Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Turning Lemons Into Lemonade Teaching Assistive Technology Through Wikisand Embedded Video

Turning Lemons Into Lemonade Teaching Assistive Technology Through Wikisand Embedded Video

Ratings: (0)|Views: 6|Likes:
Published by geissjet

More info:

Published by: geissjet on Sep 20, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





TechTrends January/February 2009
Volume 53, Number 1
e teach instructional technology cours-es to pre-service teachers at MillersvilleUniversity o Pennsylvania. Te ocuso the instructional technology courses is onthe authentic use o instructional and assistivetechnology in the K-12 classroom. radition-ally, our Instructional echnology course in-cludes a unit on assistive technology (A) thatculminates with students visiting the A lab oncampus. At the lab, we hope that our studentsare able to apply the concepts we discuss in ourclasses by getting hands-on practice with oneo the assistive devices available or use in thelab. Tis semester, however, the entire School o Education moved into a new building on cam-pus and the A lab was being recongured inits new space. As a result o the move, our Alab was closed or most o the semester. Tiscreated a serious dilemma. We did not want toremove the entire A unit rom the course, butwe worried whether the unit would be as eec-tive without students visiting the lab.Inspiration came through a student’s sponta-neous remark during class. During a discussionon A in one o our classes, a student describeda device that she observed being used in an el-ementary school during a eld placement expe-rience. As she explained how the assistive tech-nology device unctioned and how it aided thestudent in the classroom, she remembered thatshe saw a Youube
video that demonstratedits use. Running to the ront o the room andusing the instructor podium and projector, sheexcitedly navigated the Youube site and dis-played the video on the screen or the entireclass to see. Te streaming video showed a stu-dent using the same assistive technology devicethat she had seen used during her eld place-ment. Te device transerred spoken word intotext through the use o a wireless microphoneand a student laptop. Te level o access thedevice provided or the student astonished theclass. Te pre-service teachers were amazed andexcited. Tis spontaneous teaching moment ul-timately lead to the solution to our dilemma.
The Solution: An AssistiveTechnology Wiki
Afer seeing the pre-service teachers’ reac-tions to the Youube
video, we consideredhow we could utilize these streaming videosin some educational manner. For our assistivetechnology unit, we wanted the pre-serviceteachers to reect on the technology availableto K-12 students with special needs but we also
Turning Lemons into Lemonade:
Teaching Assistive Technologythrough Wikis andEmbedded Video
By Oliver Dreon, Jr. and Nanette I. Dietrich
Volume 53, Number 1
TechTrends January/February 2009
wanted our pre-service teachers to share their re-ections with their classmates. Tese objectivesseemed perectly suited or a wiki assignment.Wikis allow multiple editors to contribute in asingle online space. Because they are relatively simple to use and reely available on the web,wikis encourage collaboration between users(Goodwin-Jones, 2003).While there are many explanations or whatmakes wikis work in educational settings, wepreer to view their ability to promote learningrom a sociocultural perspective. Based on work by Vygotsky (1978) and Dewey (1933), sociocul-tural theorists believe that learning is situated insocial and physical contexts, occurs through in-teraction within a group, and is distributed acrossthe individual, the community, and the tools they use (Brown et al., 1989; Lave & Wenger, 1991;Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2003; Wertsch, 1998).Embracing this perspective, learning is not basedsolely on an individual’s ability to acquire knowl-edge and skills but also on an ability to partici-pate in a community. Applying this perspectiveto wiki use, when students use a wiki they par-ticipate in and help to develop an online commu-nity. By collaborating with other students, they contribute to the construction o new knowledge.In this assignment, the wiki would not only serveas the tool or mediating the ow o inormationbetween pre-service teachers but also work todevelop a community o learners through jointparticipation and shared practice.We created our class wiki and asked our pre-service teachers to post Youube
and each-erube
videos that demonstrated A. We gaveeach section o the course a short tutorial on howto modiy the wiki’s content and how to embed video within the wiki. We asked the classes to beconscious o how the K-12 students were por-trayed in the videos and to only post videos thatwere respectul in nature. We also explained thatwe wanted each pre-service teacher to post a di-erent video and to comment on the posts romtheir classmates. Without access to the A lab,we hoped this experience would oer somethingmeaningul or the classes.As we watched the pre-service teachers’ wikiactivity over the ollowing weeks, we realizedthat the project was not just a solution borne outo necessity. In many ways, it oered unique ben-ets that a visit to the A lab could not provide.While the wiki project did not give pre-serviceteachers hands-on contact with any specic de- vices, it provided powerul experiences that willbenet our pre-service teachers as they begintheir teaching careers. Here are just a ew obser- vations we made as we watched our students par-ticipate in the A wikis with their classmates.
Personalizing AssistiveTechnology
