Friday, December 18, 2009

Readings I Enjoyed

One of the readings I enjoyed this semester was Chapter 1 from Integrating Technology and Digital Media in the Classroom. Figure 1-1 on page 2 about the differences in learning in the past before computers and now with the new technology was interesting. Traditionally instruction was "teacher-centered instruction" (Shelley, 2008, p.2) and now it is moving towards "student-centered learning" (Shelley, 2008, p.2). Work was "isolated work" (Shelley, 2008, p.2) and now is moving towards "collaborative work" (Shelley, 2008, p.2). Also learning was "passive learning" (Shelley, 2008, p.2) and is now moving towards "active/exploratory/inquiry-based learning" (Shelley, 2008, p.2). I think allowing the students to have more say and be more active in what they are learning is a good approach to learning. Considering I grew up with the traditional way of learning before computers were even in the classrooms, it is interesting to see how learning is changing with the new technology available. I remember taking a computer programming course my senior year in high school. When I started at college I had to type papers with a typewriter. During my last few years at college (different college than where I started college) I bought my first computer and found out how much easier it was to type a paper on the computer. I am not really that old so it shows you how fast technology has changed and the impact it has had on education. It was interesting reading the section about how the different people at a high school use computers in their daily lives. I enjoyed reading Chapter 1 about technology and about the students who are growing up using the technology daily. I am understanding better the technological world that my children (13 years old and 17 years old) are growing up in. I already had thought about how the college experience for my daughter will be different from when I went to college. I was thinking about how their social experiences will be different since they can easily keep in contact with their friends back home. I had not thought about how the educational experience at college will be very different too. (My daughter has just started looking at colleges since she is in her junior year of high school.) I am already realizing that my children's experiences at elementary, junior high, and high school have been very different from my experiences with school because of all the new technology. Another reading I enjoyed was Chapter 7 from Library 2.0 and Beyond about online social networking. Since I am just becoming familiar with social networks online, I found the descriptions about social networks online and the tips for librarians to create an online presence informative. I just joined Facebook this past summer because a friend I went to college with is keeping in touch with friends via Facebook. I have learned a lot this semester about new technology and am feeling more comfortable using new technology.

Courtney, N. C. (Ed.). (2007). Library 2.0 and beyond. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Shelley, G. B., Cashman, T. J., Gunter, R.E., & Gunter, G. A. (2008). Integrating technology and digital media in the classroom. Boston, Massachusetts: Cengage Learning.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Comments about readings

Chapter 13 of our textbook Technology and the School Library by Odin L. Jurkowski talks about professional development. "Librarians, of all people, understand the need for lifelong learning" (Jurkowski, 2006, p183). I love learning so studying to become a librarian is ideal for me. I remember years ago reading about how some colleges allow senior citizens to audit their classes for free. I remember thinking that I could see myself taking college courses when I was a senior citizen. Talk about lifelong learning. As I am taking my graduate classes now and seeing how much technology there is since I graduated from college, I definitely realize the need to be continually learning about new technology. Jurkowski suggests some good ideas for running a teachers' inservice workshop.

Jurkowski, O. L. (2006). Technology and the school library. Landham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

Assistive Technology, Module 5, Curriculum Connections

It was interesting to take a look at the list of books written about characters who have disabilities. Books would be a great way to help people understand people who have disabilities. Children would be able to read about how children with disabilities are similiar to them (by having some of the same feelings and by liking some of the same things and activities). Children will also be able to read about the challenges children with disabilities face to do many of the activities that we take for granted. I would like to read some of the books on the list. Searching the internet for lesson plans explaining disabilities to students, I found this website with lesson plans for different ages. I have learned that there is a lot of assistive technology available to help people with their challenges. As my son and I explore the possibilities for him to use assistive technology for his learning, I will try my best to recognize and explain his strengths and challenges to the assistive technology specialist. There may be something that is challenging for my son that we do not realize could be helped with assistive technology. I would recommend that teachers and librarians view the assistive technology tutorial. From personal experience, I understand the importance of teachers and librarians understanding disabilities and understanding that there is assistive technology out there that could help their students.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Assistive Technology, Module 4, Etiquette and Awareness

