Monday, August 6, 2012
Parker, J., & Telep, T. (2012). Point/counterpoint: Are computer labs obsolete?. Learning and Leading with Technology (L&L), 40(1), Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/learn/publications/learning-and-leading/issues/Point_Counterpoint_Are_Computer_Labs_Obsolete.aspx
The article focuses on whether the computer lab as an educational environment is still useful or is no longer necessary in today's modern society. The argument against computer labs is that they force students to be confined to a single workspace without having to do any social interaction in which they can learn collaboratively with their peers. Computer labs force students to work in a factory style environment where they are required to sit and answer questions or do assignment without any great effort. The argument in favor of computer labs for education states that having students use the computer lab only increases their comfort level with technology. Also, other teachers will spend less time instructing their students how to do their assignments regarding other subjects on the computer. And since some students do not have access to the computers or the internet in their homes then the computer lab allows them an opportunity to do their assignments and familiarize themselves with technology. If teachers take their students to the computer lab, it demonstrates to the students that they are making an effort to educate them further. Students will then be more eager to learn.
Question 1: Which perspective do I believe in?
Answer 1: I think it is important for students to become as familiar with technology as possible. This is because the world is becoming increasingly based if not dependent on technology. By having students use the computer lab more often they will be increasingly knowledgeable on how technology functions and is used in society.
Question 2: How would I use the computer lab as an educator?
Answer 2: As an educator in the subject of history, I would use the computer lab to have students explore topics in history that interests them most. The students will be required to search the internet and find as much information as they can on a topic. The students will take the information that they feel is most important and use the computers to create a group presentation which they can present in class to their peers.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a field that dedicates itself to the communication between and from people with disabilities ragarding communication and/or speech impediments AAC attempts to provide the best communication possibilities for these individuals. AAC supplements or replaces natural speech or communication by using other communication systems such as sign language or technology.
1. Low Tech tool for AAC: The low technological tool I researched to supplement AAC was the Smart/128. It is a communication device meant to provide visual communication through the use of pictures. The Smart/128 provides pictorial communication and some voice capabilities to allow person in need of AAC to communicate with other people. This tool can be used in the classroom by students that require AAC to communicate ideas or sentences to other students in order to become more involved in the classroom.
2. High tech tool for AAC: The high technological tool I researched was the DynaVox Maestro. The DynaVox Maestro is a communication device for students and people that require extra tools to communicate. The DynaVox is an AAC tool which has a camera, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. The DynaVox Maestro also comes with built in speakers and a touch screen. This AAC tool has more options, when compared to the Smart/128, built in that allow students with communication impediments to more effectively communicate with their peers and surrounding people. This tool allows its users to have a access to a language framework which can easily be used ot express language and ideas more easily through its touch screen and speakers. In the classroom this would be useful to allow students that require AAC tools to more actively participate in the classroom and become part of the class conversation.
An input device allows for people to input information into technological devices such as computers through a device such as a keyboard.
Hardware Option: The MyBoard-UC is a color coded computer keyboard with large 1" uppercase letter keys. This keyboard can assist people with vision or motor skill disabilities. Large keys allows people to easily see the letters they want to type into the computer. There are less keys on the keyboard to reduce clutter which helps people with disabilities from becoming confused or overwhelmed by the keyboard. The keys are also color coded to help with location.I would use this in the classroom for students that are visually impaired to be able to use the computers as a technological resource.
Software Option: Keystrokes is a program that serves as a software input device for computers as an easy to use on screen keyboard for people with disabilities. Keystrokes software allows for typing with minimal mobility for those that cannot exert a lot of force. The software also has word prediction capabilities so that users don't have to spend as much time and effort typing large words. Keystrokes also includes a built in editor to help its users input the correct words. The onscreen keynboard software also knows when to become transparent and visible again so the user can see relevant information when they need to. I would use this in the classroom for students that are having difficulty using the hardware keyboard. This software would help students in the classroom that are having difficulty using motor skills as well.