one time and it wasn’t available. Letting the population know that you can help them brings people to the library that might normally feel alienated.

Below is my rubric. It looks like a table in Word but when I paste it in here, it destroys the formatting.

Software Name
Inspiration

Software Comany
Inspiration Software, Inc.

Cost
1 license - $69
5 license - $310
10 license - $550
20 license - $895

Features
Create graphic organizers such as concept maps, webs and idea maps

Positives
Built in symbol library
Import QuickTime movies and sounds
Switch between diagram and outline view
Covers five broad subjects

Negatives
Only recommended for 6th grade or higher
Toolbars are fixed rather than floating
Application menus aren’t very logical
___________________________________________
Software name
Kurzweil 3000

Software Company
Cambium Learning

Cost
Single Black & White - $1095
Single Color - $1495
Lab Pack B&W - $1995
Lab Pack Color - $2695

Features
Read aloud text program with highlighters, voice notes, dictionaries and online reference

Postivies
No software download
Can be accessed from any Windows computer
Immediate access to saved work and settings

Negatives
Price
Can be cumbersome to scan books

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Needs Assessment - Hardware

Metzgar Elementary School
Assistive Technology Plan - Hardware

I. Targeted Population

Students with mobility disorders (MD) such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injuries, spine injuries, cerebral palsy and congenital abnormalities may have difficulties accessing computers and/or completing classroom tasks. Providing assistive technology in Metzgar Elementary School for this population would allow them the same opportunities that their peers have to succeed in school.

II. Why do you want to use technology

The proposed technology will bring more independence to students with mobility disorders. Technology would also decrease the time it takes for them to complete a task.

III. For what activities will you be using technology?

Technology will be used to assist students when they are using the computers in the library lab.

IV. How are you completing these activities now?

Currently, library aids are assisting the students. Complications have occurred when aids were not available.

V. When and how often would you use technology throughout a typical day?

This technology would be used during library instruction and any free library time. That constitutes about 2-3 hours daily.

VI. What goals do you plan on achieving by using technology?

By utilizing this technology, our goals are to bring more independence, confidence and competence to our MD students.

VII. Are these environments accessible for technology?

The library computer lab is highly accessible for all of the proposed technology.

XIII. Hardware

Logitech – Webcam Pro 9000 – $79.00

Justification: A webcam that is hooked up to a computer can be used to track a user’s head motion that will in turn move the mouse thus making this task hands-free. Our MD students with limited hand movement will not have to wear uncomfortable headgear or manipulate a foot mouse thereby making this option more discrete and attractive to hesitant students. There are many types of head/eye control software that will work with a common webcam. Webcams can also be used for many other tasks thereby making it an economic and practical piece of hardware. Also important, it does not require a complicated setup process.

Cyber Acoustics Speech Recognition Stereo Headset - $44.99

Justification: This piece of hardware, when used with any number of speech recognition software will allow the user to dictate documents and manipulate the keyboard with voice commands. It cancels out background noise which is always a concern in a busy library. The user will not have to raise his or her voice above a normal speaking level. No elaborate setup is required.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

AT MODULE 2

I must say that www.enablemart.com is a really extensive site for assistive technology. I found so many devices that used technology that I didn’t even know was developed and available yet. While looking through the site I was reminded of a girl I went to elementary school with. She had mobility problems and was in a wheelchair. Her movements could be very spastic at times. I found three devices that I think would be very helpful for students with these same mobility problems. First, I would invest in the Clearview Head Pointer. This is a great device that lets students with mobility issues independently type. Another device that I would recommend using with the Clearview Head Pointer is a Waterloo Adjustable Keyboard tray. This would allow the keyboard to be tilted toward the user and therefore make it easier for them to use the Head Pointer to type. Another device that could be successfully used with the Head Pointer is the SofType 4.2 On-Screen Keyboard. With this software, one could make a customized word list. The librarian could construct a word list containing commonly used words and post the key-combination on the side of the computer for all users. Also, with SofType you can change the keyboard layout, color and size. Making the keys larger would help with accuracy when using the Head Pointer. In fact, SofType would benefit all types of learners thereby making it an economically pleasing choice for all school budgets.

As I stated above, EnableMart is a one-stop wonder store for all things that fall under the assistive technology category. They should advertised more and make themselves known. Many teachers, parents and business owners could benefit from all the software and hardware available on this website.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

AT MODULE 1

In my Google Reader, I subscribe to a blog named Library Stuff. I thought it was very interesting that I read this post right before I started to explore The National Federation of the Blind’s website. The following article is about a school that will not invest in Kindle until it develops a way that visually impaired students can easily turn the “read aloud” function on.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_TEC_KINDLE_BLIND?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

After reading the article I thought, wow, here I figured that Kindle would be the greatest new invention for the visually impaired. I never thought of how they would turn it on. I guess that goes to show how much I take my vision for granted. I would have thought that the designers of Kindle would have consulted a visually impaired person to make sure it was fully functional for them.

I found an awesome website called http://www.mathsisfun.com/braille-translation.html. It translates texts and numbers into Braille. You can then print it out. The site suggests putting little drops of glue on the dots so they can be felt. I think that I would get some of those raised dot candies. I think this is a great alternative to buying a brailler (which is like $970.00 for an electric one) because it is free. Of course, when I am a librarian, I will try and convince the powers that be that this would be a good investment. I am not a teacher; however, I would think one of the best ways to teach your students Braille would be to bring in a blind person or ask a blind student to show them how it is done.

The “link for teachers” at the National Center for Learning Disabilities had a lot of information. I didn’t see specific lesson plans the address the different issues that students with LD have. That would be nice. I am not a teacher, but I do know many people that have learning disabilities (my brother for one). My neighbors are Mexican and their youngest son has trouble with the English language (not speaking it, but learning the grammar rules). If I were a teacher, I would keep these types of learners in mind and try and modify my lessons to include and benefit them as well. As they said on the website (and this is important to remember) many people with learning disabilities are very intelligent, they just process information differently.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

WEEK 9 - THING #23


I made it to the finish line!!!!! Because we learned about so many new tools, I just took some time to go back through the 23 things. What I enjoyed most (and will continue to enjoy) is my Google Reader account. I didn't think it would be something that I would appreciate so much. It is like my own personalized morning paper. It keeps me up-to-date on world news and specific blogs. I also really like LibraryThing and will continue to use it to build my personal library. These are tools I will use for personal use. Some tools I will use in my profession are wikis and Flickr and mashups. I learned a lot of new uses for Wikis (booktalks and reviews). I will use Flickr to make interesting, eye-catching posters and signs for my library.

This program made educating myself about new technology less daunting. I can do this and have fun doing it at the same time. It is not as insurmountable a task as I once thought. I would love to be a part of other programs such as this. I would definitely recommend these types of online programs to any lifelong learner.

They could improve this program by making sure that their recommended links are current and working.

The one word I would choose to describe this program is INNOVATIVE!!