Autism Apps: New Tablet-Sized Teachers

Thirteen-year old Alec Marvin sits with an iPad in a classroom, his teacher Sandra Doherty is sitting beside him. She holds up a laminated picture of a $50 bill and asks Alec to identify it. Alec looks at his iPad, touches a slab titled “money identification” and then presses “$50”. “Fifty,” the gadget blurbs out.

Alec is among a growing number of children in the US with autism spectrum disorder. These children are increasingly using what’s known as autism education apps on electronic devices like the iPad and smartphone. And among all the autism apps being used, “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” are the two most used.

Just a few years back, Alec would have used a bulky assistive communication device, costing between $7,000 to $9,500. That is, if these devices used any form of communication at all. Autistic kids and special needs children, for long, have used the so-called assistive technology devices. These included audio books for the visually challenged, to special transmitters for those hearing impaired. The autism education apps are more targeted towards blended learning. The “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” apps combine the blessings of technology with the more traditional methods of instruction. It’s less jarring to the autistic kids than their conventional education peers.

There are many different autism apps that can help a child. These apps, more interestingly, are all customizable. This means that these apps can be tailor-made to suit each individual child. All over the world, autism education apps are helping the children because it’s usually much easier to read.

Some experts have cautioned against indiscriminate use of autism apps. This is because research on the effectiveness of educational technology for autistic children is still scant.

But educators, therapists, counselors and teachers using the autism apps, vouch that special needs children respond particularly well to the education apps because the programs respond in predictable and consistent ways. Unlike the earlier technologies, smart phones and tablets are much more portable and indistinguishable from the devices used by neuro-typical students.

Developer teams are continuously trying to come up with new apps that can better help children with autism. Apps like “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” have really shown the way. Researchers are now trying to introduce intelligent robots that’ll further help autistic kids in their education. Hopes are already running high, banking on the success of “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” apps.

Role of Digital Connectivity in Education

An Australian government policy statement articulates this changing paradigm in the best possible manner, “Australia will have technology enriched learning environments that enable students to achieve high quality learning outcomes and productively contribute to our society and economy.

“The Fibre Connections to Schools (FCS) initiative is an integral part of the Australian Government’s Digital Education Revolution (DER) suite of initiatives. These initiatives recognise that Australian students need greater access to, and more sophisticated use of information and communications technologies (ICT). They need the best hardware, high speed broadband connections, quality digital content and well trained teachers to integrate technology into teaching and learning.”

Towards this end, various efforts being mooted across the globe include:

Offering dedicated, uninterrupted and cost-effective connectivity options to students to help them access and exploit the global reservoirs of information and information tools for better learning, understanding and experience.

Enabling virtual collaboration facilities amongst students and faculty to improve information exchange; promote collaborative learning and exchange of ideas.

Encouraging and enabling teachers to devise digitally stimulating and compatible teaching methods. And use technology for improving children’s learning capabilities.

Facilitating online interaction of parents with teachers for improved liaison.

The realization of the above objectives is possible with the collaborative efforts of the four most important factors:

Leadership: There is a need for strong, decisive and long term leadership in the space of digital education. If our governments and educational institutions can come together put in place such strong leadership, it will go a long way in improving education using digital connectivity.

Infrastructure: While several improvements have come about in the connectivity space. The last-mile connectivity is still a challenge in far flung areas. Without the right infrastructure it would not be possible to employ connectivity any better.

Teacher’s Involvement: Teachers & faculty must take the most important step in integrating connectivity & digital tools to improve learning amongst children. Teachers are the vital cog in the wheel to use increased connectivity in education.

Learning Resource: As connectivity improves, there is now an acute need for learning resources to be available in the digital formats. This will encourage students to use the connectivity channels more authoritatively.

Educational institutions ought to become more enterprising in the use of technology for their parent-teacher liaisons. A dial-in system to access the ward’s attendance or progress reports can be a great tool. Parents can be connected over conference calls or via two-way voice messaging platforms, a business phone system can be deployed for this purpose. A mobile app could be an interface worth exploring.

Expanding the reach of education and improving the connectivity to students from far and wide are the two main objectives of digital connectivity. And with dedicated efforts these can bring far-reaching results.

For More information:

http://www.rentaphonesystem.com.au/phone-systems-for-schools/

Why IT Education Solutions Are Important

Technology affects all aspects of our lives nowadays, from the work we do right through to the way we do it. So much has changed in recent decades that generations at school today are far more adept at using these technological features than preceding age groups, and this trend is set to continue.

