Monday, August 18, 2014

EDUC 7730 E-Portfolio Publishing

This blog is being written to announce and present my e-Portfolio. This is still considered to be a work in progress as I want to add the units of study, delivered professional development, and other teaching and learning activities that I become involved in. The purpose of my e-Portfolio is to showcase myself as a STEM educator with a highlight on Technology Education. I am sure this format can and will change as I grow by using and teaching what I learned from the IT & Digital Media Program at UNH. 

I used Wix to create my website. I felt it had a variety of layouts that looked clean and simple. And best of all it was user friendly and easy to make edits, preview the work, and maneuver within. At first I thought it was going to be very difficult but after spending a short amount of time creating my website I was able to easily use this resource. Many of my colleagues used this website so I was introduced to the many features it offered before I began.  

I feel that I have come a long way from the first time I designed a website earlier on in the program. This site has a sleek clean look and that is what I was looking for. It may still need some tweaking here and there but I feel as if this is a good version of what I want to portray about my work. 

Please click on the link to view My e-Portfolio.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Week 6 EDUC 7728 Online Content Construction and Remixing

This week we were to post our rendition of an Auto - Ethnography. Basically, we were to create a video of our life with either text or audio accompanying it. We received numerous resources and video samples to read and view before starting this project and those helped immensely. It was suggested that we write out or plan out what we wanted to portray in our lives and then gather the materials to put into our video. And that was the approach I took. The most tedious part of the task was actually gathering pictures, uploading them onto the computer, and then putting them in a timeline format.

I felt the theme of my Auto-Ethnography was how growing up in my family has shaped who I am today. I feel that I reflected a lot on my parents and how they played such an integral part of my life. This was most likely due to the fact that we recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary. I think through the planning of the celebration I realized how these two such wonderful people influenced me and that came in to play when I was creating my video.

Even though it took  a lot of time and planning, this project was fun and interesting and I would recommend all teachers and staff at schools try doing their own videos.  This would be a great way to immerse teachers into the use of simple technology and then get them excited about teaching it to their students. Through-out this project I not only learned more about the small group of classmates in my IT & Digital Media Literacy Program but I also learned how to use iMovie with much more ease and confidence. I also used the audio and the background music feature that I had not used before. The final project from my classmates were as usual very impressive and I enjoyed watching all of them. For a look at My Auto-Ethnography please click on the link or view below.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

ED7730 ePortfolio Map

This week we were required to outline or mindmap the contents we planned to use in creating our ePortfolios. I used Coggle as my on-line tool for mapping. Although the map is at the beginning stages and will need to be tweaked as I move along in the process, I feel that this map will be very beneficial. I did have some thoughts and questions on where I should place my blog, so at tonight Face-2-Face I will ask for input from my classmates.

Or for a closer look at my ePortfolio map please visit the following link: Elizabeth Hick's ePortfolio Map.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

EDUC 7730 Thoughts on my own ePortfolio

After learning more about eportfolios and what they entail I realized that I should consider a number 
of factors when making my own. The first would be: who is my intended audience ?  Then, what work do I want to showcase ? Lastly, how should I design or set-up the artifacts that will be included in the ePortfolio.  In my portfolio  I would like to show: the work that I have done in my IT&DML program, the work I have done in school that is related to technology & other STEM content areas, and possibly have it serve as a marketing vehicle for future employment using what skills and knowledge I have learned. I also want it to look aesthetically pleasing, makes sense, and include the appropriate and related artifacts and reflections.

I did like the way Integrative Knowledge Portfolio makes suggestions for ePortfolios (see below). I plan to use and or modify some of these to meet my ePortfolio goals and message.

What does a completed Integrative Knowledge Portfolio  look like?
A completed Integrative Knowledge Portfolio has the following sections and pages:

A Work Showcase – highlights a series of Knowledge Synthesis pages that illustrate how a
student weaves together the knowledge, skills and insights gained from key learning
experiences in life. Each experience is organized into a larger knowledge/skill category which
serves as the table of contents for the Work Showcase.

