Sunday, November 29, 2009

AT, Module 3

Developing an assistive tech plan for the library can include many simple to some really elaborate solutions. Some of the simple things that could be included would be eBooks available in titles that are studied in class. The books would be helpful for those who have reading delays. There could also be some titles in large print for those with vision issues. There could also be a magnifier that plugs into a pc that will enlarge any book in the library so those with vision impairments can read any book in the library not just large print.

Further specific tech can be for a mobility impared was mentioned in my previous post. Additionally, some software choices are listed below:

Dragon Naturally Speaking Pro. This is a voice recognition software that will allow our student to dictate directly to her computer. It will type what she says and recognizes voice commands so she can also navigate the computer. It is compatible with the voice recorder and headset that were part of the hardware choices. She will not have to use her hands for anything and the software will allow her to be independent from others to perform basic computer functions.

SofType. This software emulates a standard mouse allowing her to further control the keyboard. It is compatible with the Headmouse extreme that was also one of the hardware choices. She will be able to control the mouse on the screen just by moving her head and the software recognizes the motion. This is yet another way to unlink her from dependence.

Mathtalk with Science Notebook. This is a software that goes with the other voice recognition but is geared specifically toward math and science formulas and specialized vocabulary. This will be helpful for her with all of the specific equations that need to be used in math and science classes. This enables the software to learn equations that she puts in for easy recall so she won’t have to dictate the formulas each time she wants to use them.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

AT module #2

Discovery Exercises:

  1. Browse through online sites like EnableMart and discover other types of assistive technology solutions. Write an entry in your journal or post to your blog about solutions that would be useful additions at your school or workplace.

We have a student who was in a car accident last year. She is in a wheelchair and unable to move. After a year she is able to move her wheelchair using a straw to blow in and is sometimes able to use her hand to move the chair. She does have the ability to move her head freely so a computer addition that tracks head movements would work really well for her. In addition, she is an avid reader, so I think that some audiobooks or ebooks would be good for her. I would get her a set of headphones which cancel noise to go with voice recognition software. There are also voice recorders that are compatable with the software.

  1. Discover how to implement simple accommodations in various situations. Write about three (3) such situations and how you might change the environment to assist your student or co-worker.

After looking at all the devices out there, there are lots of simple ones that can be used. For a student with impaired vision, there is a desktop magnifier that plugs right into the usb port of a laptop enableig them to read anything. There are also microphones for use with students with hearing difficulties, the teacher speaks normally with the mic around their neck and the student receives the amplified sound. None of the other students are effected. There are keyboards with larger keys and programmable keys to help students with limited control of their hands.

  1. Write a needs assessment and justification for hardware that would be suitable for use in your Library or Classroom. Include it in your school or district technology plan.

Identified Student:

We have a high school student who was in a car crash last year. She is now a quadriplegic and is returning to school. She has extremely limited movement in her right arm/hand and can somewhat use it to guide her motorized wheelchair. She generally uses a blow straw to get around because she has greater control. She has no learning disabilities, just physical obstacles.

Identified Needs:

She will need assistive technology so that she can take notes in class, search the web, write papers and do her homework. With assistive technology she will be able to do many of the above activities herself which will give her greater independence. Currently she has to dictate to another person and they do the typing. She will be able to do her own work at home and at school with the identified tools. She will be able to communicate with others via computer.

She is also going to need to do readings which she will be able to access on the computer instead of having someone hold a book and turn the pages for her. Her textbook readings can be scanned using a high resolution scanner the library already owns. In addition, she can access ebooks from the library.

Hardware Choices:

Sony ICD Digital Recorders


  • Includes 5 message folders
  • Dictation correction and Add function
  • Alarm feature
  • Super High Quality (SHQ) mode
  • Selectable microphone sensitivity
  • Easy file transfer via USB allows saving and sending recordings; perfect for use with Dragon NaturallySpeaking
  • Voice Operated Recording; starts and stops recording automatically
  • Battery life: 12 hrs recording & 34 hrs playback

Sony ICDDUX71 Recorder

  • Built-in 1 GB memory
  • Weighs 1.7 oz
  • Package includes:
    • ICDDUX71 Recorder
    • Stereo headphone
    • USB cable
    • 1 AAA battery


This voice recorder will enable her to dictate notes for papers, homework, etc. at home. It is fully compatible with the Dragon line of software which will translate voice to print. This will give her the freedom to do some of her work even when she is not hooked up to a computer. At $99.99 this is also a middle of the line device which will hopefully give the quality needed for it to mesh with the software with a minimal amount of frustration.

Cyber Acoustics Speech Recognition Stereo Headsets

Cyber Acoustics AC-850

  • Incorporates both of Andrea's patented Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) microphone technology.USB Connectivity with 7' shielded cord
  • Direct Noise Canceling Microphone
  • Stereo headset
  • Adjustable headband
  • 180 degree microphone
  • Leatherette ear pads
  • Adjustable boom arm
  • Inline Mute\Volume Control
  • Wear on right or left side
  • PC / iMac Compatible

These computer headsets enable more accurate and reliable communication as well as high performance speech recognition in noisy office environments. $44.99.


