Saturday, August 11, 2012

Journal 9: First Graders with iPads?

Journal #9: First Graders with iPads? (NETS 5)

Getting, S., & Swainey, K. (2012). First graders with ipads?. Learning and Leading with Technology,40(1), 24-27. Retrieved from

Summary: This article is written by two elementary school teachers in Minnesota who used technology and digital age ideas as inspiration to help their students’ reading abilities. After grouping the students based on their levels of need, they had the students do routine work on the iPad with applications and other websites, which provided practice for a variety of topics contributing to reading ability. After having the students work for a while they found that students spent significantly more time on task while doing activities on their iPads. They recorded some of the apps and websites that they found most popular among themselves and the students in each of the categories they focused on, sight words, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and literacy. They shared this information in the article, but also discussed how they used it in various presentations they did, which they involved their students in too in order to show easy the devices are to use. They received a lot of support, but they also ran into some thing that gave them some trouble, including their need to develop the lessons entirely from scratch, the limits on subject matter, technical difficulties, noisy applications that were distracting at times without headphones, and the cost of the technology. In the end, they felt they had achieved success with the students that they worked with and concluded that they had engaged the students in a technologically rich, collaborative learning environment.

Q1: Is it realistic to think that schools can adopt the use of iPads across the board?
A1: The authors did mention that they found it was limited by subject matter. With more research in other areas and new ideas about how to use them in different subjects, hopefully lessons and success will be found. Thinking about it as an aspiring math teacher, it seems that I would be able to find some applications that can provide interactive ways to compute and solve different kinds of problems. To be able to see and interact with a program, even to practice basic facts, it seems like the students might find this more engaging than the old methods of flashcards, repetitive worksheets, etc.

Q2: Where will schools and districts get the money to fund these types of changes in the classroom?
A2: These teachers received U.S stimulus funding to purchase the iPads and select applications in order to go through with the experiment. A school district that I know of received grant money similar to these teachers. With all of the talk about budget cuts and other concerns surrounding money in education, it seems interesting that these funds have been available for these kinds of projects. They are intriguing ideas and the success is amazing with these devices, however the cost really could become an issue.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Journal 8: Adaptive Technology

Journal #8: Adaptive Technology:Tools for Communication and Tools for Accessibility (NETS 4)


Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to tools and devices that are used to support or take the place of speech or written language for individuals with special needs, which can be used permanently or just as a temporary aid in certain situations.

Low Tech Communication Tool:
A tool to help communication for individuals with little or no speech ability that doesn’t involve technology is a communication book/chart. This tool provides pictures/symbols and words/phrases that the person trying to communicate can use to either point to themselves or signal that the picture is what they are trying to communicate. These books can be brought along with the person wherever they go, so that they have access to their communication tool in any situation as long as the book or books are brought along. Often books can be grouped or separated by different subjects in order to help organize based on situations that the individual might be in. Some or all of the images can be detachable from the books as well in order to allow the person facilitating communication to put them together into phrases, sentences or stories to help the individual communicate even better. In the classroom, the student may bring these books to class, or just the ones needed for that particular course and use them to communicate with the teacher and peers.
Lo-tech assistive communication devices (aac) . (n.d.). Retrieved from
What is a communication aid?. (2010, October 11). Retrieved from

High Tech Communication Tool:
A high tech tool that can be used to help individuals with speech impairments communicate, is called Proloquo2Go, which can be used on iPad, iPod and iPhone. With many of these devices becoming more common and affordable for users, applications similar to this one are being used to help individuals communicate. This particular application uses a similar idea to the communication book, in that it has pictures with words or phrases that the individual can touch in order to communicate what they need to say. This tool adds a extra layer of assistance by providing a text to speech tool that actually gives the individual a way to produce speech through the device. There are many options on the tool itself as far as how the words and pictures are presented, the ability to have multiple users, and other available options that allow each user to create a unique experience that works best for them. This tool can be used by students in the classroom by bringing their mobile device and touching the appropriate icons on the screen in order to have the voice control communicate their message to or answer a question from the teacher or their peers.
Proloquo2go™ combo packs. (n.d.). Retrieved from


An input device for students with disabilities is any device that allows students to input information into a computer. The most common devices are a keyboard and a mouse, however there are other options for students with disabilities including, switches, adaptive keyboards, touch screens, sensors and voice recognition.

Hardware Option:
A hardware option for accessibility that can be used as an alternate input device for students with special needs is a touch screen to operate computer devices. These touch operated controls can be adapted to the needs of individual students by providing multiple layers of screens to choose from for different situations, as well as tactile landmarks and raised borders in order to provide alternate access to students with different needs. This could be used in a classroom to allow students with special needs to complete assignments on computer devices. This allows them to have the opportunity to compose documents, and create other computer based projects.

Bellarosa. (2007, September 4). Alternative input devices for students with physical disabilities. Retrieved from

Software Option:
There are many options for software to help students with special needs, one in particular that helps students have access to computer programs is a tool called Instant Text. This software predicts the words that students are trying to type by detecting the first few letters they type via their input device. This can help them communicate more information at a faster pace.  
Students can use this in the classroom in order to help them use their other programs and finish more work in a shorter period of time. By using shortcuts that they can create themselves, they can make the tool unique to their needs.

Instant text. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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