Thursday, February 28, 2013

Assistive Technology Internet Modules

This website is a free resource providing modules in assistive technology.  These modules provide information on assistive technology.  The website also provides links to resources to download materials and locate other websites on assistive technology.  Read below to find some information on three modules found on the website.

AT Assessment Process in the School Environment
This module was extremely important to me as a special education and general education teacher.  What is important at the beginning of this process is to gather information which includes environment and tasks, this information is then used to select the devices/software and services that will be provided to the student.  Something new to me is the considerations that need to take place regarding the student some of these are; which tasks to target, the environments in which the tasks will be performed, obtaining AT options, conducting trials, and progress monitoring.  It is important that the AT team address all the concerns and document each step.  Prior to reviewing this module I was unaware of the multiple models of Assessment Teams.  This was informative to me as a teacher, because I may be in a district where one of these models is used and I will be familiar with the format.  It is important that the AT assessment process be done by a multidisciplinary group of individuals and never by only one person.  The AT feature matching video was informative and it showed and easy, simple way to help match the students skills/needs to an assistive technology device.  Students need a sufficient amount of time to try their AT equipment or software, and in the environments that it will be used in.  It is important that detailed notes and data are collected on each AT used by the student.  This is important to find out what the student has tried and what worked or did not work.  This information will be useful when determining the AT devices used.

An area that I found very interesting and useful at the same time was the AT implementation stage.  This happens after trials of devices and deciding on which on will work best.  It is important because there is multiple pieces of information that need to be discussed and these include training of the AT, environmental considerations, ongoing evaluations, and the roles and responsibilities of team members. A resource provided on the website was a organizer for roles and responsibilities of the team members, it is a AT implementation organizer.  This is definitely something that I will use in my future as a teacher and bring to IEP meetings and use when implementing assistive technology in the classroom.  The transition planning stage is not something that I thought about prior to this module and I have realized its importance because as students transition through their education, there are many challenges and differences that need to be understood and accommodated for.  This is something for me to be aware of in the future and to take time to understand this stage and incorporate it into IEP meetings.  

Some resources provided on the module that can be useful for all teachers are listed below( these resources are posted and provided by the AT Internet Modules website):

AT for Seating, Positioning and Mobility
AT for Communication
AT for Computer Access
AT for Writing, Including Motor Aspects
AT for Composition of Written Material
AT for Reading
AT for Math
AT for Organization
AT for Recreation and Leisure
AT for Activities of Daily Living
AT for Blind/ low vision
AT for Deaf/Hard of Hearing
AT for Multiple Challenges

AT Consideration in the IEP Process

This module focuses on AT consideration in the IEP process.  According to IDEA 2004, assistive technology needs to be considered with all students receiving special education services.  The Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology group provides a guide for best practice with AT services that correspond with legal mandates and federal laws.  Some general questions to ask when considering AT at and IEP meeting are (1) What areas of need are not being met? (2)What goals and/or benchmarks do not have the necessary tools for achievement? (3)What tasks require adult assistance to complete?  When making the decision on what type of AT to use, data can be organized into a SETT (Student, environment, task, tools; example show above) Framework. There are many forms that IEP team members use during the decision making process and OCALI Checklist is one.  This form assesses how the student functions in academics, communication, access, activities of daily living, social behavior, vision and hearing.  This form can help IEP team members to recommend and decide on appropriate AT devices for the student.  When an AT assessment is decided during the IEP meeting, it must be written in the IEP as a service, indicating the areas of concern. Some tools to guide assessment are SETT framework, Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative,  Georgia Project for Assistive Technology, and Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology Guiding document.
This section of the module was useful and informative.  The information provided will be extremely useful to my future IEP meetings as a professional.  There were many resources that were useful that I have now found easily accessible thanks to this module.  My knowledge on the IEP process and decision making process of AT has increased, and I have much more to learn.  After completing this, it has sparked my interest in the field of AT at the school age level.  