A Philosophy Statement page - demonstrates a student’s ability to retrieve and articulate the
specific values, commitments, capacities and sources of inspiration that underlie his/her work

A Goals page - illustrates a student’s ability to imagine and articulate an overarching sense of
direction or purpose for work and life as a result of participation in the IKPP.

A Welcome page - demonstrates a student’s ability to capture a readers’ interest and succinctly
introduce his/her portfolio

A Resume page - shows that the student is capable of presenting their experiences in a traditional format.

I also liked their list of essential questions and the outcome or what students learn from the process Integrative Portfolio Process (MPortfolio - University of Michigan) These questions and outcomes help guide students through the process of creating and curating their personal ePortfolio.
The Integrative Knowledge Portfolio Process encourages students to ask questions essential for leadership and lifelong learning:
  • Who am I becoming?
  • What am I learning?
  • What knowledge, skills and strengths am I developing?
  • What can I do?
  • How will I make a difference?
The portfolio process helps students approach problems strategically and collaboratively. Students learn to:
  • Connect knowledge gained from real-life experiences and from academic courses
  • Reflect on learning that has occurred both within and beyond the classroom
  • Develop the knowledge, skills and awareness needed for professional competence and leadership
  • Connect learning with personal values, a sense of purpose and goals for the future

Tonight in class, after I collaborate with my classmates, I believe I will have an even better perspective on ePortfolios and what I would like to include in my own.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

ED 7730 E-Portfolios Part I: Fundamental Elements

As a kickoff assignment to our last few weeks in IT & Digital Media Literacy we were required to research and read about electronic portfolios or more commonly known as ePortfolios. This assignment serves as a preparation for one of our final projects in this 6th year program. So during the past few days I have read a number of articles pertaining to eportfolios; what they are, who uses them, and how they are used, especially within the educational setting.

It is my understanding that an eportfolio is a digital compilation of someone’s work that is either produced or collected. This can include demonstrations, resources, and accomplishments which represent an individual, group, community, organization or institution. Basically an eportfolio showcases quality work, it paints a picture of growth over time, and presents accomplishments based on evidence.  You can think of the collection of work, more commonly known as “artifacts”, as the “building blocks” of one’s portfolio. These building blocks can and should include Word Documents, PDFs, Powerpoints, images, and even short video or audio clips. There should also be what is called a Reflection piece of the work in the portfolio and this serves as one of the most important aspects of the collection. The Reflection allows for analysis of the experiences incurred during the learning.  But more than that, it is a reflection of the thinking that is going on. In addition, Reflections also connect the pieces of the portfolio.

When most people hear the word portfolio, they most likely think of an artists collection of work. So who else uses eportfolios ? Electronic Portfolio’s serve as a personalized profile of achievement for students - at all levels (elementary through postsecondary) in any subject, for faculty, as well as employee’s.
And how do these groups of people use eportfolios? Students can use it as a location to document and display their learning.  Faculty can use it to as "an organized collection of complex, performance-based evidence that indicates one's growth, goals, and current knowledge and skills needed to be competent in a role or area of expertise" (p.151, cited in Heath & Cockerham, 2001,). employees can use eportfolios to demonstrate skills and competence in areas related to their field of work or expertise.
I found that there are a variety of websites/locations such as google sites, cloroflot, behance network, and carbonmade to name only a few that offer free portfolio services.  Through all of this initial reading and learning about electronic portfolios I am excited to begin the journey of creating my own.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

EDUC 7726 Week 13 : Leadership in Action: Putting it all Together

Teaching, Learning and Assessing with Technology

The  assignment for EDUC 7726 Week 13: Leadership in Action: Putting it all Together. We were to return to the beginning of this class with a recap of student learning outcomes for the IT&DML program. There were two options to chose from to show how or what we learned connects to or how we can implement or future plan with what we learned. I chose Option 2: Planning.