In education today, IT education is not only about teaching students and pupils what they need to learn to advance in the modern world, but is also about how various tools and techniques can help them learn more efficiently. Here are some of the main reasons why IT education solutions are so important.

Firstly, it is important to put in place an IT solution for schools as it can help students get the most out of learning. With many classes today utilising various devices and technologies to learn, ensuring that these are being used in the most efficient way possible to maximise the learning experience is very important.

Devices such as smart boards and tablets all have their role in the classroom, but being set up with right software and cloud computing options can make the difference between implementing new technology just for the sake of it – and often to great expense – and implementing it cost effectively and for maximum impact.

With more and more young people being extremely adept at using technology in the first place, having a solution that can meet their expectations can also make a huge difference for an educational institution. Whether primary, secondary or higher education, students can become more engaged in lessons where technology is used correctly and in an engaging, modern way.

The importance of great IT education solutions also rolls over into the independent research and leisure time of pupils or students at an educational institution. Although many devices used in the classroom can enhance learning, having great software and cloud computing options in place to facilitate independent study and research is extremely beneficial.

This can enhance learning in many ways and help the school meet its targets in many different areas of learning. Again, this can help encourage curiosity and motivation to learn for a technology-orientated generation.

The next way that IT education solutions are so important is for the impact that they have on teachers and other staff at school, improving their ways of working. Schools and educational institutions are busy, creative and constantly-evolving organisms, and any IT solution needs to be able to adapt along with the institution’s changing needs.

Tools such as Google for Schools mean that not only can students take advantage of the benefits of technology in the classroom, but so can the staff. This can assist the ease of lesson preparation for teachers, coordination of lesson plans between teachers managing the same classrooms, and accurate records for attendance and pupil performance maintained by staff at the school.

Many modern cloud based tools are extremely collaborative and facilitate greater information sharing and record keeping. For institutions looking to improve efficiency in the workplace for the benefit of the institution as a whole – students, staff and results – then implementing these solutions can make a huge defence.

IT education solutions have a huge role to play in modern education, and finding a service provider that can deliver these can make all the difference for an institution. For schools looking to make a huge difference for their staff and their learns, time should be spent looking for a company that is dedicated to helping your institution take advantage of all that technology has to offer.

This could include new devices, a new IT infrastructure and the integration of cloud computing into the everyday lives of students and staff. As technology and innovation constantly moves forward, this can help any institution reap great rewards in the present and in the future.

Assistive Technology Advancements Offer A New Wave of Possibility For Your Child With Special Needs

Technology has a way of skidding from science fictions’ past into the present like Michael J Foxs’ Delorean in “Back to the Future”. Remember those sliding doors in Star Trek on the U.S.S. Enterprise? We take them for granted now. And every time I see someone flip open a cell phone and talk to someone, I expect to hear them say “Beam me up Scotty.” The day of live streamed video mail is coming soon -very soon. Every science fiction movie I ever saw had someone talking to someone else from a TV screen and we all laughed, yet today I heard that our IT department is supplying built in web-cams standard on all newly issued laptop models.

I had a real wide-eyed moment today and I have to share it with you. I watched our doctor wave a Dr. McCoy-Star Trek-type “tricorder” over my sons chest. “What IS that?” I had asked. The doctor explained that it would “re-align the electrical impulses that were out of sync so his respiratory infection could heal.”

“Seriously?” I thought to myself. This was real. My son thought it tickled and the doctor did the treatment until the levels on the front showed the body had re-calibrated. Just when you think you are getting a handle on things, something new pops up and surprises you.

I am a specialist in assistive technology. I see new things that come out on the market all the time. I have been following the research and development of mapping the neuro-network of the brain to pinpoint the combinations of impulses and electrical frequencies that make up hand, wrist and arm movements. There are studies right now on how to re-create these impulses in “bionic” arms that replace severed ones. The research will allow our human brain to operate the new appendage by thought.

I was at a national convention this fall where I sat and had an eye gaze unit wirelessly track my retina from four feet away. As I looked around, the cursor on a large flat computer screen moved in the same direction. The cost was huge, but the technology was there for someone who is severely disabled and wants to access life through a computer. I’m sure I saw Tom Cruise do that in a movie a couple of years ago.

There is no way any one person can know it all about any niche in technology anymore. The world is becoming more and more specialized. We have specialized services within specialized niches that are in specialized markets of specialized companies. It can get pretty crazy. I have heard predictions that there will come a time when a person with my job in general assistive technology will not be able to be an assistive technology specialist anymore. They will have to focus on a sub-category because the specialization will be so intense.