I took the disability quiz and did fine on it. How we speak about a person's disability really can make a difference in how we view a person and more importantly how a person views himself. It is very important not to define the person by their disability. I looked up my local independent living center's website and found out they offer services such as peer counseling, nursing home transition program, home modifications, and training in independent living skills such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, and paying bills. Searching for Assistive Technology websites, I found the following useful sites:
The last website is the website of American University Library in Washington, D.C. It was interesting to find out the library has a full-time Assistive Technology Specialist. Besides learning about assistive technology as a future librarian, I am also learning what is out there and how it can help my son. He has already gone for an Assistive Technology evaluation and we will be going back again one or two more times in order to see the different types of assistive technology available to help him with his writing. The technician ( I am not sure what the proper term is for someone who is conducting an Assistive Technology evaluation) is very patient and is taking the time needed to be sure my son is comfortable with the assistive technology. She is going to have us come back several times because she does not want to overwhelm him. It has been interesting learning about Assistive Technology in this class.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Assistive Technology, Module 3 - Software

iCommunicator ( looks like a wonderful tool for the deaf or hard of hearing. Having speech not only shown as text but also as video sign language on the computer really makes this tool valuable. Also being able to type something that is then turned into speech also helps the person communicate with someone who does not know sign language.

I was impressed with the video about the Dragon NaturallySpeaking where the software will type what the person says. My son saw a demonstration of a similiar program (not sure which program it was because I was talking with the technician while her assistant showed him the program) when we went to an Assistive Technology Evaluation for my son. Right now my son dictates to me or to an aide. Having a program such as this one would help him to be more independent.

It was interesting reading the stories of people using the Kurzweil 3000 ( I am finding that the most interesting way to learn about assistive technology is by reading about and watching videos of people who are using assistive technology and finding out how their lives have improved because of the assistive technology.

I downloaded the 30 day free trial of Inspiration. This software is a great way to create outlines or diagrams. I was able to quickly make up a simple diagram showing the ways my family can include more fruits and vegetables with their meals.

My 30 day trial of Kurzweil 3000 is still downloading so I will have to take a look at that software later.

I am having trouble seeing the videos of the accessibility features already built into my computer's operating system. Those videos sound like they will be very informative.

InfoEyes looks like a great resource for people with low-vision. They can set up a time to actually talk with a librarian through an internet chat room.

As I am learning more about assistive technology, I am realizing the importance for librarians to be aware of the different types of disabilities and challenges their patrons may have and what is available to assist them to be able to use the resources the library has to offer. I can see it being a challenge to figure out what types of assistive technology to get for the library since we may not know what types of disabilities our patrons are dealing with and we probably cannot ask them in some sort of survey due to privacy issues. If we are working in a school library, then we would have access to student IEP's. It had not occurred to me that the school librarian should also be looking at the IEP's of students until we discussed it during one of our chats for my graduate class. It makes sense that we should know about the challenges our patrons face. Maybe in the public library there would be a way for us to advertise the different assistive technologies that we have in the library and also a way for us to discreetly mention that we can work with you to help you access the library's resources.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Assistive Technology, Module 2, Hardware Solutions

On I found touch screens that would make it easier for patrons to interact with the computer. Having an amplification system available for a patron who is hard of hearing would help that person hear the librarian and hear during a program being presentated at the library. A keyboard designed for one hand would help a patron who only has the use of one hand. Foot switches connected to a computer would be an option for patrons who have limited or no fine motor control with their hands. I had no idea of all the different kinds of assistive technology that exists until I started exploring assistive technology for this class. I found the videos where we saw actual people using assistive technology to be especially helpful in learning about assistive technology. Since computers and the internet are now an integral part of many people's lives today, it is important that there are assistive technology solutions such as large print keyboards, one handed keyboards, and foot switches to enable people with disabilities to access computers and the internet. It was interesting learning about video magnifiers. My son has a card game that he wants me to play. I have to have him read the cards to me because the print is so small. I did try using a magnifying glass one time when I was playing with him. It is is also getting harder for me to read the small print on labels. Fortunately I have no problem reading regular size print. I am gaining a better understanding of what it must be like for patrons with low vision.