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 info@efofex.com. 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.