Thursday, November 15, 2012

Debrief on Module 11

     This was one of my favorite modules thus far. As I've stated before; I have never been computer savvy, but this class has been extremely helpful. If you would have asked me before this module to write a newsletter, you would have seen an instant look of panic on my face. Not only was the use of Microsoft Publisher easy to understand, but there were also many fun features to play with. I really enjoyed being creative and playing with different color schemes and formats. Every aspect was nicely laid out and I know that this will be a tool that I will one day use in my own classroom.
     The use of the sign up genius website was so quick and easy. I believe it was very practical. When planning events, so much time can go into the event itself that you don't want to take hours upon hours with different ways of informing others of the event and waiting for RSVP's. Sign up genius is a great and dependable way of informing and giving others a chance to respond.
     I haven't fully seen the use of the drop box technology in action yet, but I like the idea of it. Uploading my work to the drop box was very simple and seems like a great way to share and organize your work. Overall, I am beginning to see more and more how technology can simplify work while making it more enjoyable! 

    

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Social Stories



               Watching the videos and reading the articles was my first interaction with social stories. I must say that I am very impressed with the idea and its applicable use in the classroom. As Cori More says in the article Digital Stories Targeting Social Skills for Children With Disabilities: Multidimensional Learning, "Children develop with different strengths and weaknesses, but many children with disabilities experience deficits in social areas." The point of social stories is to address these deficits with the children and help them overcome barriers. Social stories have the potential to teach students certain tasks and appropriate actions and reactions in different situations. They do not have to take time away from learning as they are short and to the point.
                Learning about the different aspects of social stories and the way sentences are designed was beneficial to not only creating my own story, but understanding the language that is used in stories created by others. It's important to use language that the student understands and the entire story should be written from their perspective. When making a story you should consult and allow the student your addressing to work alongside you. When using effects you don't want anything distracting the student away from the essence of the story itself. When you work alongside a child you can easily see what things work and don't work. 
                The behavior that you choose to address in the story is of great importance. As the healing waters website says "The idea is that the child rehearses the story ahead of time, with an adult. Then, when the situation actually happens, the child can use the story to help guide his or her behavior." It's important to begin with the end in mind. Knowing what behavior you are targeting and why you believe it's important for the child to overcome it will give you motivation to create a useful story and potentially reach success.
                I came up with the idea for my social story from my own experiences and observations at the daycare I work at and the school I observe in. Waiting in lines, especially for non interesting tasks like washing your hands can be a huge issue. The students I had in mind when creating this social video was a student with autism. He struggled with waiting in line, because he felt that he would get behind or miss out on tasks. His feelings of anxiousness causes him to act out in line and become very irritable. This behavior would often lead to many issues with classmates and regaining focus when it was time to get to work. The use of the social video shows this student the appropriate behavior to display in line and assures him that he will not be missing out on anything. Enjoy!   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUley_pF1KM

Friday, October 26, 2012

Google Docs



The use of Google Docs as a collaborative tool was extremely effective. This was my first experience with Google Docs besides the "Getting to Know You" survey. At first I was a little hesitant on how it would all come together, but the document itself is set up so efficiently that it was easy to collaborate with my classmates. I loved that you could click on "see revision history" and the parts that my peers added would hi light in different colors. It displayed all the dates that revisions were made; which made it unique in that you could see the progression of the document over time.
                The actual content of what was in the document (the response to the article) really opened my eyes to my peers perspective. Although we all read the same article there were many points that I didn't pick up on that my peers did. My comprehension of the information increased due to their interpretation of the text. In the realization of this all it became very evident to me that Google Docs is a great tool to use in the classroom! Students need to gain knowledge of their peers work. They need to learn how to collaborate and work with others. Collaboration was never stressed in my high school and since entering into the Exceptional Education Department at Buffalo State I've had to collaborate with my peers often. I can honestly say that collaboration has not only made me a better student, but a better person as a whole. Children need to learn how to express themselves to others and also give room for others to express themselves in return. We need to seek to understand than to be understood. Learning is often most effective when you are growing with those around you. Google Docs provides a great way for students to work together and enlighten each other with knowledge that may have otherwise been missed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

WebQuest and AT


I enjoyed my first WebQuest; there was definitely a lot of information to consume. I learned many new things from the information. Some of the links didn't work, which was annoying, but that could easily be fixed; especially if you made one of your own. In the future, I can see myself using a WebQuest as a learning tool in the classroom. I think it would be interesting to use it as a type of treasure hunt on a certain topic. Each web page they go to will give them clues for the next page and what to look for. They would have a fill in the blank paper where the answers would go. At the end whoever gets done first wins, but there would be some type of prize for every completed WebQuest. I think this is a valuable way to have students read and comprehend information.
                Learning about all the different types of computer software and tools was something completely foreign to me. I had no idea that there are so many different ways to control a computer. AT makes many things accessible. All of this showed me how the true the old time saying "If there's a will, there's a way." is. As a future special education teacher I will come across many different students with different disabilities and I need to be creative, intuitive, and persistent in making their education experience the best!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Social Media in The Classroom

