Sueyeon's Blog

I thought I would discuss the findings of my lit review paper on how Canadian post-secondary institutions are preparing teacher candidiates on the use of assistive technology (AT) devices for children with special needs. Through researching for this paper, I learned so much about the importance of AT devices in fostering the academic and social learning and development for children with special needs. I always had the idea that AT devices were bulky, expensive computers or machines that were only used for children with severe needs. But I learned that AT devices can ranges from something as simple as a pencil grip that only costs a couple of dollars to high-tech computer software that can cost thousands of dollars. There is a whole range of devices to meet the diverse needs of so many people, and it should be recognized as a critical tool for children with special needs. Children with sensory disabilities (hearing, visual), motor disabilites, learning disabilites and multiple disabilies could all benefit from the use of AT devices, but the problem is that most teachers (both general and special education teachers), do not know how to use AT devices. They don’t have the knowledge, training or expericne to adequately implement these tools into the curriculum or understand what kind of devices to use for specific needs.

       After reviewing the provincial policies and requirments/offerings of education programs in Canadian post-secondary institutions (undergraduate and graduate), I found that there is a strong lack of support and resource for current and candidiate teachers in the use of AT devices. Each province regulates the teaching certificate it issues to education graduates, but none of the provinces had any requirments of an AT course. Moreover, more than half of the province did not provide any teacher training courses or workshops in the use of AT devices. The other half did provide some form of training in education technology, but did not have a specific focus on AT.

      I also reviewed all of the post-secondary institutions in Canada that offered an educaiton program in the pre-service and graduate levels to see which insitutions either required or offered an AT course. Out of all of the institutions, there was only one institution that required an AT course. There were other institutions that offered an AT course as an elective, but that only made up about 18% of the institutions.

       More children with special needs are participating in an inclusive classroom and teachers have more demand to educate a diverse group of students and must be prepared and trained to address the needs of these students. In order to help teachers adequately support and enhance the academic experience of children with special needs, they should be trained to use AT devices. The provincial licensing of teachers and post-secondary institutions have a duty to help both current and future teachers be the best teachers they can be.

    Dr. Dwayne Hrapnuik, who was our guest lecturer talked about the projects that they have started at Abelaide Christian University. He focused on how innovative mobile learning can change the way we teach and learn. With all kinds of new technology that are out today, such as the iphone, netbooks..etc, we are able to learn anywhere anytime without having to be in the classroom. There was one quote which I thought very accurately pointed to our current situation with new devices coming up one after another: “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday, we rob them of tomarrow”. Before taking this course, I never really integrated education with technology, because I always had this idea of the traditional classroom with students sitting in a classroom. But I realized that education also needs to keep up with our growing use of high technology. Being able to keep up with technology is just as important as learning to read or write because it is extremely embedded in our everyday lives. Dr. Hrapnuik focused on the use of iphones regarding mobile learning and I thought it was interesting that he said that it’s not the iphone that is the amazing device, it’s the apps. It’s what you can do with it. And I agree with him because as an iphone user myself, it’s the applications that I download that really makes using the iphone fun and useful. Dr. Hrapnuik mentioned that the iphone can be used by students to do quizzes or keep up with lecture material. Those were not very surprising to me because we all do that, maybe not through iphones, but we all do that through blackboard or moodle. But what really surprised me was that the iphone can be used by the faculty also. Faculty members can learn students name by memorizing names that are linked to each student’s picture. I was blown away by the many uses of the iphone.

       I have to say honestly that before, I was a little scared of technology. With so many new high-tech devices being invented, I had this idea of everything becoming robotic in the near future. And I also thought that technology would just make people lazy. But after listening to this lecture by Dr. Hrapnuik and working on my project, which is on AT uses for children with special needs, I realize that technology helps a lot of people. Without it, the world would be a totally different place and many people, such as children with disabilities or students like ourselves, would not have to opportunity to learn through different modes. We would all be stuck in a set way of learning and teaching. Becasue of technology and our need to keep up with it, we force ourselves to think in innovative ways.