How does this apply to parents of children with disabilities? If you are a parent, You need to know a couple of things:

1. You should be comfortable in knowing that you can’t learn it all.

Don’t put yourself through guilt and frustration over this fact. Just get an overview of the services and equipment your child may need. Be prepared to say “I don’t know but I can find out.” That is my biggest phrase. I have learned how to find a needle in a haystack on the Internet when it comes to AT. I spend a great deal of my time online researching equipment, treatment, therapy or definitions and descriptions of medical disorders. Be ready to see the Internet as your best friend. There is so much information out there it is staggering.

Most people hate to waste time searching for information. They want it done for them. If you have a child with a disability, start searching and asking. There are answers out there. I don’t even pretend to think or want to bluff you into thinking that I know all there is. “All there is” changes every day. If I were to comment on occupational and physical therapy supports, new treatment for seizures and ADHD with neurofeedback for children using computer games and slot car race tracks, simulating virtual reality on the TV with a Wii, and so on, we would be here for the next 2 years – and by then 70% of what we knew would be obsolete and new technologies would have taken over.

2. There are new and limitless possibilities for young children with disabilities.

Where we are headed is going to be amazing. The textbooks need to be re-written on how we serve children because of the impact of technology in every aspect of education and special needs service delivery. If you are a parent of a small child today, the advances in technology to support are going to be incredible. It is a good time to be alive. You have options no one had before you. There is technology to support your child that is amazing. Take some time to look search blogs, forums and pod casts that talk about technology in education, assistive technology and trends in alternative medicine for neurofeedback. The technology associated with alternative medicine is gaining more respect as time goes on and shows great promise as it becomes a hybrid in collaboration with traditional medicine and treatment.

I imagine by the time you read this, I’ll need to be writing a second edition. That’s OK. As long as I don’t expect to ever catch up, I can relax and find the things that work. That is what serving children with assistive technology is all about anyway. Finding out what works to support kids.

LMS Systems: The World of Education

We know and realize that technology is evolving every second even now as you read this but that also means that people are taking advantage of it for learning purposes which is the best they can get out of it in terms of growing. On these online platforms it is easy for students to interact with their teachers and vice versa without ever having to meet with each other in person. How, you ask? They interact with the help of online forums, video conferences, emails as well as chats and all of that from the comfort of their own homes. There are many functions available on an online learning management system that aids this purpose, functions such as course documentation, administration and also evaluation which helps the students learn but also helps the teachers keep tabs on their progress.

If you choose corporate LMS systems or LMS systems of any form then you too can reap the benefits. Let’s take a look at what you have in store for you with a LMS system.

LMS Systems Are Uncomplicated

It is no secret that a learning management system is a central hub for knowledge and education. It is an application that allows development, excellent content and training to be offered to anyone at anytime around anywhere in the world. It is the duty of the management of the LMS to ensure consistency as well as handling proper training and knowledge dispatch right on time.

These systems not only revolutionalize the process of learning but also simplify it and in doing so they ensure they are responsive to the clients so that they can meet their needs. It isn’t difficult to figure out which is why if you are fairly new to it, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. The features that it brings with itself that make learning easy are as follows.

· Documenting

· Recording

· Tracking

They ensure that the system adapts itself to your needs depending on your present as well as future progress and all this in one application!

How Reliable This Application Is

Most people out there now rely on technology for education and it is what in the end provides all the necessary tools as well as techniques not only for the students but also for the teachers which is why a responsive application that helps both parties is necessary for productivity and efficiency.

How LMS Systems Can Benefit Your Organization

LMS allows people with little geographical mobility to learn from the comfort to their own homes. It also gives the employees a chance to easily access their accounts from wherever they are which is overall beneficial for an organization.

People can learn more about social media platforms with the help of an LMS as it can use Facebook and Twitter for interaction and this in turn increases the student’s circle giving him a chance to interact with other students like himself.

Studies have shown that students show more interest in education when it is not forced which is why engaged learning is quite successful. Here students can control their own progress and speed thus feeling like they are making their own decisions while also meeting the teacher’s deadlines. Their progress is their own; their consequences too are their own.

What we are trying to tell you with the help of all the arguments that we have presented you with so far is that Learning Management Systems work. They increase learning among people. If you are running an organization then you can ensure that your employees, managers as well as executives learn from the courses available so that your overall efficiency and productivity increases with the help of the new skills your crew continues to acquire. The world will be their oyster with the education they receive all thanks to corporate LMS systems.

