Posts Tagged With: edtech 541

Rationale for Assistive/Adaptive Technology

In the educational world of schools, universities, and libraries tight budgets seem to be the norm.  Although education is so extremely important, the funds just don’t seem to be enough.  One educational institution may ask, “how can we justify spending a lot of money to buy assistive technologies that might only be used by a small number of students?”.  This a great question, in which I would like to offer three reasons as to why the money will not only be justly spent but wisely invested in assistive technologies.

1. It’s illegal to not spend the proper funds for providing for special education needs.

“In the U.S., the major law in this area is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), first passed in 1975. This federal law authorizes special education to all students with disabilities ages 5 through 18, and to students with disabilities, ages 19-21, if enrolled in a special education program prior to the 19th birthday and if not yet graduated from a prescribed course of study. IDEA entitles students with disabilities to an education which meets their individual needs in the least restrictive environment and at no cost to the student or parents. (Need and the concept of “least restrictive” must be determined on a case-by-case basis.) Special education can include more than academics: it also may include independent living skills and vocational training” (Infinitec, 2014)

2. The number of people requiring Assistive/Adaptive Technology is rising. In listing some of the challenges with special education Roblyer and Doering explain there is an, “increase in the number of children with autism” (Roblyer & Doering, 2013 p. 414).  With the increasing number of special needs students, the investment will go further because it will be used on more individuals rather than a few.

3. Using Assistive/Adaptive Technology is effective and fulfills many teaching needs.  This technology is useful for special needs as well as average students.  The many avenues that may be used to teach special needs students can also be used to teach average students.  The almost limitless amount of tools makes the investment more worthwhile too.  It’s like purchasing a swiss army knife for education because of the powerful teaching strategies that may be used. In an article published on Edutopia by Yuri Wellington a technology coordinator for Hana High and elementary schools, showcases success stories of assistive technology for three individual students.  She concludes, “We know that many students love computers and that, in many cases, technology motivates them to learn. We know that computers and adaptive technology allow students to perform the same or similar work as their peers but at their own pace and in a setting where the information is presented in a manner best suited to their individual learning styles and needs. From our experiences at Hana, we also know this: that the benefits Eli, Taba, Camille, and other students with special needs have derived from the technology make all the effort worth it!” (Wellington, 1998)

A great way to sum up the need for Assistive Technology is in the words by Matthew Lynch Ed. D,  “Assistive technology is important for providing a sound education for K-12 students with disabilities but benefits the greater good of the country too” (Lynch, 2013). When an education institution is going over the dwindling budget, the best future investment is in Assistive/Adaptive Technology because it is worth it!

Resources

Infinitec – Learn – Finding the Money. (n.d.). Infinitec – Learn – Finding the Money. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from http://www.infinitec.org/learn/money/schoolfunding.htm

Lynch, M. Ed. D (2013, October 15). Assistive Technology: A Necessity for Student Success. The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-lynch-edd/assistive-technology-a-ne_b_4099477.html

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating education technology into teaching. (6th ed., p 122). Pearson.

Wellington, Y. (1998, May 1). Assistive Technology Success Stories: Opening the World of Education to All Students. Edutopia. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from http://www.edutopia.org/assistive-technology-success-stories

 

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EDTECH 541-Obstacles and Solutions for Integrating Technology in Seminary

Integrating technology into education has many advantages.  There are almost endless tools available from web and mobile apps.  One of the great benefits to many of these tools is that they are free, or at least a trial version is available in which most of the basic needs may be met, and easy to obtain.   With the many advantages of integrating technology into learning environments there are also some obstacles.

Some of the biggest obstacles I have faced with integrating technology in Seminary classrooms is the lack of resources.  it is obvious to me that technology tools for standard education would take precedence because release-time seminary programs are very few compared to U.S. schools.  It can be very difficult especially attempted to take the core learning disciplines such as art, math, history, science, music, english, etc and use technology tools to have these subjects relate to seminary.  The resources for such activities are not available because of the lack of demand. 