In addressing Option 2: PLANNING (a.k.a. forward thinking, outlook, projections, opportunities). I decided to use Storify as my technology tool to tell a story of how Teaching, Learning and Assessing with Technology could be implemented into "Designing a STEM School Program" (my Independent project for this course)

The urban neighborhood school that I currently work in is attempting to become a STEM based theme school. My intent is to become an integral player in the designing of our STEM Program as well as a leader in STEM for our school. My Storify highlights some work that I did in this course as well as reference some of my classmates work. I felt by trying to plan and develop a STEM Program I could use the many resources, materials, and knowledge that I learned through the IT&DML Program. Please click on the link to view my Storify. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

EDUC 7724 Week 12 AT Post-Secondary Education - Discussion Director

As this weeks discussion director for EDUC 7724 the topic of readings and discussion was AT and its place in post secondary education.  Our readings consisted of the article,  The Efficacy of Assistive Technology on Reading by Floyd and Judge which brought us through a study conducted with 6 students identified with LD. Also included in our readings was Chapter 9 - Assistive Technology for Transition to the Adult World of Assistive Technology for All Students (Beard, Carpenter, and Johnson) which talked about why AT should be included in transition planning, its role in post secondary education, as well as its use in employment. Lastly, we read Chapter 8 of Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities -Transition to the Adult World, talks about anchoring instruction. The focus was independent learning & living, and the demand for technology literacy in the 21st Century workplace.  

based on the readings I decided to had my classmates respond to: "What do educational service providers need to know in order to provide effective assistive technology services to students with learning disabilities at the post secondary level? “ (Assistive Technology for Post secondary Students with Learning Disabilities)

So for  the first prompt of the week I requested that they imagine being a student with a disability requesting the need to use a particular AT device in order to succeed in your  post secondary/college life.  The responses were well thought-out, both descriptive in the disability and the AT device needed/used. Many responses were written to their Alma mater's and they investigated the websites by these colleges/universities to determine how to approach that institution with a request for AT use. I appreciated all the work and thought that was put into the prompt responses. It might have even been difficult for some to craft their writing from the perspective/position of a students with a disability.  

My request for Prompt #2 of the week, I wanted my classmates to tweet something they took away from the readings this week. I thought i would bring us back to using a digital tool we were comfortable with but probably had not used in a few weeks. Tweets included:

  • AT in post-sec. ed requires transitional prep that starts from age 14. Students must become self advocates.
  • AT can provide access to opportunity and advancement in life. #itdml
  • LD students must advocate for themselves in college and in the real world. We must teach that skill.#AssistiveTechnology
  • "Use of Assistive Technology on the rise for college students, who must learn to self advocate:" …
  • Self-advocacy by high school students with disabilities is a step towards taking control of their future. #AssistiveTechnololgy
  • AT devices help disabled students accomplish their goals and dreams in college and beyond. #itdml
  • Assistive technology design should consider gender and culture - perspective needs. 
  •  In college, Students must document their special needs and communicate them appropriately, in order to receive AT support #itdml
Thanks for the responses and the experience to be discussion director for EDUC 7724. 

EDUC7726 Week 12 Independent Project

This week for EDUC 7726 my classmates and I met face to face to present our independent projects for this course. The various topics and issues presented by my classmates was nothing less than impressive. While listening to each others project presentations we were required to reflect upon our learning throughout the IT & DML program.  What came to mind first was were the beginning two Monday nights of the program when we were faced with the challenge of learning what was then a somewhat unfamiliar world of technology and digital media literacy. I couldn't help but think "what a long way we've come !"