       I am really excited to be starting my project for this class. At first, I decided to write a paper on the different ways that technology can help enhance learning for students with special needs. Then, Dr. Irvine suggested that I get in touch with Professor Donna McGhie-Richmond, who is currently an assistant professor in the department of educational psychology. So I got in touch with her and I decided to do a literature review with her. The lit review is for a conference that she will be attending in May and it is about how Canadian post-secondary institutions are preparing future Canadian teachers of elementary to high schools to teach students who are using assitive technology. I sent her my outline, and after she reviewed it, this is what we came up with:

TITLE: Assistive Technology Training for Teachers: A Preliminary Look at Canadian University Offerings

I.      INTRODUCTION

  1. What is AT?
  2. Importance of AT for students with special needs
    1. Support participation, interaction and learning
  3. Some specific disabilities that are supported:
    1. Learning Disabilities
    2. Multiple Disabilities
    3. Communication Disabilities
    4. Sensory (i.e., blind; hearing impaired)

II.         QUESTION: Are teachers adequately prepared to implement AT in the classroom?

  1. What role do Canadian university Faculties of Education play in preparing teachers for AT (undergraduate/pre-service level and graduate levels – likely special education programs)
  2. What Provincial Policies or Standards of Practice guide the provision of education and training

III.         PROVINCIAL POLICIES

  1. Policies regarding AT training for teachers
  2. Which provinces require or offer as an elective AT courses as part of their programs (undergraduate or initial teacher preparation; graduate programs; diplomas)
  3. Which provinces provide separate courses/training for teachers without AT knowledge?

 

IV.       CANDADIAN UNIVERSITY PRE-SERVICE/GRADUATE PROGRAMS

  1. Which schools require and/or offer as electives an AT course at the pre-service level?
  2. Which schools require and/or offer as electives AT course at the graduate level?
  3. Opportunities for practice / practicum

V.        CONCLUSION

 

       I apolagize for the late post, but I have to say that the guest lecture by Dr. John Willinsky was one of the most interesting lectures that I have heard. At first, I didn’t know what open knowledge was. I thought it had something to do with the internet, but wasn’t exactly sure. After listening to Dr. Willinsky’s lecture, it made me more aware of the idea of free knowledge. As a social science student at Uvic, I have to do a lot of research and papers using articles from different journals. As Uvic students, we have access to the database of thousands and thousands of journals just with our net link id and password, so I have always taken this privilege for granted and never thought of myself being part of this whole controversey regarding open knowledge.

       Researchers receive government funding, which tax payers fund, and when researchers publish their findings, the public has to pay to read those articles. I do think this is unfair. The public should have rights to those “knowledge” freely, because they fund it. But, at the same time, I believe that having to pay for something, whether it is something tangible like food, or something untangible like knowledeg, it increases the value of it. By paying for it, we acknowledeg the importance of knowledeg. Dr. Willkinson mentioned that something that is free has no prestige. He gave an example of the Oxford Journal of Medicine. However, he also mentioned that articles that are free are read more and cited more. This increases the circulation of information and knowlede within academic institutions and scholars. Therefore, I think that there needs to be a balance of both. I like how a lot of journals provide all of their articles for free after a certain amount of time has passed.

This week, we learned about copyright laws and regulations. When we make things like podcasts, we cannot use copyright materials. It must be copyright free audio sounds. In the copyright video lecture, Inba Kehoe talked about the Copy Right Act of Canada. This act works to balance both the rights of the author and the user.

Rights for the author: authors need to be paid for what they produce and need to have control over what they create.

Rights for the user: the exceptions within the copyright act. It tells users the extent and condition in which they can use the copyrighted work.

What is covered in the Copy Right Act of Canada?

       Any creative works are covered. Creative works may be dramatic, musical, creative, literary works…ect.  So these works may be books, short stories, song lyrics or photography. As a creator, these works must be in a fixed format, such as in paper or online. You cannot copyright an idea. You must put the idea into a format. Canada has different laws than the US in that you do not need to copyright a work. Once it is in a fixed format, it is automatically copyrighted.

What do you get as a creator?

