Saturday, November 28, 2009

Week #12: Software Selections

I was surprised to find that such a wide range of assistive technology exists for those with ADD/ADHD. Although my original plan to work cooperatively with some of the other teachers from my school will not work out, I have still learned much through these exercises. My school is actually looking to improve technology in the area of special needs students and the school life skills programs, like cooking. They are going to be researching safer, easier to use and access appliances and items of that nature. I shared some of the information from our course, but they are just getting started and won't have their recommendations in place until Spring 2010.
As for Mod #3:
We were asked to make a rubric to evaluate our resources. I believe that the important items in our rubric would be cost, effectiveness/success, Number of students needing this type of assistance, easy of use, availability to upgrade.
I downloaded the 30 day free trial of Inspiration; however, I thought it was very difficult to use. Additionally, I worry about "free" downloads and my laptop which is running Vista. I have had some issues with programs like these and my laptop. Fron what I could see, this program should create organizers like charts and graphs which visual learners find very helpful. I'll keep working on it to see if it gets any easier.
When I tried to install the Kurzweil demo, it kept offering to send me a CD version; however, I never could get it to run on my laptop. I figured that I would not receive the CD in time for the course so I did not order that.
Next, I looked at all the assistive tech available on my laptop running Vista. I was shocked to learn that I could change the contrast for easier viewing, work with no mouse or an altered one, that I have Speech recognition installed although it apparently takes a while to "train" the system to recognize my voice.
I also visited InfoEyes which is a wonderful aid for the visually impaired. I have already asked a librarian a question online for another course, but this actually allowed you to set up an appointment for a live chat.
My software selections are posted in a document on our DB, but they are
PlayAttention, Watchminder2, BrainBuilder, and the Listening Program.

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