Thursday, December 17, 2009

Post Final Exam--reflection of readings

When I compare the books to what I like I would have to say that the Courtney text was of more value to me than Jurkowski. I thought that Courtney was easier to read and it had some immediate application. There were a few chapters that I found to be the most beneficial when I comes to my goals of incorporating web 2.0 tools in my library. For example...podcasting. As soon as I heard about podcasting I immediately thought of booktalks and some sort of library greeting program. I would love to have a library program where they are greeted by Mrs. Line in avatar form or me sharing the latest releases in the library. I like how Courtney explains the Getting Started with podcasting. The tools listed are very simple to pick up and very cost effective.

I think the second chapter that I found the most useful is the chapter in Jurkowski on the technology plan. Having just gone thru a technology plan development, I was happy to now have a tool in my hand to help me evaluate the plan. I also liked how Jurkowski explained the importance of the librarian/media specialist in the development of technology. I also liked how there is an emphasis on the importance of professional development and the technology plan development. I think this is something that is sometimes missed in some of the components that require change.

I think that both texts have their value and their place for me to further my quest to make technology more prominant in my school.

Ning--Final presentation

I have become a fan of Ning in the last 5 months. How I stumbled upon it was after attending NECC in Washington, DC this summer. There was an open session of a teacher who uses Ning as a teaching tool. She used it for group projects and other collaboration tools for her students to use for meetings and for presentations. It is a great tool and it has everything in it that you would want for the students to use for collaboration, like blog, email, embed videos, share articles, post forum discussions. I think what is great about it is that NING is based upon common interests. So for example, if I want to share my "expertise" with the world on dog breeding, I can go to Ning, create a network called "dog breeding" and invite others who have the same interest.

Another reason I like Ning is the fact that I can privitize it. This is how I was able to sell the concept to my administration. Since I have a required log in for my ning, I am protecting my "patrons" on the Ning.

The final reason I like Ning is the fact that I have access to past discussions and past information because it is archived. Too many times with a wikispace the information is gone or I have to go to the wayback machine to find it agin.

I think Ning should be something that teachers and librarians should look into for professional development. Since so many of us are in isolation and have a difficult time meeting with others in their field that have great ideas and want to share their great ideas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Module 5--The Final Chapter

I think the most valuable thing I learned was the selection of the hardware and software. I realize the difficulty that a decision like that is and how valuable in this day and age to have the technology for someone who has a disability and needs adaptations. I think I will be able to better look at the person instead of the disability. I think I will be more understanding and patient for those students who need the adaptations. I know that there are times that I am annoyed by having to tweak things or attend and IEP meeting. I think now I will be better equipped to share resources with parents and others.

I think this tutorial is a nice overview and tip-of-the-ice-burg type of resource. I thought it was thorough but at the same time simple to complete. I felt that I learned new information and will be able to better serve my students.

I have already linked the Library Thing to my wikispace and I have shared the list with a few of my teachers. And I think that having the access to the professional books as well as the fiction books is a great way to create awareness to everyone.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Module 4--Etiquette and awareness

I thought I would look at some of the websites that deal with some of my students disabilities. I think the first disability that is becoming a greater issue in schools is autism. My husband and I debated whether is was because it is being diagnosed more often or is the awareness of the disability.

I think the best site is I think it gives great information for all parties involved, children, parents, teachers. It is updated regularly, in fact as early as today (December 2nd).

Another regular disability that is coming up in my school is the ADHD/ADD diagnosis. I have experienced students who are not diagnosed but need to be so accommodations can be made and I have seen students who do not need the diagnosis but do. A website that I've used to help create IEP's or Chapter 15 plans is I think it useful because it stays focused on the disability and accomodations that can be made for students to have school success.

A disability that I do not know a lot about how to respond and interact with a person without making a stupid mistake is a person who is deaf or hearing difficulty. I begain researching for some information regarding this in the way of literacy development and early childhood development. This gives some great information for how to incorporate literacy into a classroom that has students with hearing difficulties.

My sister was diagnosed with dyslexia in 1st grade. She has struggled her whole life with it but has learned how to cope and accommodate for her disability. I have used this website for helping develop the IEP's and Chapter 15 plans. I really like how the web site has accommodations for teachers and for children, especially in testing situations.

