Sunday, November 27, 2005

I finally started putting together the Kool Kids Sign website using my characters on the flash page. I also set up the Teachers and So You Want to Get a Job websites under the Kool Kids Sign website. Both the Teachers site (an online curriculum? not sure what word to use-we were studying eLearning when I made it-for regular education teachers with hearing impaired students in the classroom) and the So You Want to Get a Job sites were projects completed during my Instructional Technology master's degree.

Not all of the links are working although most of them do. I don't think the discussion boards will work. They are at my old site and I don't think the links will work right until I fix them.

I have a vision for Kool Kids Sign but not enough artistic skill to complete it. A couple years ago I made videos with a student I was working with to be shown during homeroom to teach her classmates sign language. They were only 1 or 2 minutes long for each day. The idea was to then put the signs up at Kool Kids Sign for the students to go and get reminders of what was played in class. I would love to finish this concept and make tapes that other schools could use with the website as a reinforcer. I would love to have games there too to help the students practice. I have thought about using puppets to make videos-I worry about child safety on the internet-but have not been able to find any that look like the characters I drew for the website.

So You Want to Get a Job was also a vision I had during my classes. Included in there I would love to have a practice interview session with signing characters. If I was rich I could maybe succeed in creating that with the use of the Sign Smith Studio software by Vcom 3D.

The teacher's website I also want to eventually expand to include worksheets and lessons. I created worksheets for the Flat Stanley book by Jeff Brown that I want to post and also for a book about a deaf child who goes to a hearing camp called The Best Sign by Bonnie Highsmith Taylor.

Maybe someone will read this and help me make my visions come true:) In the meantime enjoy what is posted.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Workshop Day

Today the IU held their special ed conference. We have it every year on Election Day. Many years there really are no workshops I am interested in attending or they are all at the same time. This year there weren't any I was desperate to go to but at least I did find some to choose.

One workshop was about cochlear implants. The speaker was interesting but I had mostly heard it before.

I went to a workshop called "Assistive Technology for Writing." Bill Ziegler, the speaker, talked about intellikeys, alphasmarts and other such equipment. Nothing really new there but he also introduced us to two computer programs that he had developed. They can be downloaded from here, for free, by following the Download Software link.

One is Just My Type. The student dictates what he wants to say to the teacher who types it in and then the student practices typing it in. There are a variety of keyboards to choose from and it shows them which letters to type on the onscreen keyboard. Included is Just My Worksheets. You may choose vocabulary words and print spelling worksheets, word searches writing practice sheets etc.

The other one is Report Cards. This one is a simplified graphics organizer for students with writing problems. The first thing the student does is pick a topic. Then he/she creates three subtopics for three paragraphs. The student is able to brainstorm ideas or create sentences. After the three subtopics the student creates up to five supporting details. If the student has problem remembering what he/she wants to say while writing it, the program is setup for the student to record each sentence and then play it back to type in. Once all the sentences are written they can be rearranged into a better order.

Unfortunately for PC users both programs are MAC compatible only. This is because MAC has built in voices and both programs read what is typed to the student.

Now if only I can get Bill to adapt Report Cards so that instead of the students recording their ideas/sentences they can videotape them then this would be perfect for our signing deaf kids. As it is the program is still great. Both of these programs are on my list to show at the PESDHH convocation if we have a computer lab.

The last workshop was on cyberbullying and cyber sexual assault. I chose that because of my degree in instructional technology and the fact that it can become an issue in that field. It was presented by a woman from NOVA (Network of Victim Assistance.)

One of her points was that parents should not ban the internet from their children but instead should put the computer where there are adults present and to partner with the child showing them the proper way to use the internet. I did put our home computer where it is in the middle of everything but I do not sit down with my daughter while she is online. I have made a point of emphasizing to her about internet safety and the dangers of posting info online.

One of the things that surprised me was the fact that most of the predators do not lie about their age. I had always heard that they lure the girls by lying about their age but apparently it's not true.

A colleague and I discovered this year that there was a student who met someone online and then met him at the mall. She appears to have been lucky and the boy is really a boy. She seemed to be unaware of the dangers of the internet. Because the student has to read for one of her classes we are going to look for a book called A Girl's Life Online. It is the story of a young girl who fell for a sexual predator and was raped. Maybe this will help her understand the dangers better since she is your typical teenager and doesn't want to listen to the adults.

This year was definitely a good year for workshops. Hopefully future years will be also.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Possible Training Opportunity

Back on September 29 I wrote about the PESDHH (Pennsylvania Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) convocation and the possibility of doing training/workshops there. I went to the first planning meeting on Wednesday. The theme looks like it will be something involving Diversity of Learners since we have such a wide range of students we work with. As time goes on there seem to be more and more special needs deaf and hard of hearing students.

As we were talking I was thinking that it would be difficult to propose trainings (the reason I was there) but the person I had been talking to (Susan) brought it up. It really would be possible to do trainings since each of the three Pattan offices have 75 laptops for trainings.

We discussed possible trainings and whether or not I would want to do one (if you read my blog from August 9 and August 10 you'll understand.) One idea that Susan had where I would not actually have to do a training was to have a drop in lab to see and do things. I think we should still have a training of something but the drop in lab is a great idea too. I thought about it later and came up with the idea to have websites bookmarked for everyone to look at when they came in and also maybe it would be great if we had different software installed that are considered hearing friendly (a good resource for that is the database on the TecEds website at the Clerc Center in D.C.) I guess I will have to start going through that to see what I can find. I can also ask Rosemary (my supervisor from my internship) for ideas. I know I want to show something from Sherston, VCom 3D, and Team up with Teamo (it would really be great if they would do exhibits if we have them.)

Auditory Version of the ABC game

I started the auditory version of the ABC fruit and vegetable game in PowerPoint. The problem is that the animated gif that is used if the answer is wrong does not play after it has been accessed one time. If the child makes more than one mistake then they don't get the animation the second time just the end frame.

Any input let me know here is the link

ABC Fruit and Vegetable Auditory game