Automatic Speech Recognition

Automatic Speech Recognition is a computer software that allows a person to control a computer using speech.  There are many people that can benefit from ASR software including those with physical disabilities that are unable to manipulate writing tools, those who struggle with writing and spelling such as the mechanics or the writing process, and many others to help increase typing speed and accuracy. ASR can be used in many environments, ideally it should be a quiet workspace.  In the classroom, it can be difficult because words are no longer just on paper for one person to read, and they can be private thoughts.  When using ASR all those thoughts become open for all to hear.  This is something to take into consideration because not all students/people like having everybody hear what they are thinking.   There are many ASR products, depending on the needs of the user, each one has its advantages and disadvantages, below are the links to access information on these products.
This is a very useful product to have available to all students in the classroom.  I have had the opportunity to use Dragon in high school and even for me, who is physically able to write and type and has experienced no difficulties thought it to me a useful tool. I am able to write well when speaking out loud and this product allows me to do that and type it at the same time. This is a product that is free in some cases but for the Dragon home software it is a reasonable price and this is reasonable software to have in the classroom.  This would definitely be an investment in my classroom in the future.

Common ASR Software and Devices:

Dragon Mobile Applications
Dragon Naturally Speaking


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Common Assistive Technology Devices

There are so many assistive technology devices out there available, how can an educator choose which one would be best for their student?  Listed below are some common assistive technology devices, including a description of what the device/or software does or how it works, and who would benefit most from this device/software.  Some videos and pictures are included to help in the understanding of the device/software.  Not all the devices listed below are only for students with disabilities some have a Universal Design that allows them to be valuable and beneficial to all students. 

Word Prediction Software
This software predicts the word that the student intends to type, these predictions are based on spelling, syntax, and frequent/recent use.  This tool benefits students who struggle in writing. 
Below readers can find a video (the left) of an Assistive Technology Specialist discussing and demonstrating the a word prediction software.  To the right is an picture showing a screen shot of what a word prediction software may look like including the words that are able to be chosen for that sentence.  

Talking Word Processor Software
This software provides speech feedback as the student writes, it echos each letter that is typed and each word when a space bar is pressed.  This program works well wit students who experience writing and reading difficulty.

Below readers may view a VIDEO TUTORIAL demonstrating and describing a talking word processor software.  This tutorial was very useful for me.  When I am researching a particular software or device there are many out there that are difficult for me to fully understand and get a picture of how it is used and this software is one of them.  The tutorial was easy to follow and listen to, the video was clear and the software was easily visible for me to read and understand.  The speaker on the tutorial spoke clearly and identified many features of the software that someone needs to be aware of.  The picture below shows the highlighted text which indicates a portion of the sentence that will be repeated in speech.
Naturally Speaking Voice recognition software
This software allows someone to dictate speech into written text.  This software is used best by students who exhibit difficulties in writing.
Below readers can find a video demonstrating an automatic speech recognition software.  The speaker says some phrases including punctuation and the software types them into the document.

Scan and read software
The software allows someone to scan a piece of paper into a computer, the software will then translate the document into a digital format so the document can be read and edited.This software can be useful to many individuals including those with low vision or blindness, person with a learning disability, dyslexia, and those with physical impairments.
The video below demonstrates a scan and read software.  The document is scanned into the computer and then have it read back to you.  The document is read to you and the text is on the screen.

Books on cd
Printed book are provided in a digital or cd version to allow readers to listen to written material.  Books on cd are most valuable to individuals with low vision or blindness, phyical impairments or reading difficulties.  Books on cd are an example of Universal Design, because they can be used by a large population of individuals not just those with a disability.
Below the video shows an example of the book Treasure Island as an audio book.  

Multisensory educational software
 This software uses all pathways of learning simultaneously.  When instruction is delivered all three ways together the whole brain is working and information will get placed into long-term memory.  This software can be beneficial to all students but is most valuable to students with dyslexia.
This video below shows an example of TouchMath Software for 2nd grade.  The video shows an example of basic addition using regrouping.