Apps Are Playing a Major Role in Autism Education

Children who have developmental disorders, like autism, usually find it troublesome to recognize emotions and social cues. Autism apps like “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” can be of a major help to such children. These apps are programmed with voice and interactive response software and help autistic children to construct sentences and differentiate one object from another. Experts and researchers believe that these apps could be of immense help to autistic kids because they help focus on a single aspect of communication at a time, and then react according to the situation. The “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” autism education apps never overwhelm the child with multiple forms of communication. Introducing autism education apps at the right age will help the child become independent at the right time.

Both the “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” autism apps can be personalized. The can be changed according to the individual needs of the child. The educational apps help autistic children follow directions and bolster communication by instilling confidence.

The inclusion of technology in special education methods is already underway. Progress, however, is being carried out in steps and not in leaps. There’s still a lot of advancement need to be made. Technology in autism education, like the apps, can help students build confidence and attain academic and extra-curricular success. For students with special needs, it’s critical to usher in an emotional and social learning function into the mix. For instance, while using a technological learning device connected to an app, a teacher will be in a much better position to customize the learning plan which includes social, intellectual, and emotional learning. A child may face trouble to complete the daily tasks all by himself/herself. The autism apps will provide options for the answer to a question. The child can then match the nearest option and finish the task.

The “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” autism apps rely on teaching a child through games. The learning sessions are completely interactive. They are loaded with colorful icons and voice commands. A voice warns when a child selects a wrong option. Similarly, when a right option is chosen, the child is awarded with badges that help him/her go to the next level. The main aim of these apps is to make education fun. These simple gaming activities help autistic children further their education.

Both the “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” autism apps are frequently updated so that the special needs children can tackle fresh challenges.

If Technology Is Effective in the Classroom – Why Do Some Students Dislike It So Much?

The effectiveness of technology use in the classroom has become a controversial issue. While many teachers and students feel that it’s best to use technology because it enhances teaching many others feel that it causes too many challenges and that it is a waste of time. If technology is as effective in the classroom as many teachers believe it to be; why do some students dislike it so much?

In order to objectively respond to this question, 3 articles were examined. 2 out of the 3 relate how the use of technology in the classroom frustrates students while the last one translates the thoughts of students who feel that technology in the classroom has responded to their need. So the issue is not that technology is not effective but rather that some teachers need to be mindful about technology use in the classroom and others need to be trained in order to properly use technology to teach so that students do not view technology as obstruction learning but as an enhancing tool.

After summarizing the 3 articles that have been reviewed we will be able to prove that there are 2 groups of students who claim to dislike technology in the classroom: Those who are improperly exposed to it by their teacher and those who did not give themselves enough time to familiarize themselves with it. We will then be able to get to the logical conclusion that those same students would appreciate the value of technology in the classroom if their teachers used it properly. Let us first summarize the articles that we are referring to.

The article “When good technology means bad teaching related that many students feel that teachers and professor use technology as a way to show off. Students complain of technology making their teachers “less effective than they would be if they stuck to a lecture at the chalkboard” (Young) other problems related by students include teachers wasting class time to teach about a web tool or to flab with a projector or software. When teachers are unfamiliar with the technological tools, they are likely to waist more time trying to use them the technological software that is used the most according to students is PowerPoint. Students complain that teachers use it instead of their lesson plan. Many students explain that it makes understanding more difficult “I call it PowerPoint abuse” (Young). Professors also post their PowerPoint Presentation to the school board before and after class and this encourages students to miss more classes.

Another problem reported in the article with the use of technology in the classrooms is that many schools spend time to train their staff about how to use a particular technology but it does not train them on “strategies to use them well” (Young). The writer believed that schools should also give small monetary incentives to teachers and professors to attend workshops.

In an interview made with 13 students, “some gave their teacher a failing when it came to using Power Point, Course Management systems and other classroom technology” (Young ) some of the complains were again about the misuse of PowerPoint’s and the fact that instructors use it to recite what’s on the scale. Another complaint was that teachers who are unfamiliar with technology often waste class time as they spend more time troubleshooting than teaching. The last complain mentioned is that some teachers require students to comment on online chat rooms weekly but that they do not monitor the outcome or never make reference to the discussion in class.

Similarly, the article “I’m not a computer person” (Lohnes 2013) speaks to the fact that students expectations as far as technology is concerned is very different. In a study done with 34 undergraduate university students, they advise that technology is an integral part of a university students life because they have to do must everything online from applying for college or university, searching and registering for classes, pay tuition and that in addition to being integrated in the administration, etc. technology is also widely used to teach and is valued by higher education.

