Assisstive Technologies on Windows 10 — November 20, 2016

Assisstive Technologies on Windows 10

Assistive technologies have allowed for the expansion of a traditional classroom to incorporate ALL learners, rather than be exclusive.  As technologies have improved and access to the more advanced technologies has increased, teachers are able to find resources and tools to make their classroom more accessible.  “An individual is able to complete a task that they previously could not complete, did so slowly, or did so poorly (Roblyer, 2016).”  Computers are a huge part of this assistive technology community.  In the 1990s it became clear that computers could be a great way to schools and classrooms to reach all learners and computer manufacturers responded to this by incorporating assistive technologies into their computers.  This practice has grown with all computers being made with assistive technologies.  In addition to the computers themselves, there is a multitude of software available to add on to computers allowing for an increased access to all (Roblyer, 2016).  

The assistive technologies available offer a wide array of support.  There are speech-recognition softwares to help students use speech to type assignments or create projects.  There are also text-to-speech softwares to help students who cannot see text hear what is being shared and have pictures be described.  There are also many visual and audio aids that can be incorporated into computers (Staff, 2012).

On my Windows 10 I found quite a few built in assistive technologies. The first I tried out was the Narrator for Windows Mail.  I started by watching the video to better understand how the process works and then set up Windows Mail for the first time.  I found this tool to be fascinating.  Using simple key codes the user can increase the complexity in which the email is read.  There is a basic reader that simply reads through the email, but you can also choose a reader that explains what text looks like to help with emphasis and also can break down tables and other information that might not be conveyed in a basic reader.  A tool like this would be very beneficial to a visually impaired user.  

Windows 10 offers many tools for users who may be visually impaired.  They also have a magnifier tool which helps with increasing the size of an image or text.  

In addition, they offer text or visual alternatives to sound a computer might make.  For example, you can turn on captions for spoken dialogues.  Or have your computer flash to share a warning.  This would benefit a user who is hearing impaired.  

I also came across the whole Ease of Access settings board that can be used on Windows 10 to help those with disabilities.  This settings board is where users can change settings to have text read or to have an onscreen keyboard setup.  

One of the best resources available through this is the Speech Recognition software which allows the computer to be completely controlled by voice.  For users who may not be able to use a keyboard or mouse, this allows them to complete the same tasks other users can, in similar time.  I tried this software and while there was a bit of set up and new “lingo” to learn, I was able to move through tasks on my computer at a similar pace.  

Devices like my PC provide opportunities for all users to participate in the activities and tools a computer has to offer.  In the classroom, its benefits can be endless.  Students can complete similar tasks to their peers, with minimal changes to the activity.  Tools like this are available on many types of computers and even mobile phones, allowing for more access to these assistive technologies.  

“Accessibility Can Empower.” Microsoft Accessibility: Technology for Everyone, Home. Microsoft.

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching, 7th Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780133955439/

Staff. “The Role Of Assistive Technology In Supporting Disabled Learners.” TeachThought. N.p., 18 Dec. 2012.

Challenges and Solutions for History Tech Integration — November 14, 2016

Challenges and Solutions for History Tech Integration

As a secondary social studies teacher pushing my students towards higher order thinking and inquiry, I often find myself letting my students go off on an research.  Technology allows my students instant access to millions of resources, but while information is readily available, it is not always reliable.  An obstacle for teachers and students is that information retrieval is both safe and leads to accurate information.  Information overload sounds like a silly obstacle, one that many years ago teachers would have envied.  But the challenge is making sure students can decipher the information to find validity and credibility.  How can teachers do this?  Well it is important as the teacher to teach into skills such as fact checking and corroboration.  To be 21st century consumer of information, social studies students must practice by comparing and contrasting sources, checking relevant citations and looking into peer reviewed articles.  Our book suggests that using misleading sites as demonstration tools for teaching students can be an important part of digital literacy (Roblyer, 339).  

Another challenge faced in the social studies content is information sharing done by students.  An important part of the social studies classroom is creating and sharing information that helps teach or present a topic.  With the advent of technology students can now share their information digitally.  There information can be far reaching and have a large audience.  The challenge is ensuring the safety of students when sharing their presentations and information, as well as, easing the nerves of parents who may not want their students work published.  To help solve this problem, districts should create plans for teachers and parents to understand how students are being kept safe on the internet.  In addition, students should be taught internet safety, such as not sharing full names and location, as well as, not responding to inappropriate comments or personal questions.  

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching, 7th Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780133955439/

Relative Advantage – Technology in Social Studies — November 6, 2016

Relative Advantage – Technology in Social Studies

There a million ways to integrate technology into the classroom.  There is an endless amount of tools for all content areas and topics.  But the key to utilizing these technologies is to use them to enhance the learning environment.  They are not simple replacements of past tools, but enhancements allowing students to reach further outside the classroom walls and engage them in the content at hand.  As a social studies teacher global outreach, collaboration and accessing resources  are an important part of shaping good citizens.

Encouraging Collaboration

Having the use of Google Docs and other collaboration tools increases students ability to work with others.  This is an important life skills that students should attain.  In social studies, using collaborative tools encourages students to work with people of different cultures, backgrounds, learning abilities, and socio-economic status.  This is essential in creating 21st century citizens and workers who can collaborate and create with others (Cox, 2015).

Assessing and Evaluating Resources

Part of being a global citizen in the 21st century is being able to find your way through a sea of resources and information.  An important skill I must teach my 8th graders is how to evaluate their sources, view bias, and corroborate information to gain knowledge and form opinions.  Technology allows students to have immediate access to these resources.  It also allows them to fact check and corroborate almost instantly.  Additionally, students can collect and annotate their resources using online tools.  Sites like Diigo, Scoop.it, and others allow for collections of resources that students can then use to write, create, analyze, investigate and more.  

Other advantages of technology include the ability to find resources for students of all learning levels.  Digital articles can be shared in multiple reading levels, along with using pictures and summaries to help students comprehend the articles (Roblyer, 2016).  

The technology I use in my classroom will have huge benefits on my students.  It will not only help them learn the social studies content, but also will prepare them for their futures.  Utilizing technology will also “  [set students] up for this increasing digital economy (Cox, 2015).”  To find these advantages it is important to remember, technology is not just simply a replacement, it is an enhancement and an increased opportunity for learning.

Cox, Janelle. “Benefits of Technology in the Classroom.” TeachHUB. N.p., 2015. Web. 06 Nov. 2016.

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Roles of the President —

Roles of the President

rolesofpres-fw

This image will be used multiple times throughout the 8th grade Presidential unit.  Students will first use this image when they are introduced to the roles of the President.  They will then develop definitions for these roles that better help to break down the roles the president fulfills.  In addition, students will use this image as a checklist when creating a daily agenda for the President.

For this image I focused on symmetry and using the white space on either side of the writing to help focus the students.  I also wanted to emphasize the text in the middle as important and necessary to the learners.  By using symmetry and space I was able to chunk the important information and show separation between the title and the content.

Originally I had the roles separated into different text boxes, which was overwhelming to the viewer.  Next I used bullets to separate the roles.  I finally went with the check boxes, to follow past formats I have used, as well as, make his image more usable for the students.