There is no doubt about it; social media has become the major form of communication for people all over the world. I’ve been on Facebook for five years now, and I find it to be beneficial for my social life, but that’s about as far as it went for me. Reading these articles has opened my eyes to another world. I honestly never even considered using Facebook in the classroom. It was surprising to see how many articles there are on this topic, and how many different ideas people have created for using Facebook in an educational setting.
I believe there are many pros to using Facebook in the classroom. Students live in a generation that is technologically based; computers and social media sites is what interest students, so if we can find a way to use this technology in the classroom, then we can find a way to motivate students to learn. After reading these articles, it is obvious that there is so much you can do with sites like Facebook. The web article “100 Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom” from the site Onlinecollege.org gives great examples of how to use Facebook effectively, “Students can post their book reviews for the instructor to grade and other students to read. If it's a peer-reviewed project, then students can more easily access each other's papers online.” This is just one of the many great ideas they provide.
There are many articles that explain cautions that should be taken, and focus that should be given when using social media sites in the classroom. Sarah Kessler puts it well in her blog “5 Best Practices for Educators on Facebook” she says, “Once teachers decide how they’re going to use Facebook, they need to follow through in a way that takes class participation on the social network seriously.” Basically, if you bring Facebook into your classroom and you have a purpose and guidelines as to how it will be used, then you will find it successful. If you use Facebook in the classroom and haven’t researched precautions and ways to use it effectively, your experience with it may be extremely negative with unnecessary issues arising. Most of these issues come from teachers not monitoring the students work and using the internet as a break from lecturing. Poole states it perfectly when responding to a comment from Dr. Netiva Caftori in his blog “Risks Involved in Integrating the Internet Into the K-12 Curriculum, he says “When it comes to children and learning, well-trained teachers should be “bundled” with the Web, as Dr,Netivia Caftori, professor of computer science at North Easter Illinois likes to put it. Teachers should be guides at the side, preparing quality learning experiences for the children in their care.” Educators need to be actively participating and monitoring students work.
I can envision Facebook being used in my classroom in many different ways. I like that you can make polls and have students vote on different issues. It would be cool to set up profiles for past presidents and have the students vote on which one they feel made the most effective changes for our country. Facebook can be a great tool to reach many different people, so why not use it in your classroom to create an awareness of different issues. I am a strong believer that community service projects and awareness of world issues can lead to a better future. It would be awesome to find out what the kids are passionate about and create a page for specific issues. They could use the page to post papers on the issues and ideas for special events.  It would be a great way to create unity in the classroom. Overall, I believe Facebook and other social media sites can assist teachers in making learning more successful and enjoyable.

Monday, September 24, 2012

clp.ly 2.0 Web Tool


Clp.ly is a Web 2.0 tool that takes screenshots of a web page, that can then be embedded into a blog and it can also be saved when you create an account. Clp.ly allows you to add a bookmark on your tool bar, this gives you easy access to take screenshots. A new application that has recently been added to the clp.ly tool, is the use of adding personal notes to your clippings. Your clippings remain active and at any time, they can bring you back to the original site.  You can also search other users clippings on specific information.
I really liked this Web 2.0 tool because I know that I have always struggled with keeping my bookmarks organized and remembering what sites said what. I think clp.ly can be used to keep students organized when doing research, or just searching the web for things that interest them. Clp.ly would be an effective way of enhancing your classroom blogs, and making research more interesting. I believe it would be extremely effective for students with disabilities, for the mere fact that it increases organization and allows information to be found easily. Many students with disabilities need more than just written words to recall information; this is why the use of the screenshot can be helpful to remember what the webpage looks like. I would use this tool in the classroom, when doing research and classroom discussions on blogger, as you can post right from clp.ly to many blogging and social networking sites.
Here is a simple example of a clipping I created: http://s.tt/!1odsI
Here is the link to the clp.ly site: https://www.curate.us/ 

Monday, September 17, 2012

UDL and Web 2.0


1.) Web 2.0 within the parameters of education, works extremely well with Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The goal of UDL is to provide multiple means of representation, action and expression, and engagement, web 2.0 can enhance all three of these areas.  There are few words that come to mind after reading the Web 2.0 article, they are, collaboration, self expression, and knowledge. Web 2.0 and all the tools that come with it, allows student to connect with other students, not only in their classrooms, but all over the world. With the use of site like Facebook, Blogger, and Flicker, students cannot only express themselves, but see other do so as well. As an educator of students with and without disabilities, you can get your students involved in blogs that focus on classroom discussions or topics that will be addressed. Often, students become more engaged with the use of the internet and computer.
 As Dina Rosen and Charles Nelson say in the article “Web 2.0 A New Generation of Learners and Education”, “With the increased social interactivity that a Web 2.0 environment provides, information and experiences can be shared and published in many ways.” A Web 2.0 program within a classroom of students with disabilities can provide many different ways for the students to learn and grow in their education. A diverse class needs many options and outlets for learning, which is what Web 2.0 provides. As with anything else, there is always a potential for drawbacks, what if you push Web 2.0, and for some students it doesn’t work? You may have students who can’t handle the stigmatism of a computer screen, or the internet has too many distractions for them. This is when, as an educator you need to be extremely diverse and be able to use both new and old forms of education to reach all students.  
2.) I felt very na├»ve after watching the “Today Show” clip from 1994. It’s hard to believe that when I was a little girl, there was only slight knowledge about the internet and it was only used on a basic level. The internet has become such a big part of my life these past five years, that I didn’t even consider myself a “digital immigrant”, but basically all of my education, until I entered into college, had little to do with the internet. I believe we should be very aware of the impact this can have on this generation both good and bad. There are certainly many tools that can be used to enhance education and students involvement, but I don’t believe we should throw away all the old values of education, because many of them are still effective, even with the “digital natives”.