ICT for Disabled Students

This prac has been filled with some exciting times in the world of ICT and how it opens many doors which would have been otherwise closes. A lot of people are talking about IWB or LED screens and IPads but in a special school ICT goes further than that.

I have witnessed ICT at my school, building confidence in disabled students who for the first time were able to use their hand held devices in which to communicate with other people.These students are non verbal and face many frustrating times when trying to communicate but by using Assistive Technology such as the Proloquo2Go: AAC In Your Pocket.This particular device brings joy and a sense of pride to non verbal students. The Proloquo2Go “brings natural sounding text-to-speech voices, up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a default vocabulary of over 7000 items, full expandability and extreme ease of use to the iPhone and iPod touch”(Autism Speaks). ICT is much more than an Ipad or IWB.

References:

Austim Speaks. (2016). Assistive Technology. Retrieved June 6, 2016 from https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/resource-library/assistive-technology

ICT and competitions

Today I stumbled across a fantastic competition called Young ICT Explores where will I take you.  This competition is divided into two sections Junior school Year 3 to 6 and Senior school 7 to 12.  I thought that this would be a wonderful opportunity in which to explore ICT at a much deeper level within the classroom.

Students would be exposed to different aspects of ICT, not just learning from it and through it but by actually creating it. By engaging students in this manner they gain an understanding of how important ICT is in today’s society and the many benefits that ICT encompasses. This type of engagement with ICT also allows for students to use higher order thinking in which to create their project. Carl states that “ICT formats enabled traditional representations of information to be presented in a means that was more visually stimulating, and rich in the type of information used to convey message to replace,enhance and transform learning”. Through entering competitions students not only gain an insight into their own level of knowledge but also how other students are thinking and interacting with ICT.

Don’t forget check out the competition of even look for others.

References:                                                                                                                                                 Young Explores ICT. (2016). Information. Retrieved June 6, 2016 from http://www.youngictexplorers.net.au/participants/

ICT on Prac

Today was extremely exciting not only for me but the students as well.  The school I was on prac at received a shipment of new Interactive White Boards (IWB) which just happen to be out of this world. The IWBs are not mounted on the wall they are on stands which move up and down and even lay flat in which students can all stand around the board to do wonderful things there is no more calibration or students cannot reach the screen.  There are multiple functions where up to ten students at any given time can move objects together.

One particular cool function was the Dojo app in which the whole class participates. Each student is given a little icon in which they can change, parents/caregivers can swap stories or give other information. Students can be given individual or group awards there are interactive games, hand writing lessons, math lesson, history, geography and art which just adds up to fun in teaching and learning.

After reading Jessica‘s blog on ICT I felt that the Dojo app for IWB is a wonderful teaching and learning tool.

Widening the Gap

Being on prac has really highlighted the gap between students regarding ICT.  I have found that some schools are extremely ICT focused and there are enough computers and iPads for all students and interactive whiteboards in all classrooms. There are schools which require a ‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) to schools and have around 95% of students who are able to comply.  Then there are the schools who struggle – there are no interactive whiteboards, classrooms may have four computers which all students share and only a handful of iPads. The most troubling issue is that this gap seems to be widening not closing.

Poverty is one the hardest issues to overcome.  The article How can educational ICT be relevant to the poorest of the poor is a wonderful read and helps us to understand that there are actually schools in Australia who are in the same situation.

Developing further

Firstly the issues and strategies which are available to support safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT are both in depth and widely available. The Australian Government has invested a large amount of time and money into advising schools, parents and students on how to remain safe in the digital world.  As I am doing my PE in a state school I have looked at the requirements both from the school and the Australian Curriculum website and learned that all documents are intricately interwoven.  Guided play with ICT, use of robotic toys and an understanding of online safety are what is required by the P – 2 year levels.

Is a bit hard to say what I am not ready to do as not knowing what the classroom dynamics are, or the level of ICT that is on hand at the school, or the capabilities of the individual students makes this questions a little hard to discuss.

If anything has change in my planning or thinking about planning is that after Tuesday I will know exactly what I need to do and the tools that I have to work with.

Quizzes for ICT

I personally have not had much experience with digital citizenship and the safe responsible and ethical use of ICT.  I have gained most of my knowledge through an understanding of right and wrong.

What has been highlighted to me is the fact that I do not know enough about cyber bullying and effects that this has on students.  I have always taught my own children to block, delete or unfriend anyone that said or laid claim to untruths.  What I have learned from doing the first quiz is that I have a lot more reading and up skilling to do in the digital citizenship area.  I failed the fist test only gaining ¼ but aced the second 25/25. I still struggle to understand the first question for even though the stats say that students who cyber bully do not have low self esteem then I wonder why they do it in the first place.

On reflection these quizzes were miles apart in information as the first quiz was really about statistics and the second was about common sense aimed at younger children.

To justify ICT in the classroom

I am not so sure that why when living in the 21st century that we feel the need to justify using ICT in the classroom it should just be the norm.

“The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion” (Lincoln, 2015, para. 4).  In Abraham Lincoln address to the congress in 1862 he stated the above words and they really sum up how we should view ICT education and rise with it instead of complaining about it. Many times I have heard, you will never keep up to date there are just too many changes, students will always know more than the teacher regarding ICT, we don’t have the connectivity, we don’t have enough computers so why even try and the list of complaints go on. In attempting to complete my current ICT course I have found that if you rise with it then are you on a journey in which others can join and therefore learn with each other and from each other.

So far I have stumbled fell heavily, tripped fell lightly, walked and even run through this journey which I know will be never ending and so I salute the words of Lincoln and continue to rise with the occasion and learn I all can on embedding ICT into the classroom in order for students to walk into their next journey of working in the next century.

Sometimes we all need a little encouragement and so I have found this great source of Abraham Lincoln’s quotes.

Hope you enjoy.

Reference.

Lincoln, A. (2015). Abraham Lincoln online – speeches and writings. Retrieved May 1, 2016 from http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/congress.htm