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									Integrating Technology into
Literacy Based Activities for
Children with Deafblindness

     Patricia Weismer, MS.Ed
    Perkins School for the Blind
  What is literacy?

      Old definition:

“ability to read and write”
        New definition:

“Proficiency in understanding and using written as
well as spoken language as a reader, writer,
speaker, and listener. Literacy is an integrated
process which develops gradually from birth and is
built upon learning from broad experiences, linking
language with the development of concepts, and
providing exposure to the written word in a variety of
meaningful contexts” (Wright, 1997).
    Goals of Reading & Writing

   Ultimately the goal of reading is for the reader to
    obtain meaning from text and apply it to the world
    and oneself.

   The goal of writing is to communicate an individuals
    understanding of the world and themselves through
    written text. (Koppenhaver, 2000)
   Delayed concept development
   Decreased incidental learning
   Reduced exposure to literacy materials
   Medical challenges
      Assistive Technology
“Any item, piece of equipment, or product
system, whether acquired commercially off
  the shelf, modified, or customize, that is
   used to increase, maintain, or improve
   functional capabilities of a child with a

    Instructional Technology
“Instructional technology is any software or
   hardware designed to teach the general
       population of children ideas and

          Universal Design
    “Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a
framework for designing curricula that enable all
     individuals to gain knowledge, skills, and
   enthusiasm for learning. UDL provides rich
supports for learning and reduces barriers to the
 curriculum while maintaining high achievement
                  standards for all.”

                        Principles of UDL
   Principle 1:
       To support recognition learning, provide multiple, flexible
        methods of presentation
   Principle 2:
       To support strategic learning, provide multiple, flexible methods
        of expression and apprenticeship.
   Principle 3:
       To support affective learning, provide multiple, flexible options
        for engagement.

    Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age (Rose & Mayer, 2002)
Technology, UDL and Literacy
   Books
       Off-the-shelf book
       Audio Book
            Book on CD, tape, or MP3
       Electronic book
            Using AT hardware and software
            Individualized
   Worksheets
       Paper worksheets
       Electronic worksheets
           Why use Technology?

   Increases motivation and engagement
   Increases independence
       Appropriate access modes
   Activities easily modified for diverse
   Promotes group interaction and activities
       Group “jobs” (scaffold participation)
 Choosing the Right Technology
         and Software
1.   What will motivate the student?
2.   What are the student’s strengths?
3.   What the student’s access needs?
4.   What is the GOAL of the activity?
5.   How will you assess the skills learned?
Access Modes
                   Access Modes
   Consult with OT and PT
       Positioning
       Motor skills
   Consult with Speech Therapy
       Use of appropriate symbols/language
   Teach the access mode
       Repeat the motor pattern until automatic
       Increase content as motor skills become automatic
                Access Modes

   Cognitive Load vs. Physical Load
       Guide to choose activities
       Consider learning objectives
       Give opportunities to increase fluency with
       Use a combination of off computer and on
        computer activities
   Commonly available--can often be shared with families
   Single switch (cause-effect) can be used but not
   Music, text-to-speech software can be incorporated
   Free text-to-speech software is available for the
    Windows based PPT
   Text can be adapted to preferred contrast/size
   Easily printable to make paper version
   Switch accessible (single/step-scan)
   Pre-made templates available
   Pre-made activities available from activity exchange
   Extension activities available within the software
   Auditory preview options available with scanning
   Curriculum activities available for all subject areas
    Intellitools Classroom Suite
   Switch accessible (single/step-scan)
   Templates available within software or on the
    activity exchange
   Many extension activities available to support
    learning/literacy activities
   Curriculum activities available for all subject
   Activities can be very individualized or
Creating a Literacy Based Unit

           Literacy Kits
       Reading and Writing
       Assessment Activities
        Story Boxes & Literacy Kits
   Props related to the          Story box
    story                         Communication
   Adapted book(s)                boards
       Appropriate for each      Extension activities
        student                       Worksheets
       Audiobooks                    Games
   Switches                          Electronic activities
                                      Assessment
             Story Boxes

            line picture                Curriculum
             book with                  books with
  Objects                  books with
               objects                   materials
   only                     materials

Concrete                                 Abstract
        Advantages of Electronic
   Electronic books vs Audiobooks
   Books can be easily modified for a diverse group
       Pictures, text, and content
   Books can be easily modified for varied lessons
   Promotes INDEPENDENT book reading skills
       Reading the book, choosing the book , holding the book
   Bring the book experience “alive”
       Animations can be included
   Interactive features can be included
       Quizzes, hunt and find activities, click on a picture and it
        Student Considerations
   Visual
   Tactile
   Physical
   Cognitive
   Lesson goals and objectives
                Adapting Books
   Modifications to pictures
       Simplify backgrounds
       Highlight main picture
       Reduce clutter
       Color considerations
               Adapting Books