Those students, however, feel that technology poses a barrier to success as they struggle to align with the ways in which the institution values technology.” A student explains that technology is used in her freshman year to turn in assignments, participate in discussion boards and blogs, emailing the professor, viewing grades and for a wide range of other administrative task including tracking the next school bus. This particular student whose name is Nichole says that she does not own a laptop but shares a family computer. She has a younger brother who also uses the computer to complete his school work so she consequently has to stay up late to complete assignments. She states “technology and I? We never had that connection” (Lohnes). Nichole dislikes the fact that her college requests that she had more contact with technology than she is conformable with. Nonetheless, she explains that as she started doing those school online assignments so frequently she came to realize that they were not that bad.

One of her issues though with technology is that she had come from Puerto Rico about a year prior entering college and that she never had to use the computer so much there. The articles relates that other college students like Nichole have admitted that they are “reluctant technology users” (Lohnes) The article wants to explain, in essence, that although most people would expect that college students prefer technology and are already familiar with it,” that assumption is faulty” (Lohnes).

On the other hand, the article “What Screenagers Say About… ” High school age students were asked about what they thought of technology but most expressed liking it. One of them said about PowerPoint: “My history teacher did a good job with Power Points. He would put them online, which made for really great reviews.” (Screneagers, 2011) Others expressed how technology was really who they are and that teachers should understand for example that when they text in class, they are not being rude but that they have gotten used to multi tasking. Another student invites teachers to not be afraid of technology “Teachers shouldn’t be afraid of technology. Understand that it’s how we live our lives. So don’t just push it out. Learn to cope with us and how we work.” (Screenagers, 2011)

Another student however, expressed how she prefers simpler technology that her teacher is comfortable with rather than high tech that the teacher does not manipulate well “The most important thing for teachers is to be comfortable with what they’re using. It doesn’t have to be super high tech. My math teacher used a projector, and it was one of my favorite classes. Then I would go to this other class where the teacher used Power Points and the SMART board, but I didn’t get any more out of it because she wasn’t comfortable with the technology” (Screenagers, 2011) Students spoke about their appreciation for virtually all types of technology used in the classroom. Another said “One of my teachers used Skype. That’s face-to-face interaction. If I had a problem with some math problem I was working on, I could take a picture of it and put it on the Skype screen. She could see where I was making my mistake. It really helped.” (Screenagers, 2011) The bottom line is that those high school students wanted to let teachers know that they really like technology and that it is already a great part of their daily routine but that it had to be used properly in order for them to enjoy it.

Similarly, they summarize a few things that they dislike as well. Among the list, they said: reading on the computer, paying a lot for an online textbook and the fact that they often forget everything else when they get caught up with using technology.

Nonetheless, they had much more positive things they liked in technology like for example that some teachers would text a question for them to think about before class, so if they do not know they answer, they would communicate with classmates to discuss the possibility for the answer before class. This allows them to go to class prepared. They also like using Skype, emailing their teachers instead of going to speak to them in person. They also enjoy discussion boards. The advice they would like to convey to their teachers is to make sure that they are comfortable with whatever technological tools they are using, to give them more freedom to use the good sites and those in the middle range when they are surfing the net using school computers and to understand that technology is part of their lives.

After summarizing those articles, we can see that the students mentioned in Youngs, 2004 dislike technology because their experience with it was not satisfactory. In other terms, a group of students dislike technology because some teachers are not mindful about technology use or they need additional training. For example, some students are frustrated because they feel that instructors waist their time when they are not properly trained to use the technological tools. Others disliked the fact that some teachers had PowerPoint presentations which were either not meaningful or they would just read whatever they wrote and add no additional comments. Those examples are called “bad teaching (Young, 2004) and they are in fact terrible examples that teachers should not follow because technology is not meant to help teachers do the least work or to adopt poor teaching practices. Somme students related that PowerPoint was widely used by teachers so they even call it PowerPoint abuse.

I can relate to what is being expressed by those students. I observed a Teaching Assistant teach a grammar class recently. He purchased a device to allow him to monitor the screen without touching the computer. He was able to walk throughout the class while changing slides. It all looked so impressive but despite all of this show, students were left so confused at the end of the lesson. When they asked questions, he went back to the slide that had the grammar rule and read it over to the class. The PowerPoint was a duplication of the textbook chapter. The same examples of the book were used. At the end of the course, he felt that he had done a great PowerPoint when in fact, it was not meaningful. It was a copy/paste project from the text book to the screen. This example shows that we need to use common sense when using technology. When teaching grammar, a teacher has to be able to come up with examples other than those in the book, you have to write on the board, have student practice what they have learned. PowerPoint use was a real bad idea, in my opinion, for teaching this course. It was just not the right technological tool for the lesson.