Having said that I will now summarize my independent project and provide the link to both the presentation and the my live binder project. The subject of my project was "Starting up a STEM based School Program". Its purpose is to provide educators and administrators with the guidelines, process and qualifications  begin implementation of a K - 8 STEM school. The content of my live binder includes an outline for an Action Plan, a STEM Curriculum,  and STEM Resources. It also illustrates how technology and digital literacy are built in to a STEM Education Program. My project will explain the elements of STEM, as well as its relevance, importance and benefits to the future teaching and learning of students in our nation. Project Based Learning will be explained and its role in STEM Education. The human as well as the technical resources needed for a successful STEM Program will also be outline.  For a look at my Prezi Presentation and Live Binder please click the on the links.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

EDUC7726 Week 10 - Soapbox Hangout

Week 10 - Soapbox Hang-out

This week's assignment in EDUC 7726 - Teaching, Learning and Assessing in the Digital Era, we were given a list of topics to discuss that we had not necessarily touched upon in depth through-out the course. We were to chose one of interest or another topic of our liking and present as a soapbox performance, so to speak. I found this assignment to be of my liking and it was a way for my classmates and I to learn more about various areas of Teaching, Learning, and Assessing in the Digital Era. As usual everyone's topic was engaging, informative and filled with useful knowledge & resources.  

My topic was, "If students have the information at their fingertips, what are the right questions to ask?". My thinking on this was to research and discuss what types of questions should be be asked in informal assessments as well in formal assessments. I began by discussing questioning in terms of teaching and learning and then went into some interesting facts about teacher questioning. 

I read a lot of articles by Will Richardson, parent, educator, speaker, author, and 12 year blogger at weblogg-ed. Richardson, a critic of standardized testing and pro-project based learning educator has a lot to say about the state of our teaching and learning and how educators need to adjust their thinking in terms of unlearning. He discusses the 3 things teachers need to unlearn and they are: Delivery, Competition, and Assessment. 

I then gave examples of good questioning in the content areas of both math and language arts. I included and briefly discussed the relevance of teachers knowing the questioning taxonomies such as Bloom's. Also included was a more modern day version of Bloom's Taxonomy and within the pyramid the technology that can support those higher level thinking questions.

Overall this was a great assignment and an enlightening experience for me as I learned more about questioning in teaching and learning as well as so much more information from the other soapbox presentations. For a glimpse at my powerpoint presentaion click here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

EDUC7722 Week 7 Prompt #1 Assisstive Technology

For this week’s topic in Assistive Technology, our  discussion director had us focus Chapter 7 of Bryant and Bryant “Integrating Assistive Technology into Instruction”.  More specifically we were to delve into one of the software programs mentioned in the chapter and give feedback as to what the program does or how it is is used, and the pros and cons of using it in the classroom. I was interested to research a program that involved math and I decided on one that actually supported both math and science.

Efofex is a company which started in 1989, as a group of mathematics and science teachers wanting to computerise their work. They began designing software based on teachers' needs rather than a programmer's specification. The result was software for secondary math and science that closely matched teachers' expectations, all the while working with the mission to make the job easy for teachers and students. What I found most interesting about this product/software is its emPower program geared towards Special Needs Students. The company states that “Many students with physical disabilities find mathematics and science extremely difficult to write. The equations and graphics are too difficult to construct with standard tools. Our products are designed to make mathematics and science teacher's jobs easier but many students with special needs have found that they also provide the assistance they need. This serendipitous result has made the lives of many students much easier.” (Efofex)
Efofex provides students with Special Needs registration codes, for free, as long as documentation is provided in the form of a letter, on school (or equivalent institution) letterhead, that states that the student attends the school and suffers from a disability that makes mathematics and science materials difficult to produce. They do NOT need to know the nature of the disability - they just need the school to certify its existence. Students are then provided with a 10 year, personal use licence that allows them to install the software wherever they need it: at school, at home, wherever - providing it is only the student using the software. However, there is a cost for its use for non-special needs students.