A disability that is popping up regularly in my school is conduct disabilities. This is seen in the student who has oppositional defiant disorder. This is coming up more and more and is effecting the classroom. Students and teachers have to develop coping strategies and modifications. A website that I have recently stumbled upon is
This site helps with defining what this is as well as help with the strategies needed for teachers, students, and parents. I think something that tends to happen when someone is diagnosed with the ODD, they are "behavior problems." But the student needs the coping skills and the support from the adults in the situation.

I think also, compare to 10 years ago, schools have really developed IEP's and Chapter 15 plans to focus on the child. Where if I remember correctly when I my sister was diagnosed with dyslexia, the school was almost annoyed with the prospect that my mother wanted my sister in a regular classroom, not a special needs classroom. My mom fought for my sister be given accommodations instead of being placed in a room.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Module 3-software

I think the use of some of the software programs now available would have assisted me great because I am a visual learner and I would have benefited with the use of Inspiration . I liked to use Inspiration for students to design their own plot diagram for a story (when I was an English teacher) we read or to explain other literary concepts. For example, I used Inspiration for literary circles to explain certain themes in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Students were able to go out onto the web and find clips and symbols to explain their concept to the class.

Probably a great tool that I use is the Gutenburg project. This created a database of novels and short stories that someone would be able to read on screen or convert it to an audible file. I like the use of InfoEyes. I think it would be great for the student I discussed in the hardware discussion.

Module 2--Hardware

As an intro...I lost total track on my calendar so I am a week behind.

One thing that I noticed on the EnableMart website is the vast array of tools that are available to students and teachers. I can see that this could be very overwhelming and very useful for all parties involved.

While reflecting with some of the adaptations and accommodations available for students and co-workers I realized that this could be an entire job. There is a student in my school that is constantly being adapted and accommodated. He has learning and hearing difficulties. One thing that is adapted is for his listening. All of his teachers have a microphone attached to their clothing that not only amplifies the teacher's voice but also records the lectures or classroom happenings into a MP3 file for the student to access later. Also, this same student has an adaptive keyboard that he uses for notes and all his classwork so his handwriting is not a concern.

I also think about my co-workers who have to be at a computer screen constantly throughout the day. Some of the secretaries in my building have had issues with their backs and their eyes. The school has resolved this by providing the ergonomically correct chair for their use as well as lowering the lighting for their offices so their eyes are not as strained while looking at the computer.

In my needs assessment I am trying to focus on the autistic classroom recently added to my school district. The students are becoming a great asset to my school. However, I think some of the faculty and students do not think that these students will be able to adapt to technology and other adaptive devices. I would like to show them different.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Intro/Modual 1

This is something, i.e. the adaptive technology, I feel I need to get stronger at creating and learning about. I think the library is a key place in any school that needs to be able to assist all students in their needs.

I liked the youtube videos about the different organizations and the special stories about regular people adapting with their different disabilities.

While reviewing the NFB website, I learned quite a bit regarding the various issues that effect a person who is blind, especially while trying to learn different subject areas. This is something I never looked at before. I did not consider the difficulty of having to teach a visual concept to a blind student, like decimal points or other technology or engineering topics. I noticed in the lesson plans and other activities that a concept that I learned visually is taught to blind students using a tactile approach. For example, trying to describe the phases of the moon in a cycle, I would probably be shown the different phases thru pictures. A lesson plan on the NFB website showed that the teacher could use a stryrofoam ball to deomonstrate the phases. Very creative and simple to adapt.

Since I am coming from a classroom prior to my move to the library, I have sat in on several IEP development meetings as well as Chapter 15 meetings. Something that I learned is a lot of the adaptions are generally the best teaching practices. Using the SOAR website, I looked up some of the frequent disabilities that I'm meeting with parents about to decide upon the best teaching practice for their child. After viewing some of the lists that employers should try to practice, I only have apprciation for the employers who would make the check lists for the ADHD employeek, or create visual cards for concepts of teminology or recording directions. It is to benefit the person to be a better student or employee. I have sat thru the same meetings and had teachers complain that they had to teach their lessons using a microphone for the hearing impaired child in the classroom or adapt their 15 year old test for the student who needs a larger font for reading purposes.

Even in the library, I have looked into and purchased a few headphones for students who have reading difficulties and are listening to the book online or CD while following along in the book. This is a cognitive disability that is becoming more prevalant in my school district.