For this week's blog post, our class was assigned to create their own blog post on a concept based on their major or concentration. At first I was a little nervous about this assignment because I had no idea what I wanted to focus on. In order to prevent myself from freaking out or over analyzing the assignment, I stopped and asked myself, "What is one concept or resource of technology that I still do not feel comfortable using in the classroom at this moment?"
This semester I have experienced the challenges of technology and gained knowledge of it's benefits as well. However, there is one resource that I still did not feel like an expert in prior to this assignment. At the beginning of the semester we touched on how blind students can use the computer today to help them with their education, as well as their day-to-day life. Dr. Strange taught us how to always use the "alt" application on images so that someone who is blind can know what the image is displaying. The computer reads the "alt" to those who are blind.
Although, this application did help me to understand a little bit about how the computer can help a blind person, I still did not feel like I could really teach a blind student or direct them in using technology. Now that the state of Alabama is encouraging Collaborative Education in Elementary schools, I feel that it is necessary for me to know and understand all the resources that can be used to include special needs students into the classroom. I want every one of my students to feel equal, and I do NOT want a student to feel like they are any less important or "different" because of the way God created them. We are all equal and deserve the same amount of education. With that being said, for my own designed blog post I chose to focus on the use of technological resources for blind students.
Upon my search, I was surprised at how many instructional videos there are just on YouTube explaining how to use technology with blind/deaf students. I found videos encouraging the use, explaining how the applications worked, and what the purpose of the different resources are. After conducting my research, these are the instructions I created:
1. Before you begin, watch Assistive Technologies for Vision and Hearing Impaired Children. Afterwards, write a paragraph on how this video from Australia can be adapted and seen in The United States as well.
2. Watch the video about The Mountbatten. This video was created by The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, FL. Write a paragraph explaining what you learned about this resource and how you would use it in your classroom.
3. Watch the video Teaching Math to the Blind that was created by Art Karshmer at The University of San Francisco. Write one or two paragraphs in response to how this resource could help teach math to your blind or deaf students.
4. Watch the video iPad Usage For the Blind that was demonstrated by Wesley Majerus. What is unique about Wesley Majerus?
5. If you still want to know more, watch the video Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child Is Learning On the iPad. This video was created by Denise Robinson to help parents understand how their children are using the iPad to learn.
Now, the second part of this week's assignment is to complete the blog post assignment for myself. I have to be honest, I loved getting to search and put what I have learned in EDM 310 so far into action.
Assistive Technologies For Vision and Hearing Impaired Students
The first video that I picked out inspired me to truly learn more about the assistive technological resources that are created for blind/deaf students. At the beginning of the video there is a clear demonstration of what it would be like to be deaf in a classroom full of students. It is common for humans to over look those who are considered "different". This video really stood out to me because it motivated me to want to help the blind/deaf students of the world. Every child deserves equal and individualized education. I feel the need to make this happen after watching the video from Australia.
Even though the "Assistive Technologies for Deaf and Blind Students" video was created in Australia, it can still be adapted to the lives of American citizens. There is still a need for advancement and encouragement in our special education programs. Sometimes teachers over look these students, or they feel like they cannot truly be included in the class discussions or lessons because of their "disability". However, in my opinion, teachers should be taking advantage of the assistive resources we have today and illuminate the barriers that exist.
"The Mountbatten" video showed viewers how blind students can type in their own way. The mountbatten machine allows the student to type through the use of braile. When a student types words through the feeling of the braile on the mountbatten, the words are transferred to a computer or screen. This is applicable when the mountbatten is connected to the computer or big screen. The blind student can be included in class discussions through the use of the mountbatten because when the teacher asks the blind student a question, the student can answer the teacher by typing on their mountbatten. If the mountbatten is connected to a big screen, it can be visible for the rest of the students.
Teaching Math to the Blind
Art Karshmer explained to viewers the negative side to learning math when a student is blind. When a blind student reads a math problem in braile, from left to right, it is linear. By this I mean that the math problem shows up in a straight line. For example, students who are not blind are able to see a math problem in double linear form. In an addition problem, this helps them to realize which number is larger and line the numbers up according to value.
Mr. Karshmer has created a graph board with columns and rows that can hold pieces of braile together in a double linear form. The students pick up the piece of braile and scan it using a scanner that is connected to a computer. They place the numbers in order. They are then able to view the equation in their minds in a double linear form. This can improve the quality of learning in blind/deaf students at a young age. Mr. Karshmer said that his design can be used up to pre-algebra math. Knowing this, I believe it is good that I know/understand how to use this resource because I will be teaching Elementary Education.
iPad Usage For The Blind
In this video, Wesley Majerus demonstrates how blind/deaf students can use the iPad for educational purposes. It is interesting that he demonstrates this technique because he is actually blind himself. He works for the National Federation of the Blind in Nebraska. He joined the federation while he was in college.
During his demonstration he shows viewers how to use "Voice Over" that is built into the iPad already. All of Apple's products are created and designed to be accessible for the blind and deaf. When using "Voice Over" the person using the iPad simply has to double tap the item in which they are requesting to select. You use three fingers and slide them to the left in order to turn to the next page of applications.
He then proceeds to demonstrate how important the iBook is. This application comes with the iPad, and it does not have to be purchased. The students can choose from books in their iBook, or purchase new books off of iTunes. This application is very convenient for blind/deaf students because sometime books are not always immediately available in braile. A blind student can have the book read to them by using their iPad.
Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child Learning on the iPad
The last video that I found was simply another demonstration of how to use voice over on the iPad. Before researching about technological resources for blind students, I did not even realize that the iPad had all of these options. I had previously contemplated on whether I would want to purchase a Kindle or an iPad. After discovering another one of the iPad's many features, I know that I will definitely be purchasing an iPad as my next big investment. I believe that this device will be on of the best investments towards my future classroom.
I hope all of you bloggers enjoyed listening and learning about the assistive technologies that there are for blind and deaf students. Also, I hope that each of you, current or future teachers, will take what you see and apply it to your classroom. I know I will be applying what I have learned when I teach.