The software available includes downloads for math -  FX Draw FX Equation FX Graph FX Stat and for science - FX Chem FXChemStruct FX Equation. All of which serve as tools and visual representations of skills and concepts related to both of those content areas. It can be downloaded via Windows or on a Mac computer. Support is offered through the sites support blog and if the need arises additional support regarding any other issues can always be sent to The site also posts a newsletter and provides video tutorials.
Any reviews that I found on this particular software were  contained on the website therefore the feedback was very positive. I also found this software listed in a variety of educator’s Blogs in a list of suggested supportive math/science materials. In my opinion the graphics were very clear, it appears easy to use especially in FX Draw and FX equation where you type an equation and the program puts the information in the appropriate place. As far as science is concerned FXChemStruct allows the teacher or students to easily construct chemical structures that are often difficult to draw. Although geared towards higher level math and science I can definitely see the benefits of using this program in the classroom for not only special needs students but also regular ed students, thereby embedding this into the classroom as a tool for ALL to use would prevent the singling out of those students in need.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

EDUC Week 8 Formative Assessment

This week in EDUC 7726 class our concentration was based on formative assessment versus summative assessment but with more concentration on the former type of testing. We researched and read about the importance of assessing students formally at the beginning middle and end of a lesson in order to drive and inform instruction. I believe that formally assessing students not only depends upon meaningful questions but also effective feedback.  I think teachers can assess all day long but what is vital is the planning what you want the students to know and using guided questioning throughout the lesson to inform how well the students are actually understanding  the skill or concept. 

We also researched how to best embed technology into our lessons to formally assess. And there is a plethora of tools, and software available for teachers to effectively and efficiently assess their students as well as engage and make the learning or assessing fun. As one the many parts of this week's focus on formative assessment we were to discuss and plan how to use technology in the classroom to formally assess. I chose to plan and discuss a math lesson on time and how technology could be integrated into the lesson in order to assess.

Click here for a summary of how I would use technology to assess in a grade 3 lesson on time with an objective and focus on achieving the following common following Common Core State Standard:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

EDUC7726 Week 7

This week in EDUC 7726 we we required to worked in groups for assignment on Assessment and Technology. I had the pleasure of working with +Joseph Depalma+Nancy Atterberry , and +Joan Robinson  as a group to represent through a Prezi Presentation our research or what we learned about Assessment and Technology.  We began with a google hang-out and planned on reading the required resources as well as others we had already searched and read. The next part of our plan was to assign each member of the group a topic/question pertaining to Assessment and Technology, so as we read we could focus on learning about that particular aspect of it. Then we set up a google document to share and document any notes about what we learned throughout the week from our readings. 

Our next step was to meet as a group in another google hang-out and begin our presentation. As this was the first time for most of us in creating a presentation in Prezi, we were learned by doing. We chose a template and began inputting out information and notes. Although a bit disjointed at first we talked each other through how we wanted to present our information with positive, relevant, and respectful feedback. We worked long and hard on our presentation and spent time editing until we felt it was in good standing. I truly enjoyed working with everyone of my team members, I learned more about assessment and technology not only from my research but also from that of my teammates. 

Finally, I was glad to have worked in Prezi so now I know how to use this tool in the future and can teach others how to use it.  Hope you enjoy our presentation and learn from it as well. Please follow this link to Assessment and Technology.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

EDUC7726 Week 4 Socratic Seminar Reflection

During this past week I had my first Face-2-Face meeting with my professor and classmates from UNH's Technology,Learning/Assessment in the Digital Era course. It was also my first experience with what our professor referred o as a "Socratic Seminar". Seeing that I had never experienced a "Socratic Seminar"  before, I decided to google it - of course! What I read was that it is basically a collaborative and intellectual dialogue facilitated with open-ended questions about a text, and its the purpose is to achieve deeper understanding about the ideas and values in a text. I still wasn't sure what to expect but I had a better idea of what we were going to participate in.

Our readings for this particular seminar included data and statistics on teachers using technology at home and in their classrooms, a Pew Research Study. It was interesting to see the discrepancies between low income and high income findings regarding technology access, teacher experience with technology and training, and teacher and student use.  We were exposed to additional data on Teaching Trends and Classroom Technology Trends, as well as ways in which Technology has changed learning and ways in which teachers are using technology. Lastly we viewed two videos, one was Tony Wagner's video "Reinventing Education for the 21st Century" about the new skills that  ALL students need for work, learning and citizenship. The other video with Heidi Hayes Jacobs discussed our 19th Century teaching and learning that currently exists in a 21st Century world.