Adapted keyboard
Some adapted keyboards have been redesigned and adapted to fit the needs to a specific disability.  There are one-handed keyboards, large tactile keyboards, alphabetic keyboards, virtual on screen keyboards.  All the keyboards available can help a multitude of individuals some of which include physically disabled, visually impaired, and learning disabled.    

The video below is an example of an adapted keyboard to meet the needs of the individual who is demonstrating its use.

Portable word processor
This is an alternative device to a laptop computer.  This device allows text to be uploaded or downloaded to and from a computer.  The word processing program allows the student to edit and correct work more effectively. This device can be helpful to students who struggle in writing, or have poor handwriting students with attention deficits can benefit from this device as well.
The video below was constructed by a professional writer who describes the benefits to using a portable word processor. 

Assisted Literacy Software
This software is a program that ensures a foundation in early reading skills.  It provides students practice with phonemic awareness and alphabetic knowledge.  This software can help all students in the classroom to ensure that the foundations of reading are secure.  
The video below shows a student and his tutor working on phonemic awareness skills with the K-PALS software. 


Voice Output Communication Device

These devices are designed with communication being the primary goal.  There are text-based programs and symbol- based programs, that store frequently used words or phrases.These devices are used most by individuals who have unintelligible speech or unable to speak.
The video below is an overview of voice output communication devices, examples and advantages and disadvantages.  

Type to Learn Software to teach keyboarding skills

This software provides typing instruction for grades K-12.  It includes a demonstration, typing practice and assessment.  It reinforces row positioning and finger placement.  This program can be useful to all students including students with disabilities to help them become more efficient at using a keyboard.  
The video below demonstrates a step by step in the Type To Learn 3 program.  The speaker informs us that once you complete the first lesson, the games will open up and become available. 

Electronic Touch Tablet
This is a one piece mobile device, which is available in a variety of sizes.  Most keyboarding is completed on the screen itself, but attachable/wireless keyboards are available.  The device allows software and applications to be downloaded directly onto the device.  The applications available are limitless from speech therapy tools, to math, and reading and writing. This device is currently being used in schools.  It is used by all students including those with disabilities. 
The video below shows clips of Ipads being used in schools in many different content areas with many different students.  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

UDL Module Goals Rubric and Evaluation

After reviewing multiple websites that included resources introducing UDL and the principles and guidelines that make it so successful.  I have had to opportunity to research these principles and makes connections between other texts, to my own teaching experiences and to my future teaching experiences if necessary.  The resources provided have helped me realize what areas of planning and teaching that I have room to improve on as a professional.

Demonstrate appropriate understanding of the Principles of UDL
Student understands the three principles of UDL and is able to explain each principle. 
Student understands the principles of UDL and is able to explain 1-2 principles. 
Student understands the principles of UDL but is unable to explain the principles. 
Student does not understand the principles of UDL and is unable to explain the principles. 
As noted in my blog posts I have been able to identify, explain and reflect on the 3 principles and goals of UDL.
Identify UDL areas appropriate for your current or potential teaching positions
Student is able to identify 3 or more areas of UDL that can/will be used in professional practice. 
Student is able to identify 2 areas of UDL that can/will be used in professional practice.
Student is able to identify 1 area of UDL that can/will be used in professional practice.
Student is unable to identify areas of UDL that can be applied in professional practice. 
Throughout multiple posts I have been able to identify strategies, resources and materials that I would use in a future teaching position. 
Critically reflect of UDL practices
Student is able to reflect on 3 or more principles of UDL in instructional planning and practice.
Student is able to reflect on 2 principles of UDL in instructional planning and practice.
Student is able to reflect on 1 principle of UDL in instructional planning and practice.
Student does not reflect on the principles and practices of UDL in instructional planning or direct instruction.
I was able to compare and contrast my pre/post lessons and how incorporating makes my own teaching and planning enhanced. 
Apply UDL principles in instructional planning
Student applies all three principles of UDL into instructional planning.
Student applies two principles of UDL into instructional planning.
Student applies one principle of UDL into instructional planning.
Student applies no principles of UDL into instructional planning. 
Based on my post lesson plan I was able to apply UDL principles to enhance the quality of my lesson planning and increase student engagement, expression multiple means of representation.


