Friday, November 25, 2011

Journal #9: "Reading Redefined for a Transmedia Universe" by Annette Lamb NETS-T V

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and Leading With Technology39(3), 12-17. Retrieved from

This article helps me as an educator to evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning.

Summary:  Reading has evolved just as technology has. "Once upon a time, reading was as simple and straightforward as decoding words on a page. No more. Digital age technologies have made such an impact on the way we interact with content that the old definitions of reading and books no longer apply." This article discusses further advancements being made involving reading. Readers now have several different high tech tools they can use at their leisure for such reading purposes. These tools include ebooks such as Kindle, Nook, and iPad. These tools have made owning a large collection of books as simple as purchasing and downloading and storing it to the device. Readers can carry around thousands of books in just a little hand held computer. Lamb pointed out in her article that with these devices readers can highlights and enlarger text, bookmark exactly where they left off, and look up any unknown or unfamiliar words with access to a dictionary on the same device. I have been on the market for such a device and have concluded that I want an iPad, actually I need an iPad so that I can use it in my scholarly efforts to further my education as well as for its broad amount of educational applications.

Question #1: How necessary is it for teachers to have technology tools such as an iPad or kindle?

The digital equivalent has an equal promise in revolutionizing both teaching and learning activities. Teachers can have instructional support, literally at their fingertips, in the learning environment. In fact, David Stevenson of Wireless Generation says that 7-inch tablets are perfect tools for classroom teachers. Students can also be empowered with individualized instruction, think Teacher-mates on steroids.

Question #2: What is an ebook?
An electronic book variously, e-bookebook, or digital book is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices. Sometimes the equivalent of a conventional printed book, e-books can also be born digital. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines the e-book as "an electronic version of a printed book," but e-books can and do exist without any printed equivalent. E-books are usually read on dedicated e-book readers. Personal computers and some smart mobile phones can also be used to read e-books.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Journal #8 NETS-T IV

This blog post addresses the diverse needs of all learners by using learner centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources.

Journal 8: Adaptive Technology

Communication & Accessibility

Augmentative and Alternative Communication or AAC includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. Every body uses AAC when making any type of facial expressions or gestures, when using symbols or pictures, or writing.
People with severe speech or language problems rely on AAC to supplement existing speech or replace speech that is not functional. Special augmentative aids, such as picture and symbol communication boards and electronic devices, are available to help people express themselves. This may increase social interaction, school performance, and feelings of self-worth. AAC users should not stop using speech if they are able to do so. The AAC aids and devices are used to enhance their communication. There are many tools that students with communication problems can use in the classroom to better their education and understanding. Some examples of tools that can be used include no/low tech tools such as Symbol Display Books as well as high tech tools like an iPad.

No/Low Tech Tool:

Symbol display books are specifically designed for AAC purposes. These books are designed to be just one 'tool' in a person’s 'toolbox of communication methods'. This type of aid is used to assist a person to communicate more effectively. Sometimes it is difficult find the words one wishes to use these books assist with understanding of other people’s spoken language. This tool can be used in the classroom with both the teacher and the student as well as with peers and the student in which a communication partner points to the symbols as they talk to the person with a learning disability.
A child who uses speech will independently select the words she wishes to use from the vast array of words she hears/sees used everyday. A child who uses AAC will independently select the words he/she wishes to use from the vocabulary other people have chosen to model and, for aided symbols, made available for her to use.

High Tech Tool:

The iPad is a computer device that can dowload specific applications that will aid in AAC. One example of such applications include TouchChat HD for iPad. This application is a full-featured communication solution for individuals who have difficulty using their natural voice. TouchChat is designed for individuals with Autism, Down Syndrome, ALS, apraxia, stroke, or other conditions that affect a person's ability to use natural speech.
Another application one could also download that has received great recognition and was actually covered on a piece on 60 minutes is Proloquo2Go. This application also provides a full-featured communication solution for people who have difficulty speaking. It brings natural sounding text-to-speech voices, close to 8000 up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a large default vocabulary, full expandability and extreme ease of use to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The basic structure of Proloquo2Go is made to utilize the best of both worlds: word based construction and powerful phrases. So whether you are chatting with a friend, answering a question about a current event, or constructing a story to tell later in the day, the system is designed to be easy and effective for a broad range of individuals.
Teachers can download different applications onto a classroom iPad and use it with learning impaired students. These individuals will benefit from any AAC applications possessing so many different features that will address their specific needs. For example, individuals who are advanced communicators may be more concerned with generating fast messages with text-to speech features and do not need symbols or pictures to aid with communication and comprehension while others benefit from the pictures and aids. Variety is the spice of life and I’m so glad that we have a variety of AAC applications to choose from and that technology can do such wonderful things for education. Can you imagine how boring and more difficult life would be if we didn’t have all these choices! This device and can be used for many different educational or personal purposes.