Students in that class may decide that they hate Power Points because it confuses them more while the issue is not with the use of PowerPoint but instead with the teacher’s poor choice of technology. The point I also want to make here is that teachers may sometimes be unaware of their improper use of technology. This is why, as educators, we sometimes need to ask students for their feedback so we may make corrections where needed.

We can then conclude that those students dislike technology as a result of improper technological use by teachers, and also because many teachers do not attend workshops or training sessions to help them obtain a broader knowledge of technology since they are so busy. Like suggest (Youngs, 2004) and (Lohnes, 2012), those same busy teachers would have attended those trainings if there were given an incentive. In the article “Technology Standards in a Third-Grade Classroom” (Kovalik, 2001), it is related how a study done on a 3rd grade class of 25 showed that students were properly using technology. There is no indication that those students dislike using technology. The article also mentioned how the teachers were highly trained because the Ohio board pays incentive to teachers to participate in technology training which teaching them not only how to use technology by teaches them strategies on when to use them.

Boards from other states should consider doing the same thing to ensure that their teachers are responding to the technological need of their students and that they are teaching them according to the standards. The Ohio school mentioned above met the standards as far as technology is concerned because of the technology coaching received by the teachers. If teachers learn how to properly use technology in the classroom, it will be a less frustrating experience for them and for the student who will less likely dislike technology since it will meet its purpose to enhance teaching.

The other groups of students who dislike technology are those who were not exposed to it for long enough. The College Freshman, Nichole advises that she was not exposed to so much technology while she was in high school in her home country; consequently, it seemed to be a burden to her to have to need a computer to complete most of her school assignments but also to interact with her classmate via a discussion board. What is interesting though is that even though she claimed to dislike technology so much, she advised that once she started to spend so much time using it, she realizes that it is not so bad. Even though it is likely that some people do not like the telephone and texting so much, the computer and some website have become part of most people daily routine. In Nichole’s case, she does not own a laptop and has to wait for her turn to use the family computer which means that she has no attachment to this media because her use of it is controlled. However, once she gets to own her own computer, it is a guaranteed that her view of technology will change.

I returned to school after about 12 years. When I was in college the 1st time around, nothing was electronic but when I contacted USF to apply, they told me that everything was online. At first, I asked why everything was online but once I got used to it, I started to understand the value of having the convenience to do a lot of things without having to live my home.

Therefore, Nichole will certainly not continue to dislike technology that much once she gets more familiar and more attached to it. The fact is that she stated that she started to realize that it was not that bad once she started doing so many assignments. She came to the conclusion that the computer was not yet a friend but that it was no longer an enemy; it became to her an acquaintance.

With this understanding, depending on the background of some ELL students and depending on whether or not they were exposed to technology in their home country, they may not like technology at first but this should not be a sign that they will never come to appreciated it. As teacher, we will need to allow them time to familiarize themselves with it while we continue to properly use it so that we do not advocate against it or involuntary send missed information about its true value.

On the other hand, the last article testifies to the fact that the new generation is technology driven and that when used properly, they benefits from it in the classroom, there are several examples of how teachers originally used technology to teach which are appreciated by students. What should the conclusion be then?

We have proven that technology use is effective in the classroom but that teachers need to take some actions in order to make this tool useful to students. It is necessary that they received some training if they lack it, and like a student suggested in the Screenager article, they should refrain from using complicated tools if they are not sure about how to use them. It’s best to properly use something much simpler that they are familiar with like a high school student suggested.

In addition, it is important for teachers to screen the countless technological tools and to research them before introducing them to their teaching. Should they test some that do not work well, they have to stop using them and seek one that is more appropriate. Most importantly, technology is not always the answer this is why teachers should be balanced when using it. If it is required that we use the board and chalks to help students better understand, this is what we should do. Doing so, we will ensure that more students appreciate the use of technology in the classroom for what it is worth.

Work Cited

Kovalik, Cindy, Lynn Smolen, and Jazmine Toddy. “Technology Standards In A Third-Grade Classroom.”

Journal Of Research On Computing In Education 33.5 (2001): 1-17. Academic Search Premier.

Web. 9 Aug. 2013

Lohnes Watulak, Sarah. “‘I’m Not a Computer Person’: Negotiating Participation in Academic

Discourses.” British Journal Of Educational Technology 43.1(2012):109-118. OmniFile Full Text

Mega (H.W.Wilson). Web.9Aug. 2013.

Young, Jeffrey R. “When Good Technology Means Bad Teaching” Chronicle Of Higher Education

51.12(2004): A31-A31. Academic Search Premier. Web.9Aug.2013.