       There are 2 rights give to creators: economic rights, and moral acts.

               – Economic rights refer to the payments that creators recieve for their work. The creators can decide how they want their work to be produced and published. They can also assign their right to someone else. When assigning a right to someone else, it is important to remember that you should assigne non-exclusive rights as opposed to exclusive rights. An non-exclusive right assigns the work to someone else for them to publish but still maintains the creators right to modify or do something else with the work that they produced, while an exclusive right does not leave any rights to the original creator.

                – Moral rights cannot be assigned to someone else like economic rights. There are three kinds of moral rights: 1. Attribution-this refers to the fact that you, as a creator want people to refer back to you when they see your work. 2. Integrety-this is so that people do not take your work and distort it or use in a negative way that you, as a creator don’t want to be used.  3. Association

Copy rights in Canada last until the day the creator dies, plus an additional 50 years.

There are exceptions to uses of copyright material. Fair Dealing allows users to use copyright material without permission for private study, research,  criticism and review. The access copyright agency works for authors to make sure they recevie their loyalty for all of the works that they produce.

 Gordon Booth, the guest lecturer, talked about video conferencing (VC). In order to effectively do video conferencing, 3 steps must be kept in mind:

    1. planning: Planning involves thinking about the objective or purpose of the conference. Also, you need to know the background of your participants. This is important because knowing this information will allow you to think about what the participants can bring or contribute to the conference. This can help be better prepared. You also need to know about the on-site resources. Resources such as images, music or videos can enhance the effectiveness of the conference. And I think the most important is thinking about how you are going to transfer the information to the audience (information transfer). This is very important because it doesn’t matter how well you prepare yourself with resources or the participants backgrounds, if you cannot successfully get your information across, the whole conference will be useless.

   2. preparing: This next step I believe is very similar to the first step of planning, but I guess it involves more constructing than gathering information and resources. Once you have everything planned, you need to organize your information. Anything that allows you to cohesively construct how you are going to carry out your video conferencing can be considered preparing.

   3. practicing: This last step is very self-explanatory. Practice makes perfect 🙂 When practicing, it is important to keep in mind the content of the conference and don’t forget the purpose. When doing conferences, it’s very easy to lose sight of the main points and wonder off the irrelevant topics. So, know in advance 3-4 main ideas that the participants should leave the conference with. Also, presentation skills should be practiced. Gordon Booth mentioned that if participants do not talk in the first 3-4 minutes, the rest of the conference will not be much different. So keep in mind KWL to get them talking: K- What did you Know before? Get them talking about their past histories on this subject matter. W- What do you Want to know? Have them discuss what they are interested in knowing. And L- What you have Learned? After the conference, talk to them about what they learned and what they thought was interesing. Talking about the information presented in the video conferencing will allow them the retain the information. Also, Gordon Booth talked about monitoring, which is monitoring whether the participants are understanding the information. As a presentor, you should learn ways to see if participants are following or having trouble. And everyone learns differently so you should address different learning styles and construct the video conferencing to accomodate for those who may learn differently. The 3 main learning styles are:  1. visual learniners: these learner learn by looking at pictures or graphs. 2. auditory learners: these learners learn by listening and talking about the information. 3. kinesthetic learners: these learners learn by hands-on activities and by doing.

       As a first-timer for online courses, I would have to say this is definately not what I expected. I don’t mean it in a bad way, just different than what I initally thought an online course would be like. To be honest, I decided to take 2 online courses in addition to 2 lecture courses this semester because I thought not having to go to school for two of my classes would somehow give me more…freedom? I do think it’s a good experience as our era is the “era of technology”, but I don’t recommend online courses for those who are looking for an easy A, becasue it takes a lot of self-disciplin and hard work. But I do enjoy not having to sit during lectures though. 🙂


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  • katy: Hi Linsay, Good re-cap of what the lesson was about. Don't forget that you need to add your own personal reflections as well. This could be what YOU l
  • sueyeon: no...I don't think it's too late. I'm sure you can still post it.
  • anigmac9: I didn't know we have to post about what it means to be in an online course... am I too late?

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