Sunday, October 26, 2014

Assistive Technology: "Necessary for some, good for all"

       As I finish my learning module on Assistive Technology, I am to reflect on the quote above. I resonate with this quote because I acknowledge that everyone learns differently and it is up to the teacher to show the same lesson in a variety of different ways in order to "hook" the students. I have quite a few non identified students who definitely need extra care so why do I need to spend more time with my identified students when I know there are plenty more who need it too? This is where technology comes in. In my board, we are lucky enough to have google apps for education for all students and staff. I am definitely taking advantage of it this year with all my students. Yes assistive technology is great, but why only for some? Everyone should benefit! Of course some programs and software are not available to everyone but this is why I like to look at web 2.0 tools to find something similar so that all students can benefit. That way, not only am I not getting confused because everyone is using something different, but also the students can use their app/program to their comfort zone.

     Another thing that I think benefits the students is the ability to give them a choice on how they want to be assessed. If they need to do an oral presentation, they can record themselves and show a video, they can use software that they know (ie. powerpoint, slide rocket, slides etc.) or they can do the traditional way of standing up in front of the class and presenting. Just because a student doesn't feel comfortable standing up in front of others, does not make them less intelligent from the next child.

      This module really reminds me of the new show called "Canada's Smartest Person". This show tests contestants on their multiple intelligences and really shows that people are smart in their own way. I have downloaded the app for my students and they test themselves on a daily basis. They become so confident when they see where they lie in their "smarts". One student came up to me and told me she scored 100% in social smarts... She tries extremely hard in class but doesn't get the best marks. I told her that she will rock when she gets older because many jobs need people with social skills. This in turn makes her more confident and everyone goes home happy.

      As much as I know that there are students with learning difficulties, I really try and make a point to offer the same things to everyone also so that the IEP'd student is not singled out as well. Ive had students in the past who refused to work on their SEA equipment because they didn't want to look different than the rest of the students. I don't blame them. As much as it helps them, it sometimes ruins their self-concept. At least with everyone working on the same device, the students who use an extra program or need extra time are not so self conscious with their work because no one is the wiser.