Saturday, October 31, 2009

Assistive Technology (AT) INTRODUCTION

As a teacher, I am presented with a large group of students with varying needs and must provide for each individual. Therefore, in terms of assistive technology (AT), I would like to know the various technological aids available that would allow my students to be more successful and how I can incorporate their AT needs into a mainstream classroom. In addition, I would like to know the modifications and adaptations available to accommodate my students. One size DOES NOT fit all when it comes to teaching & reaching students. The modifications that can be discovered will ultimately benefit the class in its entirety, not just those in need of AT.

For the habits of a life long learner, I live and breathe the notion. I presently have an end result (and after that is achieved, I will redefine and continue to another level), it is my quest and my quest only as I willingly accept the challenge (with just minor stressing out moments), I know I can do this-I am confident (but a little encouragement from my best friend is ALWAYS welcomed). As I continue my journey my “tools” increase as I have more in my arsenal now then as a young undergrad student and teacher. Furthermore, technology is slowly becoming my friend (although I am still somewhat behind the curve but I will catch up), and most important, I know how to play and I PLAY hard. I continue to encompass the habits of a lifelong learner. I read, listen, inquire, search, take classes to name just a few. There is so much I want to know and so much I want to do.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


THANK YOU for a wonderful learning experience. I am more enriched as a result. Due to this program, I now have more tools for my toolbox and more innovative teaching techniques. I would absolutely participate in another discovery program. I would imagine CL2.0 must have some more tricks to share as the world of technology continues to grow. In addition, I see myself sharing this site with administration, as it would make a worthwhile in-service in a technologically innovative challenged school.

My favorite was the Image Generator. With every additional photo I upload to my computer, I search for new presentation designs. I really enjoy playing with my digital photos—I’m hooked!

To summarize my experience, just as my blog profile indicates…….


Monday, October 19, 2009


With the “digital generation,” they are certainly more mobile and prefer to access their information in a variety of ways. My students have expressed a desire for their text book to be online…certainly on par with the concept of the ebook. Besides despising carrying a heavy, oversized textbook, today’s students prefer and are comfortable with the online connection (unlike myself who does enjoy holding a book while I read, the screen just doesn’t do it for me). With an online version, perhaps more students would do their assignments…at least “I forgot my textbook” would be an excuse of the past.

In exploring ebooks, the British Library Online Gallery ( was amazing. Classic books can be viewed in its original form—amazing! I looked at sketches from Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook, the first atlas of Europe, Mozart’s library, a Renaissance masterpiece…all PERFECT for the classroom. The pages of the book are turned with a simple click (or if shockwave plug is available, it can seem as though the operator is “turning” the pages with the icon), pages can be enlarged, and audio is included!
How cool is that?!?

Sunday, October 18, 2009


The podcast delivers in a story telling mode, especially when listening to debates and various education programs. In addition, with historical speeches, the audio becomes a powerful tool to share in class…and gives more to a lesson.

The Educational Podcast Network was an awesome educational tool. I never imagined the resources that could be gleaned within a podcast ranging from medieval to geography.
I listened to a podcast pertaining to Napoleon.

It was like having a guest professor. That is another aspect of a podcast; different viewpoints can be introduced to students. This does create a different learning experience for students.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I have used YouTube before to watch music videos more than anything else. Occasionally I have looked for a “how-to” video. But this was the first time actually investigating the site…and surprisingly, I have found A LOT more that is offered by the site. I liked how the home page displays videos being watched at that moment, featured videos and the most popular paired down by category. Searching videos is easy with the search bar making suggestions. Once a video is chosen for viewing, related videos are displayed on the side allowing old favorites and new discoveries to be made.

YouTube offers many educational features such as the “how-to” videos or a variety of shows including documentaries (professional as well as “other”). Full length episodes are offered or small video clips that can showcase a point of view, both being perfect for class. I was surprised to find PBS specials on empires and cultures that would be perfect for class (EXCEPT YOUTUBE IS BLOCKED in my district).