This past module has provided me a detailed introduction into the Principles and Guidelines of the Universal Design for Learning.  Having the opportunity to review different websites and resources that follow principles and guidelines of UDL.  While posting on the blog it allowed me to share my opinions and viewpoints with others that may or may not be aware of what resources are available.  Using the blog in a class is useful to me as a professional because I can see what information others have found and how their viewpoint differs from mine.  Also since there is so much information out there that is available and it is near impossible to look at everything there is an research everything.  Having the opportunity to see what others have found and how they could use the same information in their own classroom.

Before completing this module, I heard of UDL but never understood the principles of it.  Now reviewing the websites and resources from the module I have a clearer understanding of what UDL is and how it can be used in instructional planning and direct instruction.  I have now found a way to amplify my lessons and increase student engagement, and student understanding.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pre/Post UDL Lesson Plan

The previous blog postings have provided introductory information and resources for me to help me improve my teaching and also my instructional planning.  This post takes UDL principles and guidelines previously discussed and incorporate them into a lesson plan.
I have had the opportunity to take a lesson plan that I have previously taught to a class of third graders, and take strategies and information from the resources listed on the blog and update my lesson plan by incorporating UDL principles and guidelines. My post lesson plan I have added multiple means of representation and added technology that was available to the class.


Scholastic News A Visitor to Mars

Audience: 3rd Grade Students
Behavior: Students will identify the main idea and supporting details
Condition: After reading Scholastic News
Degree: Complete a graphic organizer/worksheet.    
1.1.3.D Demonstrate comprehension/understanding before reading, during reading, and after reading on grade level texts through strategies such as retelling, summarizing, note taking, connecting to prior knowledge, supporting assertions about text with evidence from text, and non-linguistic representations. 
                        Computer- Scholastic News Online
                                    Edition 3 A Visitor To Mars
                        Scholastic News
            Anticipatory Set:
            Have students look at the front cover of Scholastic News and ask them to make predictions on what they think they are going to learn about or is there something interesting in the magazine.
Talk to about the planet Mars, and show them the video from Scholastic Online to give an introduction about the planet Mars and Curiosity.   
Guided Practice: 
After viewing the video have students open up their magazine and turn to the Roaming the Red Planet.  Talk with students about what is on the page, point out the circle picture and the caption.    Talk to students about the words to know box at the bottom of the page.  As a group complete the Main idea of the worksheet together.  Talk about the there can be more than one main idea.  Then go down to the details section of the worksheet.
            Independent Practice:
After students have been introduced to the article, allow them to read the article on their own.  After all students have had the opportunity to read the article bring them back and show the main idea work sheet.  If students finish early allow them to read the next two articles in the magazine. 
After all students have completed the worksheet.  Bring all the students back and play the online review game.             
Students will be assessed on completion of the Main Idea worksheet.
Assessment Questions to ask during lesson
1.     What is a main idea?
2.     Do you think there is life on Mars after reading this article?
The teacher will hold students accountable for completion of the assigned worksheet. 
1.     As a class complete the ‘It’s money Time!” worksheet.  Going over timelines and important dates in the history of U.S. money.
Adaptations for Learning Differences
            Gifted Students:
-       Complete the multiple choice on the back, and SPLASH the article
Students with Learning Difficulties:
-       Working in small groups
-       Teacher assistance
-       Work with a partner

UDL Checklist Objectives Present in Pre- UDL lesson plan:

  • 1.1 Customize the display of information
  • 1.3 Provide alternatives for visual information
  • 2.1 Define vocabulary and symbols
  • 3.2 Highlight critical features, big ideas, and relationships
  • 8.2 Vary levels of challenge and support
  • 9.3 Develop self-assessment and reflection

Post UDL Lesson Plan

Subject Area: Scholastic News A Visitor To Mars

Key Concept (Standard): 1.1.3.D Demonstrate comprehension/understanding before reading, during reading, and after reading on grade level texts through strategies such as retelling, summarizing, note taking, connecting to prior knowledge, supporting assertions about text with evidence from text, and non-linguistic representations.

HOOK (for all students):

Ask students to look at the picture on the front cover and have students talk to their partners about what they think it is or have they ever seen something like it before.

ALL STUDENTS WILL: Students will identify the main idea and supporting details, using a graphic organizer, after reading Scholastic News article Roaming the Red Planet.

Multiple Means of Representation:
Print magazine  video clips    audio
digital magazine( individual laptops) graphic organizer

Multiple Means of Engagement:
Small groups          
difficulty levels

Multiple Means of Expression:
Cooperative learning groups
Individual choice
Headphones (for computer)

Instruction Delivery: After viewing the video allow students to get their laptops and log on to scholastic news online to Roaming the Red Planet.  Talk with students about what is on the page; point out the circle picture and the caption.    Talk to students about the words to know box at the bottom of the page, show students that if there is highlighted word you are not sure of to click on the word and a box will come up to read the definition and hear the definition, some provide pictures if necessary.   Complete the main idea and supporting details of a shorter article in the same issue of Scholastic News.

Guided Practice: As a group complete the Main idea of the worksheet together.  Talk about that there can be more than one main idea, and review what is a main idea? Place the main idea worksheet on the ELMO projector to view as a class, write down exactly what the students are writing down, provides visual and auditory information, zoom in on the specific are currently working to make text larger on the projector.  After determining the main idea of the article, have students write it on the lines designated for the main idea.   Next is talking about details, review what is a detail and how a detail supports the main idea (for example if the main idea of the article is Mars the detail should not be about life on Earth).  Brainstorm as a class some supporting details from the article, and write them on the lines where details should be placed. 

Assessment Activity: After students have been introduced to the main idea and supporting details of an article allow them to read Read Roaming the Red Planet independently and fill out the main idea and supporting detail worksheet.  For students unable to write there is an option on the computer to download the graphic organizer and type in the boxes.  Students have either option to complete the graphic organizer.  

UDL Checklist Objectives Present in Post UDL lesson plan:

1.1  Customize the display of information
1.3 Provide alternatives for visual information
2.1 Define vocabulary and symbols
3.1 Provide or activate background knowledge
3.2 Highlight critical features, big ideas, and relationships
3.4 Support memory and transfer
4.2 Provide varied ways to interact with materials
4.3 Integrate assistive technologies
7.1 Increase individual choice and autonomy
8.2 Vary levels of challenge and support
8.3 Foster  collaboration and communication
9.1 Guide personal goal-setting and expectations
9.3 Develop self-assessment and reflection
After comparing my pre and post lessons I have realized how much more thought and time I placed into the post lesson.  I was able to incorporate much more high interest materials and resources that were already available.  This can help maintain and increase student interest in the assignment. Since this was a lesson that was already taught I was able to visualize walking through the lesson and find areas that I could improve on and ways that I can make the lesson and the instruction much better.   The approaches that I struggled to add were multiple means of engagement and since this is my area of need when it comes to UDL I struggled to incorporate strategies.  I thought about the lesson through the eyes of a third grader and thought to myself what would make this lesson “cool” or “awesome” to a 9 year old, and it made me realize how much they love being on the laptops and how extremely focused they are on the work they are completing when working on the laptops so providing them two options made the lesson much more interesting in my opinion and engaged the students because they had a choice of how to read the articles and complete the assignment.