What Screenagers Say About… (2011). Educational Leadership, 68(5), 44-46 Wed. 9 Aug.2013.

By

NICK MYRCA MALEBRANCHE- GAUTHIER

Subject: Classroom Technology

8/9/13

5 Leading Online Schools

The internet has revolutionized many parts of our economy. You can shop, meet people online and, now, you can take college courses for credit. Five schools are influencing “distance learning” like no others before them. Let’s take a look at online education providers as offered by these leading schools.

The University of Phoenix was among the first accredited universities to provide college degree programs via the internet. Founded in 1976, the university began to offer internet degree programs in 1989. The program has grown to where 150,000 students are in the process of pursuing degrees on the Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral level at any given time. Programs in Technology, Business, Education, Nursing, and Management are offered and The University of Phoenix has now become the largest private university in the US.

DeVry University offers business and technology degrees on the undergraduate and graduate level. In addition, the school offers graduate level certificate programs. Headquartered in Illinois, the school allows students to work on their degree while online, at a local campus, or both. Indeed, campuses can now be found in 21 states as well as in Alberta, Canada.

Westwood College traces its roots to Denver, Colorado where it was founded in 1953 as the Denver Institute of Technology. Fifteen campuses in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, and Texas comprise the physical campus with the internet opening up the school to students around the world. Westwood offers programs in Aviation, Business, Criminal Justice, Design, Technology, Health Sciences, and Industrial Sciences.

Kaplan University is a wholly owned company of The Washington Post Company, a publisher of one the nation’s leading newspapers, The Washington Post. Kaplan’s offerings include degrees in Arts and Science, Business, Criminal Justice, Education, Technology and Design, Nursing and Health Care, Paralegal Studies, and Financial Planning. The school offers students degrees on the Associates, Bachelors, and Masters levels as well as certificates for certain programs.

Founded in Naples, Florida in 1970 by a couple who wanted to offer a way for working adults to pursue doctoral degrees, Walden University has evolved into a large, online university offering students degrees on the Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral level. Now headquartered in Minneapolis, the university features five distinct schools: School of Education, School of Management, School of Health and Human Services, School of Psychology, and the NTU School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Online education is not for everyone and that is why the first three universities give to their students the option to study on campus, while the last two are strictly internet based. However, all five schools offer to students something that traditional programs do not have: the opportunity to pursue a degree at a pace the student determines and at a place [your computer] that is appealing to many. Unquestionably, online education has arrived as a viable alternative for degree seeking students around the world.

(c)2005; Matthew C Keegan, LLC

Is a Degree in Information Technology the Right Choice for Me?

The field of information technology is constantly growing and expanding as the need for professionals who are skilled at working with computer software continues to increase. As one of the most in-demand fields in 2012, IT continues to attract more students to it every day. And while the field certainly gets you high paying jobs, that can’t be the only reason for you to want to pursue an education in it.

What is Information Technology?

Information technology concerns itself with design, development, implementation and improvement of computer technologies. These technologies support business, research, communications, etc.

What do IT related degrees cover?

An information technology degree will teach you how to apply logic to various computing methods, be knowledgeable about computer capabilities, effectively use computers and other information systems to achieve different objectives etc.

Depending on the specialization; almost every such degree will cover a few basic courses. These are:

· Computer fundamentals

· Networking concepts

· Web design

· Programming fundamentals

· Web programming

· General operating systems

· Human-computer interaction

Which industries can you work in?

With a degree in information technology, a student can find employment in a variety of industries. The job greatly depends upon the educational background with specialization, level of expertise and technical knowledge of an individual. Some of the industries where a degree in IT would come in handy are:

· IT consulting firms

· Internet service providers

· Banks and financial institutions

· Computer companies

· Telecommunication companies

· Hospitals and healthcare organizations

· Hardware and software manufacturers

Is a degree in Information technology right for me?

Education costs time and money. The decision about what you study is likely to affect every aspect of your life in the long run, so this decision would best be made after taking into consideration a few things.

· Make sure that what interests you to IT is working with computers and the field itself and NOT the high salaries that people are most attracted to. Like any other job, you will start out at a basic, entry-level job with a lower salary and you will have to work your way up the professional ladder.

· Information technology requires quantitative and analytical skills. If your Math skills aren’t strong you might have difficulty while creating algorithms and understanding programming languages.

· Information technology is a never-ending, continuously evolving field. Those who wish to study information technology should be prepared to face changes in computer languages to stay ahead of the game.