Questions from all of these resources served as the platform for our Socratic discussion. I was a little nervous at first being a member of the first group of us to discuss. And while we discussed, the remaining classmates and our professor observed and took notes on a pre-formed rubric that we were given. Once we got through the first question, it became more and more comfortable. After 3 questions we switched places and my group sat on the outskirts of the discussion while our classmates discussed some of the same questions. It was definitely tempting in the observation position to want to jump into the conversation and add to the rich discussion. Overall I believe we all acted respectfully and allowed the discussion to progress in the manner in which a Socratic Session is suppose to be carried out.

I really liked this forum of question and answering, especially with this group of people, as I beleive they have so much to offer in thier thoughts, experience and insights in educational technology. Furthermore I think this type of discussion has a place at my school during our morning vertical team meetings. It would be great to try with my co-workers.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

EDUC7724 Adadptive Technologies Week 4 Post Response

Like my classmate, Elizabeth Ferry, mentioned in her post this week I would imagine that there is some corner closet in my school as well that is housing a number of Adaptive Technology devices that are sitting on a shelf collecting dust.  However, I don't believe there is an abundance of them that would require us to inventory or organize them. In terms of students at my school using devices I am aware of only one child who is assisted with a hearing device, which is virtually unnoticeable. Unnoticeable to we teachers, but how about to the student wearing it? or his/her classmates?

There are most likely a number of students in need that may be reluctant to wear or use such  AT devices. Especially students at the middle school & high school level as those are ages where many students, are just trying to fit in.  When I researched further on reluctant students and AT devices I found a slideshow “Assisitive Technolgoies for students with special needs” that outlines the steps that should be taken in order to find the most  appropriate and helpful device. I thought it was good advice to “Brainstorm different assistive technologies that can help the student. There should be a range of options and the goals for the technology to help the students adapt with. “ 

The slideshow also recommends that the student be observed with the device to see how well the device helps and to what degree before purchasing the tool. I think that is an important point/step in the process; to determine to what extent the device is actually helping. In addition to the device yielding significant results, it is also VERY important to involve the student in the process and not to waste money on a device that a student knows they will never use, hence facing reluctance. Definitely good advice, and one that may result in those closets full of unused uninventoried devices, if not taken into consideration.

It is suggested to "keep it as simple as possible", also another important consideration. The example given in the slideshow can be seen below:

Overall it appears that a lot of work and consideration is necessary in the process of not only selecting and determining the BEST AT device for a student, but also to the extent in which the device will actually be used. We as educators and support staff need to be aware that there may be times when we will be faced with the challenge of a child who may be reluctant to use an AT device and be prepared to take the appropriate steps.

Cited Source:

Sunday, April 20, 2014

EDUC7724 Apative Technology Analysis

I began my search of analysing Adaptive Technology tools using google. From the list of resources that appeared I chose Xmind, a map making tool, as the one I wanted to research. Once I downloaded the program and started perusing through the site I saw how it offered a variety of organizational maps for almost anything you could think of. The uses were endless in that it could be used for school, business, and personal activities. Yet, when I delved into it further I felt as if it would be more useful and beneficial for adults in need of organizational skills due to the complexity of keyboard or computing skills needed to get organized. I was looking for something more elementary so I went back to the list and chose Kidspiration. A program I had heard of, but one I had not used with students or even looked into on my own.

After watching the introduction video I felt this program was appropriate for ALL students not only for those visual learners or students in need of an adaptive tool. And I couldn't help but see this as a very useful tool for the many ELL's in my school. Kidspiration is a down loadable program for the MAC, iPad,chromatic, etc. for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade. The program offers a "visual way to explore and words, numbers, and concepts.

The visual thinking modalities span across curriculum areas and are meant to enhance and support learning as well as engage students in the learning. The 3 highlighted areas are in Reading, Writing and Math. Therefore the 3 views in which students can express their thinking are in reading skills, writing skills, and math concepts. Once students become accustomed to the user friendly buttons and icons they can easily take their visual thoughts, organize those ideas and turn them into written expressions.