   Modifications to print
       Language/content
       Layout
       Font Size
       Add symbol support
                      Adapting Books
   Tactile enhancements
       Braille
            Consider reading skills
                 Highly main words or simplify sentences
                 Use of contractions
       Use of tactile symbols or objects
            Use during assessment activities
       Use of tactile enhancements
            Replace the pictures
Communicating about it!
         Communication Switches
   Big Mac (or other similar switch)
       Repetitive line in a story
       Journal entry
       Yes/No questions
       Comment (Yay, I like it…)
   Step-by-step
       Repetitive line in a story
       Social scripts
       Morning meeting preparation
         Communication Boards
   Software
       Boardmaker -
            Speaking Dynamically Pro
       Picture It -
   Uses
       Communication during group activities
       Expressive communication while reading a story
       Use low-tech paper copy or voice out-out device
            Considerations with
           Communication Boards
   Consistency
       Use familiar symbols/words across all settings for generalization
       Keep a similar format for all boards
   Vision
       Layout of board
       Fonts
       Contrast
           Supporting Activities
   Matching activities
   Sorting activities
   Sequencing activities
   Vocabulary review
   Writing activities
       Worksheets
       Responses
       Making your own books
   Assessment
            Making own books

   Fun and engaging activity
   Promotes language and communication skills
   Teaches books can be different:
       Shape and size
       have different parts (pages, cover, etc.)
       may contain pictures and writing
   Book skills
       Read left to right
       Written by author
    (Swenson, 1999, p.27)
                 Experience stories

   Incorporate a class experience
       Teaches concept of self and others
   “Written” using the experience
       Objects collected
       Tactile symbols created
       Pictures
       Songs
       Vocabulary
   Expand on a social experience
       Write the story together or share the story
        Journaling & Home Books

   Develop memory skills and develop vocabulary
   Expand on language skills
       Answering questions
       Commenting
   Expand on writing skills
       Objects, tactile symbols, pictures, words, text
          Assessment Strategies

   Use meaningful activities
   Find ways to increase independence
       Assistive tech
       Design of the activity
   Teaching time vs assessment time
   Purposely change things and observe
       Invert letters, text, pictures, sentences
   Create activities for assessment of your students’ skills
    and comprehension
       Answer questions about stories read
       Fill in the blank
       Post tests
   Alternate Assessment data collection
       Electronic data collection
         Positive Literacy Outcomes

   Discover that books are fun
   Foster a desire to read
   Awareness that symbols represent meaning
   Understand that stories come from print
   Awareness of the structure of a story
   Hearing “book language” as different from “conversational language”
   Develop new vocabulary
   Learn book handling skills

(Stratton, 1996; Newbold, 2002)
               What now?

   Take one step at a time
   Use ready made and available resources
   Plan with the team
               Thank You

   Resources
                         Works Cited
   Koppenhaver, D. 2000. Literay in AAC: What should be written on the
    envelope we push? Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 16, 270-
   Miles, B. 2000. Literacy for persons who are deaf-blind. Monmouth, OR:
    DB-LINK: The National Information Clearinghouse on Children Who Are
   Miller, Cyral. 2001. What is the Expanded Core Curriculum for Blind and
    Visually Impaired Students? See/Hear.
   Musslewhite, C. & King-DeBaun, P. (1997). Emergent Literacy Success:
    Merging Technology and Whole Language for Students with Disabilities.
    Park City, UT: Creative Communicating.

    Newbold, S. 2000. Emergent literacy for young blind children. Phoenix: The
    Foundation for Blind Children
Reading  Language Arts: Shared reading. From the MCPS Early Literacy Guide.
Retrieved April 29, 2005, from
Spadorcia, S. & Sturm. (2001). Literacy Kits. Adapted from K. Erickson. Handout
from Graduate Course: Emergent Literacy and Numeracy Instruction for Children with
Severe Special Needs (ESPED 6127 Section 21). Lesley University, Cambridge, MA.

     Stratton,   J. 1996. Emergent literacy: A new perspective. Journal of Visual
                        Impairment and Blindness, 90(3), 177-18

 Swenson,   A. 1999. Beginning with braille: Firsthand experiences with a balanced
                    approach to literacy. New York: AFB Press.


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