Thursday, November 12, 2009
Assistive Technology - Module #1
I was very excited to begin the Discovering Assistive Technology Learning Program. We are learning so much new technology, but we can't forget about the individuals who need adaptations to technology and programs in order to use them effectively. I checked out the website on celebrities with disabilities. It is amazing to read about them and learn how they handle and cope with their disability. One of the most amazing to me was learning about the actor Jimmy Stewart's stuttering. I never realized it before, but he did show signs of stuttering in his movies and it became part of his charm as an actor. I just thought that was his acting style. It is great that there are so many assistive devices and techniques to help those with limitations. I have noticed in school settings, that accomodating others' needs can actually benefit everyone. In my daughter's classroom at school, there is a child who is hearing impaired. The school purchased a special microphone for the teacher, and so the teacher's voice becomes clearer and louder through the device. The whole class has benefited because they can now hear the teacher more clearly.
Discovery Exercise #1
After reading through the National Federation of the Blind's website and reviewing their videos, I have a better idea of the types of resources available for the visually impaired. If I had a blind child in my mathematics classroom, I would begin by getting a Braille label maker and labeling the things in the room that the child would need to use or need to know to participate fully in the class. I would also purchase manipulatives so the class (not just the student) could do hand learning. I would provide other necessary equipment such as Braille rulers, talking calculators, talking software and books to give the student the same learning capacity as the other students.
Discover Exercise #2
I took a webtour of the Job Accomodation Network. It is exciting to see that there is information for both employers and employees about disabilities and accomodating those disabilities in the workplace. I then went to the National Center for Learning Disabilities website. I was amazed at all the information on the website. This is a resource that all teachers should be aware of. Just looking at the accomodations page, there were 15 suggestions to help students in the classroom - and they were fairly easy to implement. Then, there are a ton of ideas on the effective teaching practices page. I don't think teachers should feel like they don't know how to accomodate children with disabilities after checking out this site. Using any of the suggestions would certainly enhance how I teach and interact with children with learning disabilities.