Students have access to pictures & vocabulary, and in math, virtual manipulatives. They can create authentic representations of thoughts and ideas via flow charts, graphics, and words. Students are able to save these thoughts and ideas in a user friendly way, save their work and turn it into written words. As is the case with math students model problems and can manipulate the pictorial representations in order to solve problems. For teachers, this website includes lesson plans, common core standard resources, IDEA Funding options and more.
Here are a few teacher testimonials and comment regarding the use of Kidspiration in the classroom:


"A traditional outline doesn't work for everyone. But if they can see it in a graphic organizer, they know whether they’ve connected something in the right place, and it makes sense."
Maryanne Porter
Academy Park High School
Sharon Hill, PA

"I incorporate visual learning strategies with my students who have ADHD, dyslexia, and autism spectrum disorders. Grouping and organizing using mind maps comes more naturally and creates a multi-sensory approach to learning. Students using Inspiration find writing and learning easier, it is the most effective and direct way for them to get the work accomplished."
Jesse Berg
The Visual Leap and Cooper Learning Center
Voorhees, NJ

"It also helps linear learners create mind maps and visual learners create order. What a great way to bring different types of learners to shared understanding!"
Deb Logan
Librarian/Media Specialist
Mount Gilead Middle/High School
Mount Gilead, OH

"Inspiration helps level the playing field for struggling learners."
Maryanne Porter
Academy Park High School
Sharon Hill, PA

 Overall, I found this program to be a very useful tool and user friendly for teachers and students. They offer a 30 day free trial but beyond that there is a fee. If interested click Kidspiraton here for the link to their website.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Evolution of Adaptive Technology

Evolution of Adaptive a Technologies

In Week two readings for EDUC7724 we were introduced to Assistive Technologies, it's definition, and it's evolvement for students with disabilities. Interestingly enough Assistive Technologies stems from the definition in the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 which was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. As this led to the many changes and progressions within the Assistive Technology Act in the years to come it did strike me as a concern regarding the need for these services and the fact that they were not uniformly in existence prior to the 1980's in our country as a whole. The Tech Act of 1988 was in fact an impressive and significant  mandate because it was the first law to actually provide a setting for the use of devices in the Assistive technology world. This law used grants to provide states with the means to support change and advocate activities for individuals with disabilities.

It appears that since then much progression has been made as outlined by Bryant and Bryant in Chapter 1 of Introduction to Assistive Technology Devices and ServicesAssistive Technologies. Many of the Acts associated with Assistive Technology evolved in the sense of changing legislation but also names as was the case with the Technology Act that ended in 1998 and morphed into the Assistive Technology Act. Signed into law by President Clinton this Act was meant to help address technology needs of individuals with disabilities. In addition the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 which became the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1990. IDEA, as it is also know, involved a revision in the IEP where "AT  devices must be a consideration for the transition plan and must be provided if the IEP team considers it necessary and appropriate for the student's success as a learner". (Bryant and Bryant) Thus making support and other related services to become important components of the IEP.

Progression of the technology needs for those with disabilities continued by making improvements, modifications, and reformations of theses Acts and others. Various aspects and components became important foci surrounding these pieces of legislation and the people receiving the services and or technology. Ethics was one area that required professionals, involved in the assessment and planning of AT services and devices, to adhere to a code of ethics and standards. In addition, a push for districts to train personnel and be current in technology by engaging Educators in meaningful and purposeful professional development became another aspect of AT. When school districts provide in service opportunities it offers formidable learning for educators and therefore better teaching and learning. More aspect surrounding AT related to confidentiality and privacy and access to the general education curriculum for ALL students with disabilities issues.

It appears that the evolution of AT is still in progress even with the gains made from the initial Tech Act of 1988. I would image that despite the support and progression made there is still more that can and will be done to ensure that equal opportunity and access for those with disabilities is 

 I believe as it stands now in the district that I work, most of the PD and current information on AT is geared towards our Special Education teachers. It will be interesting to see if it becomes more mainstream with the general education teachers in the years to come.