Thursday, December 17, 2009

Two Best Readings

We had the opportunity to read many good chapters this semester.  Two of the chapters stand out as being very influential for incorporating technology in the field of Library Science.  First, I enjoyed reading Chapter 6 in Technology in the School Library by Odin Jurkowski (2006).  This chapter, entitled School Library Websites, discusses how media specialists can incorporate a website as a means of information for their students.  One of the main advantages is how quickly librarians can give updates on resources and materials.  Students and teachers can access information about the library from any location with the Internet, not just within the four walls of the library.

Jurkowski (2006) suggests that when beginning a website, be sure to have goals in mind.  It is recommended to include links to specific teachers, the library catalog, databases, local sites of interest, and your contact information.  It is also important to choose the software used to create and update the website.  It is critical that the librarian chooses what can be easily maintained and updated.  Considerations must be made if it will be hosted on the district’s website or an outside host.  Further, the website should have a design that is aesthetically pleasing, combining fonts, colors, and graphics.  It should be easy for patrons to navigate and locate information including younger children. 

I maintain a website for my second grade class and plan to continue this if I ever work in a school library position.  This chapter is a wealth of information for how to get started and what to include on a school library website.
The second chapter I read that I felt was valuable was Chapter 7, Online Social Networking by Brian S. Mathews located in the book, Library 2.0 and Beyond: Innovative Technologies and Tomorrow’s User, edited by Nancy Courtney (2007).  Online social networking has simply exploded in the past few years and it is important to include these technologies with students.  They are already familiar with many social networks such as blogs, MySpace, and Facebook.  Introducing the social networks into a library’s curriculum will appeal to young patrons.  “Social networking websites enable libraries to enter the social sphere of these younger patrons and to present a modern image,” (Mathews, 2007).  The library can be highlighted through photos, blogs, and online tours.  I think that it is so important to take advantage of social networks to increase the library’s exposure and enhance access to information. 

Jurkowski, O.L. (2006). Technology and the school library: A 

     comprehensive guide for media specialists and other 

     educators. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

Mathews, B. S. (2007). Online social networking. In N. Courtney (Ed.),  
     Library 2.0 and beyond: Innovative technologies and tomorrow’s 

     user (pp. 75-89). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Assistive Technology-Module 5

The Discovering Assistive Technology was very informative and I learned many new things about Assistive Technology products.  I especially liked learning about the software called the iCommunicator.  Having a deaf child in my second grade classroom last year was a tremendous experience and I learned so much about people living with a disability.  I know that my students benefited from having that child in my class as well.  We could see first hand how this child lived each day and overcame the challenges she faced.  Here is a link to a CD called Sound Hearing.  This CD and booklet really helped my students to understand what hearing was like for this child.  Examples are provided of a person reading a sentence with hearing, some hearing loss, and severe hearing loss.  I asked my students to imagine if that is what they heard everyday, all day, and how difficult that must be.  This CD truly opened their eyes to what their fellow classmate experienced with her hearing loss.

I absolutely plan to recommend this tutorial to other colleagues because it is important for all educators to understand what is available in the area of Assistive Technology.  I enjoyed reading the list of books on Library Thing and plan to read several books from the list.  I purchased many books with deaf characters and about sign language for my classroom when I had a deaf students because it was important to me to read about this disability and because I knew my students would benefit from them as well.

Thank you for a wonderful tutorial on Assistive Technology!

Assistive Technology-Module 4

Shelley White, injured in September 2001 by a powered parachuting accident, acquired a C5 spinal cord injury.  She is a learning support teacher at my school and gave a presentation to my class.  Shelley wrote a book about her accident called, New Opportunities, about a porcupine named Spiney that had an accident resulting in a spinal cord injury.  She gives school visits to teach children about having a disability and how it doesn't have to hold a person back.  You can visit her website and learn how this teacher decided to use her disability to teach children.  She truly is an inspiration to both children and


I took the quiz relating to people with disabilities and did very well with it.  I feel that my knowledge and attitude is appropriate for a teacher and I have good etiquette when talking to people that have a disability.  I was not surprised by the results and correct answers given in the quiz.  

When doing a web search on Assistive Technology I found five websites that had useful knowledge.

Access IT, The National Center on Accessible Information Technology in Education, University of Washington

This website provides the reader with a definition of Assistive Technology and over 160 articles about accessible information such as web pages, instructional software, and telecommunications and office equipment.

AbleData is a website that gives the reader information about assistive technology products and equipment.  They do not sell the actual products, but help people locate the companies that do sell the products.  There are over 36,000 products listed, resource listings, and a library of publications about assistive technology.

This website was created as a guide for families learning about Assistive Technology.  There is a definition of AT provided as well as a guide to making AT decisions and funding for AT.  There are links to Advocating for Assistive Technology, examples, and may articles that families can explore.

Wisconsin CESA Districts

This website provides a lending library, free publications, classroom materials, and learning opportunities for Assistive Technology.  The free materials are outstanding and discuss topics such as AT for Communication, AT for Computer Access, AT for Reading, AT for Recreation and Leisure, as well as materials for those who read Spanish as their main language.

This informational website provides the user with Computer Access Solutions for the blind, deaf, and those with learning disabilities.  Ability Hub provides consulting, evaluation, and training in Assistive Technology products and devices.  There is a plethora of information about mouse and keyboard alternatives, speech recognition software, and links to related searches.