Notwithstanding the lack of demand for these tools, there are a great number and increasing number of tech tools available for seminary.  One solution I have found for overcoming the lack of tech tools obstacle is by taking already made tools and adapting them for seminary.  This process requires more time and creativity, but if carefully searched, the tools can be found.   On the blog page of Jonathan F. Sullivan he suggests a number of ways to use technology in religious education.  One of the issues we all face is affording technology.  He suggests a number of resources to use that are free and available to help with integrating technology tools in religious education. In Sullivan’s webinar he accepts the obstacles and provides solutions and reasons for using tech tools in religious education. One main suggestion Sullivan gives is to have a “willingness to try new things, especially based on “best
practices” in pedagogy” (Sullivan, 2013).  One of the main solutions to overcoming the obstacles of integrating technology is to do as Sullivan suggest, “try new things”.  I have found this to be the case when using technology tools especially in the pioneering age of integrating technology into religious education.

 

Resource

Sullivan, J. (2013, May 2). Webinar Notes: Integrating Technology in Religious Education on a Parish Budget. JonathanFSullivancom. Retrieved April 22, 2014, from http://jonathanfsullivan.com/2013/05/webinar-notes-integrating-technology-in-religious-education-on-a-parish-budget/

 

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EDTECH 541-Relative Advantage of Using Technology in Art, Science, and Health

The main content areas of learning in the arts and sciences are: Language arts, social studies, math, the arts, and science.  For many many years these subjects have been studied and taught in many ways.  Now with the many technology tools we have, these core contents in the arts and sciences can be understood in deeper ways.  Take for example art.  Now with the internet, one may see historical art from wherever they are and study it virtually.  One doesn’t need to travel to foreign countries or exotic museums to learn and appreciate art.  In order to learn art, one may take a step by step tutorial online to learn the basics.

Another example of the great advantage of using technology to enhance learning the arts and sciences is in the way music may be understood. Imagine learning the basics of playing the piano or keyboard without even having one!  Sure practice will be required but if one puts in the time in an online course, even without an actual instrument, much of the basics will be learned.   This can be applied to not only learning to play an instrument but also in composing and producing music.  With software for music production such as Garageband students can “compose music in traditional and nontraditional ways” (Roblyer & Doering, 2013 p. 360).   Students can create music using a recording device or they may simulate the music to compose it.   The software today and the microphones are so simple and effective to use, anybody can start to learn. 

Not only is anybody able to learn art or music with technology tools, but also physical fitness can be enhanced by online tools.  Anybody that exercises knows that consistency and goal tracking is the key to success.  What about diets?  What about workout routines?  What if I lose count of my reps?  With online and small digital devices these problems are solved quickly.  Motivation is also necessary for success in physical health.  One way to encourage motivation is by using the online tool of risk assessment.  This program asks the “user to input data regarding his or her lifestyle” (Roblyer & Doering, 2013 p. 387) and then gives the risk for health problems.   

kinect

With so many technology tools almost every core content in the arts and sciences may be taught and enhanced eliminating some learning problems.  These tools allow for a deeper understanding of the content because the tools allow deeper involvement from the learner.

Resources

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating education technology into teaching. (6th ed., p 122). Pearson.

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EDTECH 541-Internet Safety Guidelines and Resources

While there are so many powerful teaching tools found on the internet there are also very dangerous and degrading sources found on the internet.  One of the most important things as educators and students of education is how to safely use the internet.  There are at least 5 potential problems that can be faced while using the internet.

1.  Accessing sites with inappropriate materials
2.  Safety and privacy issues for students
3.  Fraud on the Internet
4.  Computer viruses and hacking
5.  Copyright and plagiarism issues
(Roblyer & Doering, 2013 p. 214-216)

The above list may seem frightening and maybe even discouraging for students and educators to use the internet.  However, if the proper safety guidelines are taught, learned, and followed, the Internet can be a safe and powerful tool.  To combat students accessing dangerous sites firewalls are being used to prevent access as well legal actions to ensure that these filtering systems are in place. Although filtering helps to eliminate most of the threats there are still some important guidelines and methods that any internet user should be aware of.  Some basic safety guidelines methods are:

1.  Keep virus protection software up to date
2. Download only from reputable sites
3.  Never open email attachments from unknown senders
4.  Never open email attachments until you confirm their intent
5.  Teachers should teach students the rules of plagiarism and copyright
6.  Use sites to check for and prevent plagiarism
7.  Use firewalls and other software that filter content
(Roblyer & Doering, 2013 p. 216)

Another recent area of concern is Internet use addiction.  Youth today can be very addicted to using the internet, especially social networks.  One website, www.internetsafety101.org  has some age-centered guidelines that are very useful in helping the rising generation use the internet and technology in appropriate ways.  Using the Internet and its tools isn’t without it’s risks but knowing the basic guidelines and risks help keep educators and students safe from harmful activity on the web.