An input device is any hardware device that sends data to the computer, without any input devices, a computer would only be a display device and not allow users to interact with it, much like a TV.

Hardware Tool:

MegaBee is a simple-to-use writing tablet to aid frequent communication. The tablet uses eye movement and blinking as the method to select letters, which are displayed on the integral screen. It's fully portable and can be used for bed-confined, home-care and chair-mobile situations. Whilst the unit does not require computing equipment for its basic operation it does however have Bluetooth wireless communication ability should the user require to display on a larger screen or input text into a personal computer. For example the letter ‘K’ would be selected by looking first at the blue block where the letter K is located and blinking (the carer then presses the blue button), then, as the letter ‘K’ is black, the user looks at the black block and blinks (the carer presses the black button and the letter ‘K’ appears on the screen). Similar protocols exist for deleting text and adding spaces, as well as accessing various menu functions such as bluetooth, contrast, scrolling and other housekeeping facilities. There is an LCD display on each side of the tablet, visible to reader and writer. A powerful vocabulary facility is also provided. This allows users to compile their own set of shorthand words or phrases which can be uploaded at will. For example ‘T2’ might assigned to ‘Television’, or ‘H1’ means ‘I am too hot’. These phrases can be changed to suit varying situations such as bed care, mobility, or in the case of ward supervision, can be changed for different users.

Software Tool:
Software that can be used for AAC are plenty a website that gives great resoucres for such programs is One is example of such a program is, AAC Keys, which is a keyboard and mouse emulation program for Microsoft Windows-based and Macintosh computers. AAC Keys receives commands through your computer's serial port and translates them into keystrokes and mouse movements, giving you full control of your computer from another device such as an AAC system.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Journal #6

Parr, B. (2011, July 16). Google+: The complete guide. Retrieved from

SUMMARY: Mashable covers thoroughly the aspects of Google plus. He summarizes quite simply how Google Plus will function beneficially for users as a social network. The article includes quotes from people who state why you should use Google Plus and I have to agree with them and add, "It is nice to be able to create a circle and chat via web cam with a group of two or more people. It is funny how Facebook has just adopted list's to its tool bar, similar to how Google plus allows you to create circles." It is nice to be able to create circles and keep your friends separate from your co-workers, and family. The article describes how quickly and easily it is to get started as well as the proponents of the site as a tool on Google. The video explanation makes this article easier to understand if you have never used a social network before.

QUESTION: Google is a enormous search engine, How much of your life is being monitored and recorded when using social networks such as Facebook, and now Google plus?
You should know that sharing some information puts you at risk. If you provide the year and where you were born too, you’ve just given identity thieves a key to stealing your financial life. Criminals can identify specifically when and where you are when you are out of your house by using gadgets such as "checking in" and make it easily for them to know how long they have to break into your home while you are away. Employers commonly peruse social networking sites to determine who to hire and, sometimes, who to fire. Insurers are increasingly turning to the web to figure out whether their applicants and customers are putting their lives or property at risk. It is as interesting as it is dangerous to use social networks, so be aware of the information you are providing to almost everyone!

Brogan, C. (2011, Sept 30). Educators – Google Plus is for you. Retrieved from

SUMMARY: After reading this article I feel as though Google Plus will definitely be a great tool for teachers to use. It is easy to create a circle/group and then you can then share lesson plans with each other making teaching the curriculum allot easier.  After having created and used the account users will see how beneficial it is to use this Google Gadget in a professional way. The article is short and sweet and leaves you with links to create and account, information on how to blog, and how it is different from other social networks.

QUESTION:  How exactly is Google+ different from other social networks?


I had a hard time finding ways that these networks are so different. With Twitter it is obvious, but with the competition of advertisement the networks are constantly changing and becoming more alike everyday. Facebook is a symmetric sharing model. First you are connected with people both ways and then contents are shared privately. Twitter has an asymmetric follow system. People share publicly and you can follow to know about them. But, Google+ has a different model- Asymmetric sharing model which is primarily a privacy based model. Essentially Google+ is a social network, like Facebook and Twitter but with some added features that make it stand apart. There have been many posts flying around about Google+ killing Facebook and/or Twitter but I think Google has a slightly different agenda. Of course they would like to ‘steal’ some of their users but essentially Google is interested in gathering more and more data about people and their connections. This allows them to provide a more personalized and social web experience. Google is using Google+ profiles and information shared through circles and sparks to create an even clearer picture of you (which Facebook has just adopted as list's). It is slowly gathering more data about you, your interests, your friends, your network and what they share and are interested in. Scary stuff!