These headsets will work with the voice recognition programs to help her with her written work. Because they cancel out background noise, she will be able to use them in the classroom or library when others are talking. This will allow her to be an active participant in group work and other similar activities.

Headmouse Extreme


HeadMouse® Extreme is a leading solution for wireless head-pointing on the PC or Mac. The HeadMouse is a perfect solution for people who cannot use or have limited use of their hands.

Online Price: $979.00

bookmark this page

The HeadMouse® sensor replaces the standard desktop computer mouse for people who cannot use their hands.

  • The HeadMouse is a device that translates the movements of a user's head into directly proportional movements of the computer mouse pointer.
  • The HeadMouse is a wireless optical sensor which tracks a tiny and disposable target that is placed on the user's forehead or glasses. When this capability is combined with an on-screen keyboard, such as SofType, or KeyStrokes the HeadMouse can completely replace the functions of a conventional keyboard.


  • On-screen keyboards provide an image of the keys on the computer display, with key selection made by positioning the mouse pointer over a key. The actual key press is implemented by dwelling over that key for a set period of time or by using an adaptive switch.
  • A Remote Switch Transmitter is available for wireless transfer of adaptive switch inputs from a wheelchair to a desktop computer.
  • The HeadMouse will track the user's head with the user located in any comfortable viewing position relative to the computer display. Resolution of the HeadMouse is sufficient to allow a user to control the mouse pointer down to the minimum resolution of the computer display, the picture element (pixel). This precision allows a user to perform tasks such as drawing or Computer Aided Design (CAD).
  • When the HeadMouse is used with an on-screen keyboard, all the standard personal computer applications are available to the user who has a disability.

The HeadMouse will track the user's head with the user located in any comfortable viewing position relative to the computer display. Resolution of the HeadMouse is sufficient to allow a user to control the mouse pointer down to the minimum resolution of the computer display, the picture element (pixel). This precision allows a user to perform tasks such as drawing or Computer Aided Design (CAD). Package Includes -

• HeadMouse Extreme
• Notebook mounting bracket
• Right-angle 6’ USB cable
• Straight 3’ USB cable
• 50 target dots
• Dual-lock mounting kit
• 2-year limited warranty

Technical Specifications -

• USB mouse interface
• No power cable needed
• Pocket size: 3.7 x 2.2 x 0.5 inches
• Light weight: 3.5 ounces
• Built in receiver for wireless switches
• Standard 3.5 mm input for wired switches


Student has good control of her head and can move it freely and with enough control that she should be able to use head movements to control the mouse. This devise is not obtrusive and unlike a giant pointer stick strapped to her head to push big keys on a keyboard, will allow her to work amongst her peers with a minimum of obvious adaptations. It is a piece of technology that will take some training for her to use efficiently but will allow her to control the keyboard on her own. It is an expensive piece of equipment at $979 but allows a lot of flexibility in use by our student.

These devices were all through I liked the site as it was easy to navigate and well organized. It also allows schools to purchase equipment without having to purchase through the internet, which is strictly taboo in our district.

4. Identify and comment, in your own words, about any of the websites referenced above that you found particularly helpful in developing your knowledge about assistive technology.

I thought that was really helpful. It was organized by population which made it easy to find materials instead of sifting through masses of information. It also put devices that complement one another on the right sidebar so it was easy to put together devices that would work together.

5. What are your thoughts about the different types of hardware. Comment on each on your blog or in your journal.

I don’t know why but I was amazed by the different types of assistive technology hardware out there. I was also surprised by the costs of various devices. For example, a large and bulky machine that does nothing but hold and turn pages of a book is over $5000 while a scanner that scans a page and then reads it to you costs less than $1000. Somehow, it seems that the price tags were reversed.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

AT module #1

This was in interesting module. I thought it was interesting that they used the celebrity thing with disabilities to get peoples interest. Clever.

Discovery exercise #1. How would I teach a blind student and how would I teach sighted students braille? Well, I read over the lessons that they had at the website and I thought some of them were very clever. In particular, I thought the teaching of the phases of the moon was outstanding. It would be highly useful for both sighted an unsighted students. I did not find anything on teaching sighted students braille. There were two links but the one was to a package that you could buy and the other did not work an redirected you back to the original site. I am not really sure how I would go about teaching anyone of any sight ability how to read braille.

In a library, it would obviously by important to be able to provide the materials needed if you were to have a blind student. Is there a ILL for braille materials to get what you would need when you need it because I think you would fiscally only be able to provide what is needed when it is asked for. Audiobooks are obviously a good way to go too.

