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.

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Relative Advantage to Games in the Classroom — October 23, 2016

Relative Advantage to Games in the Classroom

As the education field has evolved, an emphasis has been put on student centered learning.  No longer do teachers stand in front of the classroom lecturing about a given topic, now it is expected that students are immersed in their learning environment, practicing and applying the skills they are learning.  Students are expected to guide their learning and continue striving towards more to achieve mastery.  But not all subject areas can be “practiced” in a traditional classroom.  So how can teachers lead students to real world practical experiences with the skills they are learning?  Educational Games can allow for this “real world” experience to happen.  Students can practice skills like creating a roller coaster, or applying medical treatment, without leaving the classroom.  They can receive instant feedback for their achievements or misconceptions and continue working towards success.  

Research shows that the use of games in the classroom can lead to student success.  Judy Willis, of Edutopia cites that games allow for constant feedback to the learner.  They are able to work towards achievable rewards in specific levels and decipher if they are correct or not.  When correct student’s brains are stimulated by the release of dopamine.  This type of reaction motivates learners to continue and helps them retain the information they are learning (Willis, 2011).  Recently, Yale researchers found that short video games can stimulate the learners brain.  The researchers referred to these short video games as “mental stretching.”  The can excite students about the material at hand and prepare them for the day of learning (Banville, 2016)

The idea of using games in education has grown so much over the past few years that it was recently included in the “Every Student Succeeds” legislation. The legislation cites games as an important part of student success.  Games can be used to increase collaboration and problem solving skills.  It also suggests that games can be used as an assessment tool (Banville, 2015). Teachers should utilize sites such as iCivics to identify games that promote and stimulate learning.  Games in education should not just be used as a reward, but they can be used to encourage learning and as the learning task!  Even better, students can be involved in making the games!

Banville, Lee. 2016 may test the government’s commitment to learning games. Games and Learning. Classroom Use, 28 Dec. 2015.

Banville, Lee. Brain trainers may kick start learning in students. Games and Learning. Learning Research, 1 Oct. 2016.

Willis MD, Judy. A neurologist makes the case for the video game model as a learning tool.” Edutopia. N.p., 14 Apr. 2011.

Protected: School Evaluation Summary — August 2, 2015
Protected: Exploring the New Roles of Teachers — July 26, 2015
EDTECH Research: Flipped Classroom Annotated Bibliography — July 23, 2015

EDTECH Research: Flipped Classroom Annotated Bibliography

Creating an annotated bibliography is a great way to begin research.  While I had not done this in a while, I found it to be very useful.  I was able to review multiple sources and evaluate whether they were effective and applied to my needs.  It helped give me a “critical” lens to look though as I read each article, and I feel as if I can take away a lot of new and useful information from my research.  I researched the flipped classroom method, since it is something I am trying to move to in my own classroom.  I was excited to read all of the positive research that has been done on this method.  Many teachers have piloted a flipped classroom, and student survey results and test scores show that it is successful.  My research led me to multiple different methods that could work in my classroom and I am excited to design lessons and units around these ideas.  I particularly like the idea of using primary sources and online discussions outside of the classroom to facilitate discussion prior to class time.  I also found some articles on the “logistics” of a flipped model for a whole school.  This article explained the benefits of having students meet less times during the week and the cost benefit of a flipped model.  While this may not pertain to my current job, it is useful information to consider as I move forward with my career.

I found the Boise State Albertsons Library Database to be very useful in finding scholarly articles on this topic.  I was able to read through the results and their abstracts to discover which sources might be most beneficial. Using APA format was new to me when I began this course.  I have used Purdue Owl and many of the other resources provided to gain a better understanding of how to use APA properly.  While this assignment was time-consuming, it was very useful to my educational growth and research.  I feel confident with new ideas for my classroom in the fall, but also confident in how to continue to research new ideas and information.

Annotated Bibliography