When pre-service teachers visited the A lab,it was usually empty. While the lab houses many dierent assistive devices, our classes never ob-served special needs students actually using thedevices. In a way, having our pre-service teach-ers visit an empty lab taught them that assistivetechnology ocuses more on specic equipmentand technology rather than the benets that thedevices oster or K-12 students. With the wikiproject, our pre-service teachers were able towatch a child with cerebral palsy write a paperand an autistic boy communicate to his teacher.Te technology became secondary as the classwitnessed the access that the devices helped topromote or the individuals eatured in the vid-eos. Previously, when the class had visited theA lab, the pre-service teachers’ reections o-ten ocused on how a specic tool unctionedor what it could do. In the wiki, the pre-serviceteachers ofen included background inorma-tion about the individuals in the videos such as“Jim is a young man with spinal muscular atro-phy …” or “John is blind …”. Because the vid-eos usually contained biographical inormationabout the eatured individuals, the pre-serviceteachers saw the technology not just as pieceso equipment but as powerul tools that can a-ect lives. For example, one o our pre-serviceteachers discussed her impressions afer watch-ing a video one o her classmates had posted onthe wiki.Tis sofware was awesome. It seemedlike a very eective device that is easy touse. It was awesome to see how the sof-ware not only made Mike able to play vid-eo games, but also to write a novel, talk to peers, and many other things. I wouldhave never thought with just the toucho your thumb so much could be accom-plished.Undoubtedly, when they visited the A lab,our pre-service teachers became procient inusing assistive technologies. Tey gained hands-on experience with devices that watching vid-eos via a wiki could never replace. Still, the wikiproject has its own advantages. Te wiki helpedour pre-service teachers see the proound im-plications that assistive technology can have onthe lives o individuals with disabilities.
Visualizing Future Teaching
Studying the pre-service teachers’ commentson the wiki, there were many posts that includ-ed inormation about our pre-service teachers’roles as uture teachers. Te pre-service teach-
TechTrends January/February 2009
Volume 53, Number 1
ers began to visualize themselves as practicingteachers and reected on how the technology could support student learning in their class-room. Here, one o our pre-service teachers dis-cusses a book-reading device and the access itprovided or a young boy named Josh, who isautistic.What a great tool! I I had a student whowas primarily nonverbal and I had exhaust-ed all o my ideas to help him, I would neverhave thought or known there was a tool outthere like this!Afer watching a video that showed a youngman named John using an alternative keyboard,another student posted the ollowing comment tothe wiki:Being able to use this device in a class-room opens up so many opportunities orstudents who are like John, but also maybesomeone that needs help with communi-cation. It can give students the ability toeel equal in the classroom. Tis would bea great piece o equipment to know moreabout. I know just watching this videomakes me want to get out and help morepeople and by knowing about productslike this helps me accomplish my goal.When visiting the A lab, the pre-serviceteachers never included this type o visualizationin their reections. While neither the visit to theA lab or the posts to the A wiki specically required our pre-service teachers to think abouttheir uture roles as teachers, seeing individu-als using the equipment in the videos helped toprompt this type o reection.In a way, the wiki project served as a virtualeld experience that allowed the pre-serviceteachers to observe specic technologies in useby individuals with special needs. With the visitto the empty A lab, the pre-service teachers hadto imagine how an individual would use a tooland what possible benets the device would pro- vide. In contrast, the wiki project gave the pre-service teachers an “eyes-on” experience wherethey could witness these benets or themselves.Without being a central ocus o the project, theA wiki helped pre-service teachers visualizetheir roles as uture teachers and how they couldbetter support individuals with special needs intheir classrooms.Now that the A lab has reopened in its newspace, we are reconsidering how best to preparenew teachers to enter schools and work withspecial needs students. Te wiki project helpedour pre-service teachers visualize their roles asuture teachers and ocused the assistive tech-nology discussion on the individuals who ben-et rom its use. On its own, the A wiki doesnot adequately prepare uture teachers to man-age assistive technology or to understand howthey operate. o meet these goals, pre-serviceteachers need to visit the A lab and experiencersthand how dierent devices unction. Aferthe wiki project, however, we realize the bestapproach is to couple the assignments togetherand have our students visit the A lab and col-laborate in the A wiki. Trough these coordi-nated experiences, our pre-service teachers willnot only learn how to operate dierent assistivetechnology devices but also see that the toolscan provide access or individuals in real class-room setting. While the wiki project was borneo out necessity, it helped us reconsider how weprepare new teachers to work with special needsstudents.
Oliver Dreon
is an assistant proessor at MillersvilleUniversity o Pennsylvania where he teaches instructional technology and science methods courses. Prior to coming to Millersville, Dr. Dreon taught science or feen years in the public schools and was a 2001 Christa McAulie Fellow (PA).He obtained his BS in Physics and his MA in eaching romthe University o Pittsburgh. Dr. Dreon recently completed aPhD in Curriculum and Instruction through Penn State Uni-versity. His research interests include teacher development and proessional teacher identity.
 Nanette I. Marcum-Dietrich
is an assistant proessor in the Educational Foundations Department at MillersvilleUniversity o Pennsylvania where she teaches Science Meth-ods and Instructional echnology. Prior to completing her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction at the University o Del-aware, Dr. Dietrich taught high school chemistry and biol-ogy or nine years. Her research interests in science educationinclude: writing to learn, scientifc literacy, and technologyintegration.Dr. Marcum-Dietrich and Dr. Dreon recently published the book
Authentic instruction with technology: A student-centered approach.
Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cog-nition and the culture o learning.
Educational Research-er, 18
(1), 32-42.Dewey, J. (1933).
How we think
. New York: DC Heath.Goodwin-Jones, B. (2003). Blogs and wikis: Environmentsor on-line collaboration.
Language Learning & echnol-ogy, 7 
(2), 12-16.Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991).
Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation
. New York, NY: Cambridge Uni- versity Press.Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (2003). Knowledge build-ing. In
Encyclopedia o Education
(2nd ed., pp. 1370-1373). New York: Macmillan Reerence.Vygotsky, L. S. (1978).
 Mind in society: Te development o higher psychological processes
Cambridge, MA: HarvardUniversity Press.Wertsch, J. V. (1998).
 Mind as action
. New York: OxordPress.

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->