Beside the documentary videos (which is too long to imbed in a blog), I searched for some original creations and found the “Librarian Song.” The video fits the focus of this learning experience, as well as a different view of librarians. My best friend will get a kick out of this. Just a word to those who are anxious, fast forward the clip 1 minute, the song will start about then. Here's the link and enjoy the video. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009


The books I added were in preparation for a school project (all having to do with European history). None of my pleasure reading favs are included just yet. Adding books was easy—putting the title (and not even the whole title was necessary, click, and its added—tags can be added, even after the fact. The created library can be displayed numerous ways by just the click of the button...turns out I prefer style “A” which is cover (if available), title, author, date, tags, rating, comments, librarything “tools” –icons that provide site comparison/overall info on the book within the site such as how many people have the book in their library, how many comments were made about the book. There are also other viewing styles to choose. When I clicked on a book I added, I can see who else had added it, the book information, librarything recommendations based on the book itself for additional books just for me, plus member ratings & reviews of the book. Again, since my entire book collection is historical, not many reviews were made, but a few did include some. Overall, my books were not very popular book, with the exception of one. For a full experience, check out the book entitled Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought)—many reviews, ratings, as well as many who have the book within their library collection.

I Loved the Zeitgeist Overview which included top tags, largest libraries, most review books, most popular books, top rated (& lowest rated) authors…and the data continues providing book lovers with the power of community information

Monday, October 12, 2009


Well, it isn’t called “productivity” for nothing. What I liked about Zoho was the mobility without the saving tools (flash drive, CD, disk). I can jump from computer to computer without my flash drive. (and in my school, that is exactly what one does, there is nothing to call your own, survival is all about your ability to go from room to room and computer to computer with multiple people accessing and potentially causing damage). I don’t have to worry about ever forgetting the flash drive again (which has happen leading me to create “Plan B” on the spot for multiple classes as I had ZERO access to my PowerPoints, lesson plans, or worksheets with the flash drive sitting at my on personal computer AT HOME). Using Zoho for my lesson plans will also allow easier access for my administrators as well; plans have to be submitted anyway, so here they are ready for viewing (Not to mention, the collaboration feature that is inherent which may work quite nicely in the planning/writing department).

I published the outline I created using the writing features. The world can see it...or at least anyone with the URL. Check it out:

As wonderful as the Zoho tool was, there were limitations that I discovered. (The site calls itself a “work in progress” so, of course, I love that). Obviously, online access is necessary and there are some features of Word that were not available. Although, there is an offline feature, that might not always be a feasible option. However, the ability to import the documents you have already created is a very big positive.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I went onto the CL2.0 sandbox wiki and found it very easy to navigate. I made an addition to the page without any problem and even added a link. I was able to see the last time the page had been altered as date and time is stamped with the entry. The pages of the wiki were shown on the home page and all I had to do was click. No problem.
The link I added to the wiki was my 1st attempt at a webquest. Check it out--only part I didn't like was no space between my numbered directions.


In addition to the ideas I previously mention in regards to various ways to utilize a wiki (pathfinder, group projects, administratively), there are some great additional ideas I read about in the Shelly Cashman Series, Integrating Technology and Digital Media in the Classroom (2008). They include pseudo web site for students to create, facilitating group collaboration, repository for content, display projects whereas students can share reviews and commentary (p. 193). These are great ideas. Personally, I foresee the use of a wiki eliminating the issue of slackers within group work; the edits/work is all shown. My next group project with my students is going to center around a wiki. Wish me luck :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009


What I found interesting was the different ways wikis were used. I viewed collaborative student study pages, innovative staff use in order to keep track of procedures and assess needs, and a library using it to showcase books and conduct a book chat. Each of these examples show amazing creative use of the wiki tool—the endless possibilities. School & libraries can use wikis within pathfinders, student projects or administratively to keep everyone on the same page. I liked the comparative feature in addition to the fact that it records when updates take place and by who; it eliminates the need to sign off on the work that was done. It is simple to make changes when needed. Pretty cool.

As a side note, wikis, specifically Wikipedia, often come under attack due to its lack of accountability. Basically, anyone can edit or post information without any regard to credentials. This lack of accountability has led the wiki creators to create a new form of Wikipedia known as Citizendium, where authors must register their names/affiliations and subject matter experts serve as editors. This information was gleaned from the Shelly Cashman Series, Integrating Technology and Digital Media in the Classroom (2008, p. 194).