Colleges that offer Information technology degrees

Today, many technical colleges offer degrees in IT. California College San Diego is one such college. Reviews of California College San Diego highlight the college’s offerings and student services and help in making a sound decision about your future. If you think you work well with computers and are ready to face the everyday challenges in the field of technology, then IT could very well be the right choice for you!

Standardized Testing And Students With Assistive Tech

In recent years there has been a boom of standardized testing within American schools. Students are being tested in reading, math, science, social studies for state and school district standards that are used to show compliance with No Child Left Behind, along with NCLB testing students are also being hit with graduation tests, testing to move forward in the school progression ( i.e. a student must pass this test before moving onto the next grade level).

With the increasing number of tests given to students where the results weigh heavily on the school, school districts, or individual students performance, where do students with disabilities fall into this mix? Where especially students with Assistive Technology or Augmentative Communication? Federal law requires states and school districts to include students with disabilities in large-scale assessments, and to report their scores publicly, in disaggregated form, as a way of determining how well schools are serving these students. This is a matter of system accountability. Federal law is silent, however, on whether states or schools districts should impose high-stakes consequences on individual students with disabilities who fail large-scale tests. In other words, while federal law mandates participation in large-scale tests and public reporting of disaggregated scores, it is for states to decide whether large-scale tests will result in individual high-stakes consequences and, if so, for which students (Heubert, 2002).

Accommodations are able to be granted to students with disabilities without losing the standardization of the test. An accommodation is considered, any change to the standard test format to assess an individual’s abilities, rather than his or her

disabilities. Although allowable accommodations vary, they general fall in one of four categories:

o Presentation (e.g., directions/questions read aloud, large print).

o Response (e.g., use of a scribe).

o Setting (small group or individual testing, study carrel).

o Timing/Scheduling (extended time, additional breaks; Wahburn-Moses, 2003)

IDEA requires that the IEP team documents any accommodations in the students Individualized Education Plan. As Washburn-Moses (2003) stated, “The IEP team

should focus on the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and individual learning characteristics, and refrain from basing their decision on the student’s disability

level or current placement. Team members should consider only those accommodations that the student uses during classroom instruction and testing, as opposed to introducing new accommodations specifically for use on the state test (Thurlow et al.). It is extremely

important to document on the IEP the team’s decision regarding accommodations, as well as the justification for that decision.”

Dunne (2002), stated in an Education World article, “In Wisconsin, students with disabilities are being allowed testing accommodations so that more can take the test. The accommodations include increased time to take a test, use of a scribe to write down answers, and use of a reader to read instructions and questions aloud. Those types of accommodations will allow about 85 percent of students with disabilities to participate in the Wisconsin State Assessment System, according to a study authored by Eva M. Kubinski at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Education Research.

For those students unable to be tested, even with accommodations, the state developed an alternate performance indicator tied to the state’s standards for use by schools to assess the 2 percent of Wisconsin students with severe disabilities or limited English proficiency, Kubinski wrote in her paper.”

What does this mean for students with Assistive Technology or AAC? Based on the research found, having an Assistive Technology device would allow a IEP team to determine if accommodations on standardized tests were needed. Each student is as unique as their assistive technology device and therefore it can be said that each student is going to pose different circumstances when it comes to testing in the school setting. According to IDEA, as stated earlier, the IEP team must determine what accommodations must be made for the student to be successful on the test. These accommodations must be written in the students IEP.

Since the students using AT/AAC vary greatly and many have underlying issues as to why they have AAC devices, such as other confounding disabilities. It is important that the IEP determines whether the device the student uses for communication is going to be part of the accommodation for the Standardized test or if it is not needed. It will be important to determine that and then prepare the student that they will or will not be able to use the device during the test. This is especially important if the device can not be used during the test, since this is the students voice.

IEP teams must work to find the best accommodations for the student to be successful, there are various ways to do that, including the Dynamic Assessment of Testing

Accommodations (DATA), which helps teachers determine which students will

benefit from which accommodations.

Based on the information provided it can be concluded that each students case is going to be very different, but overall each student that qualifies for special education, including those who use assistive technology or augmentative communication devices can qualify for special accommodations of standardized testing which will allow those students to complete the tests with reasonable scores.

References

Dunne, D. (2000). Are high stakes tests punishing some students? Education Weekly 34(1) 32-35.

Heubert, J.P. (2002). Disability, race, and high-stakes testing of students. NCAC. 4(1) 38-45.

Sindelar, T., Hager, R., & Smith, D. (2003). High stakes testing standards for students with disabilities. Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc.

Washburn-Moses, L. (2003). What every special educator should know about high stakes testing. Teaching Exceptional Children 35(4) 12-15.