Resources

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating education technology into teaching. (6th ed., p 122). Pearson.

www.internetsafety101.org 

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EDTECH 541-Relative Advantage of Using Multimedia in the Classroom

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EDTECH 541-Relative Advantage of Spreadsheets and Databases in Seminary

Among the many great tools on the internet for educators there are Spreadsheets and Databases.  Since the idea of Spreadsheets first originated in 1961 (Power, 2004) this tool have become available on PC’s.  What has recently made Spreadsheet and Databases so powerful has been the online access available through the internet.  Collecting data is enhanced greatly when it’s easier to collect!  By having such easy access, online Spreadsheets and Databases benefit educators and learners.

Using Spreadsheets and Databases have many benefits in all types of classrooms. The Seminary Classroom is located off of school campus and is independent of school resources making Spreadsheets and Databases great tools for collecting information, registering students, and tracking grades outside of the school.  These tools can also be used in a Seminary classroom, namely as calendars, enrollment forms, grade sheets, and integrating rubrics into lesson previews.  Examples of how I will use these resources can be found here.

One of the greatest examples of relative advantage of using Spreadsheets and Databases in the Seminary classroom is in how much time is saved. “Spreadsheets save valuable time by allowing teachers and students to complete essential calculations quickly” (Roblyer & Doering, 2013 p. 122).  Even though calculations are usually done in math classes, Seminary classes still collect data.  A monthly reading count is taken for each class.  While collecting these numbers is simple calculating, time is greatly reduced by using spreadsheets.

Another tool is Databases.  Databases in seminary are great for filling out forms of enrolled students and also for tracking assignments for grading.  Databases may also be used for lessons and activities.  One activity in particular is the March Madness one created as a sample lesson plan.  Students will use an online form to track their points for the activity.  The information is immediately collected and students will be able to compare and see quickly how well their class is doing.  It is because of these great tools that these great activities can be performed which provides every student a greater learning experience overall.

Resources

Power, D. J., “A Brief History of Spreadsheets”, DSSResources.COM, World Wide Web,http://dssresources.com/history/sshistory.html, version 3.6, 08/30/2004.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating education technology into teaching. (6th ed., p 122). Pearson. 

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Edtech 541-Relative Advantage of using Powerpoint in the classroom

Powerpoint is an universal and powerful tool.  However, like many tools that are easily accessible they are often misused. PowerPoint, if used as a tool in the classroom can prove to be very effective.  The “death by powerpoint” saying I believe refers to the teaching aspect of using PowerPoint and not necessarily the tool.  Without proper methods of using PowerPoint the presentation can become very plain and boring.  Although images and other visual tools are used in PowerPoint, if not done correctly it can lead to some “dead” lessons, leaving the students begging to leave.

PowerPoint is a very useful tool however.  In an article by Dr Patti Shank titled Using PowerPoint Effectively in Your Courses she describes the upside and downside of powerpoint.  PowerPoint is widely available, easy to use (to build slides, etc) and it’s visual. (Shank, 2011).  The downsides are not necessarily caused by PowerPoint as a tool but rather the one using the tool.  Too much text is a major mistake many users do. Shank lists things we can do to more effectively use PowerPoint for example not dumping, “a bunch of stuff  onto your slides” (Shank, 2011).

Looking at the way I use PowerPoint it’s been good for me to look at some of the tips of effective use.  I found PowerPoint to be the substitute for the whiteboard when I have quotes or other visuals to use in my lessons.  I use PowerPoint as a shortcut.  However, I have found that there is some great value in carefully constructing a powerful PowerPoint to help students engage rather than feel encaged.  One suggestion from Shank is to, “consider what you can do to make the experience more active” (Shank, 2011) by having students choose the topics to study.  One reason why PowerPoint may not be used very effectively is because of the time it takes to create an effective presentation. For me, using PowerPoint is an effective tool for quickly allowing me to make visible important quotes  and so taking extra time to create an elaborate presentation doesn’t seem reasonable for me on every lesson.  I do see the great value in understanding and avoiding the pitfalls of PowerPoint so that no matter what I am presenting it won’t lead to dead lessons.

Resources

Shank, P. (2011, May 06). Using powerpoint effectively in your courses. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional-design/using-powerpoint-effectively-in-your-courses/

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