Saturday, November 30, 2013

Blog Assignment #15

Assistive Technologies

Student using the Mountbatton
With today’s technologies helping special needs students achieve so much more than in the past. The assistive technologies allow students with disabilities to participate in the learning activities and curriculum. In the video Assistive Technologies for Vision and Hearing impaired Children we see students learning using assistive technologies. The students read a book that uses words like “Zoom” to describe the sound a boat makes. This allows hearing impaired students to imagine what a boat really sounds like. We also see a blind student reading a book written in Braille. These are only two of the more simple assistive technologies available. These simple tools allow students to interact with their classmates and learning environment. With the ever advancing technology world we as teachers should always stay knowledgeable on the tools available to us. Also to ensure that the student is receiving the best possible learning experience a thorough assessment of the student’s abilities should be done to know where they are struggling.

The video about the MountBatton, we learn about a system that is used to help enhance learning for the visually impaired. This system allows students to write Braille and hear what they are writing as they are typing it. This allows students to learn Braille while also staying involved in the classroom discussions and group work. Another way to enhance a student that has learning disabilities to participate in class is to teach the other students how to work with the student. For example, a visually impaired student may be more willing to participate in peer reviews if they know their paper will be read by a peer and not the teacher. So teaching the other students how to read basic Braille may help strengthen the learning environment. When planning lesson plans involving these assistive tools it is important to combine multiple tools to allow the student a single tool will not meet all the needs of your student. While researching assistive tools we found the website EnablingDevices which is a website that sells devices for all disabilities. This site is a very good site to have. It shows you what tools are out there and what tools you could need for your students with disabilities. The most important aspect of helping a student with disabilities achieve their goal is to work together, with the students parents and other administrators to guarantee that your student is achieving their goals.

Teaching mathematics

Learning mathematics can be tough for anyone, but for blind students, it can be a challenging task, in learning math. In the video, Teaching Math to the Blind Professor Art Karshmer, who is a professor at University of San Francisco School of Management, introduces a tool he has created for blind students. This tool uses blocks and a grid. His device lays out simple math problems to more advanced math problems using small blocks. On the front, there is braille and visible numbers. In the video, he demonstrates that the blind student will use a barcode scanner, on the blocks. The device reads the number back to the student. The student places the block on the grid to set up the math problem. The math problem is laid out on the touch bed. Professor Art Karshmer shows how the problem is laid out the way a sighted person would put it on paper. A blind person can rub their finger across the problem and read it. Now, a blind student is able to work on a two-dimensional problem. By using this program, it will help educate young blind students. It can cover areas like: basic Math and the beginning Algebra.

Student using an iPad
After watching Professor Art Karshmer video, we did further research on math tools for blind students. We found information on a blind woman named Sheila Schneider. She majored in sculpture at the School of Art Design. Under the supervision of Deana McDonagh, a professor of Industrial Design. Sheila Schneider has created six small hand held sculptures that have mathematical equations written in Braille. The math equations will be written in Nemeth Code, a form of Braille used with math and scientific symbols. This tool will be used to help students with visual impairments that will help them to learn math.It is great that there are assistive technology available for the blind. In the video, iPad usage for the blind Wesley Majerus who is an Access Specialist for the National Federation for the Blind. In the video, Mr. Majerus demonstrations how blind people can use different apps with an iPad. The iPad has a voiceover that tells him, which programs he is opening. The voiceover helps him to navigate around the home screen. There is an app that can read a book aloud. He expresses that it is very liberating to buy and read books. This tool, is a great assistive technology device that can help blind people.

1 comment:

  1. Well done and thorough!

    There are a number of assistive technologies for teachers to use that can be helpful to students with disabilities and this just gives an overview of the numerous resources available.