Discovery exercise #2. Looking at teaching strategies for the classroom. There are tons of different things listed for LD on the website that we were directed to. I don't think it is very productive to list one thing that I can do for all students because they are all different and require individual accommodations according to their needs. I think that the best thing that I can tell myself in general is that the accommodations that I need to make are not to be confused with dumbing down material to get them through. As the website said, it is meant to "level the playing field." A LD does not mean that the student is any less intelligent than their peers, they just learn differently and we need to make sure we are providing the information to all.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thing # 21 - Whoops.

Well, in my frustration, I neglected to mention which podcasts I was trying to add the rss feed to the blog. One was on and was a teen update from a library. I thought it might be a good model for a school library. The other was on and was called librarygeek. It was a forum for librarians to leave comments.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Week 9, thing #23

We made it to the end. Woo-hoo! This course has been really interesting. I learned a lot and found the majority of the Things to be useful for my classroom. I think that there were lots of good things that I needed to be exposed to to help me be prepared to teach the techno generation that is filling up the seats of my classroom. Too bad Rollyo is so slow, I would really like to use that one more.
  1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey? I think that some of my favorite activites were the blog, LibraryThing and the photo sites. There were some fun mash-up sites.
  2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals? I think that it has opened up my eyes to ways of using technology in the classroom that I hadn't thought of before. I think that I immediately dismissed most tools as useless for education because I didn't understand them. It is good that I was forced to try them and there were lots of ideas for you about how to use in the library or the classroom. I have always prided myself on being open minded but this was a wake up call that I was closed to technology beyond the basics.
  3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? I think that I will be using a lot of things that I learned in this program in my classroom. That in itself is surprising given my previous attitude toward technology.
  4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept? I might rearrange the things a bit so that some of the weeks are not as lopsided as others. It seemed that some weeks took a lot longer than others to do. Evening them out would be helpful.
  5. If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate? If so, check outDiscovering Assistive Technology. I think I might.
  6. How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote Classroom Learning 2.0 learning activities? It was an eyeopening experience that exposed me to many new technologies that I can immediately use and put into action in my classroom.

Week 9, thing #21

Pod casts are interesting. I have listened to some before. My husband uses them in his classroom. I listened to several but will admit that I could not figure out the RSS feed. After spending over an hour and getting rather frustrated, I gave it up. Sorry.

Podcasts have tremendous potential in the classroom and beyond. I think they are only limited by the imagination of the person using them.

Week 9, thing #22

This is pretty cool. How can you go wrong with free ebooks? I thought that there were a lot of different options to download which was good, making it versatile for the reader to match their hardware.

I am glad I can download to my iphone. Here we go. . .

Saturday, November 7, 2009

week 9, thing #20

You Tube is fun. You can waste a lot of time watching dumb videos but there are some that are fun. I have to say I really enjoyed the first video that we were to watch about the medieval help desk. It was in Norwegian which I speak so that was fun. It isn't very often that you come across Norwegian videos. It was also really funny.

I did a search for library and for librarian. Some of my hits were good, some not so good. I liked two especially. The Adventures of Super Librarian was cute, obviously a commercial for the library which shows good use of YouTube to promote your library.

The other that I liked was OVERDUE - the library doo-wap number. It was a group of singing librarians that used the song to humorously bring in the effect of the patriot act on librarianship.

There are lots of ways that you could use YouTube in the library. You could make a video of where to find things in the library, a group project to make a movie about one of the features of the library, skits about new books to get kids to want to read them. There are only limits on the imagination, and, oh yeah, YouTube is blocked at my school.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

week 8, thing # 19

Library Thing is cool. This has so many possibilities! I can see my husband, who feels the need to digitalize everything, putting in our entire library collection.

I can definitely envision educational uses for this. It could be a forum for a book club or an English class. You could have students put in their favoriate books and find who has similar tastes in books to recommend to each other.

My list of books for my How'd They Do That? lesson is on the following link to Library Thing. They are books which would enhance the WebQuest. I put in a comment to accompany each book on my Library Thing.


week 8, thing #9 - take two

I have to laugh. The zoho writer imported my document into my blog beautifully with the exception of the last sentence which read, "If you are reading this then I guess it worked."

How ironic that I published all but that sentence. Computers really do have a sense of humor!

week 8, thing number18


This seems very similar to Google Docs which I have used before.  I am really not sure what the differences may be.  I have used Google Docs in the past.  My partner and I used it for a group project since we are in different parts of the country, we were able to work on the project without emailing back and forth.

My husband and I have the privledge to teach in the same district and we work together on a movie project with students.  We were able to have the script writing team use google docs.  We could oversee and the students could all access whenever they had a chance and all be up to date. 

I think that this applicaiton would be ridicuously usefull to a small business or even a large on, especially with the tag folders option.  There would be no need for a local network for document storage or sharing, you would only need internet access. 

In a classroom, the ability to do group work as mentioned above is greatly enhansed.  Also, the need for a flash drive or disk is reduced.  

I will be attempting to post this document to my blog.