Saturday, April 19, 2008

Journal # 10

Disabled Bodies, Able Minds: Giving Voice, Movement and Independence to the Physically Challenged. By Diane Curtis. 2/2/2005

This article discusses some of the technological equipment that is available to handicapped students to enable them to learn, communicate and participate in outside activities at school. It profiles students using technology including computers, cell phones, joysticks etc. and how these new technologies allow the students to participate more fully in their educational experiences and gain independence both in schools and in their daily lives.
There are many efforts out there to assist with acquiring and technologies for students with disabilities including the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Interworking and Technology,) who work to make sure that all students are actively engaged in their education and giving them more independence in life.

1. Who foots the bill for these new technologies?
It is important that there are organizations like DO-IT who can help provide some of these computers and other technological devices, otherwise it seems likely that schools and districts will allow this to move to the back-burner especially in the wake of the economy and the school budget crisis. I am also pretty certain that for parents who do not have students who need assistive technologies, there is little incentive to push school districts into acquiring the necessary tools.

2. What happens when students who have access to these technological tools through the school systems graduate?
Are there any measures in place for these students once they age out of the standard educational system? It seems unfair that a student who has been able to communicate through software provided by the school system will suddenly have no way of communicating because he can’t afford the technology on his own.

Journal # 9

Are Schools Inhibiting 21st Century Learning? By David Nagal. THE Journal, April 2008.

This article discusses the Speak Up survey relating to technology. Speak Up surveys are conducted every year to assess current educational issues and are made to be shared with policy makers in the state and the nation. This survey interviewed students, teachers, administrators and parents about the use of technology in the classroom. The idea that students often know more about emerging technologies while teachers and administrators are often behind the curve is addressed, as is the benefits of technology in the classroom. One of the problems the survey found is that students often feel that schools hold their technological use back by limiting the use of technological tools and the ways that they are able to use.
1. How do students who do not have access to this technology come into play?
Although the survey conveys the frustration of students who are not able to use their own equipment, or who are limited by the amount of time they can access technology in the classroom. It does not address how using personal technology may negatively impact students who do not have access to technological tools outside of the classroom. The survey did find out that only one third of students have access to a laptop outside of school.

2. How do you give students access to the internet in the classroom and keep them on task?
One of the problems that students have, according to the survey is that they are limited in their use of technology and how they can use it. One of the problems with having students using the internet is keeping them on task, and while I think it is important to allow students to explore technology on their own, especially if the students don’t have access to the internet outside of the classroom, it is important to make sure that they are doing things online that are educational and appropriate.