Friday, December 18, 2009


I enjoyed the fairly straightforward texts we were assigned this semester. It was nice to read once and understand, rather than laboring each week to find even partial meaning to the texts.

I felt like the chapter on "professional development" in Jurkowski was very useful. I suppose it's a reflection of how much I am in the mindset of a classroom teacher rather than a librarian that I expected this chapter to discuss opportunities for my own professional development, rather than what I as a teacher-librarian can and should offer to my staff. I am used to being a passive participant in professional development, but thinking back over my years in education, the best school-sponsored sessions have been the one which my media specialist coordinated. I have learned as much from my current media specialist this school year as from my Clarion classes!

Also in Jurkowski, I enjoyed the chapter on "school library websites". I do not have vast programming knowledge, but I am slowly learning everything I can so that I can, one day when I leave the classroom in favor of a media center, create and maintain an effective and attractive website for my school. Last year, I dabbled with Dreamweaver and made some changes to the school media center website, but unfortunately I wasn't given network privileges and my changes were never posted. It was a great learning experience, however, one which I will refer to when I am once again in the stages of website creation.

After our Wimba presentations, I feel that I have added yet another technology to my tool box, in addition to those that I have acquired in the course of this class.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Assisstive Technology, Module 5

1. What one thing did you learn, and what will you do differently as a result?

My training has always focused on cognitive disabilities: this course helped open my eyes to the variety of other disabilities, and the countless possibilities for assistance that exist. I will strive to change my teaching style to be more inclusive: even though I do not currently have any students with physical disabilities, I need to reconsider things like classroom arrangement now.

Because of this class, I have begun looking for ways to incorporate literature about disabilities into my classroom. In January, my 7th graders will spend a month learning about Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, reading "Miracle Worker", and practicing sign language.

I also want to incorporate the book list for my 8th graders, and have them read and respond to a text which presents a main character with a disability. I have to look more closely at my lesson plans to find a way this fits in, but I liked the "READ IT" lesson posted in this module.

All in all, this has been an eye opening, positive experience for me.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Assistive Tech, Module Four

The links on netiquette this week were basically things that seemed like common sense to me, although I was surprised at the frequency of the recommendation to utilize smileys and emoticons. I guess it's because I view email on par with letter communication, and for me, internet correspondences are more formal and it would not be appropriate to use emoticons or abbreviations. I think I will share the information with my students, and when I am in a media center, netiquette will be the first thing I teach my student users.

As far as etiquette and awareness goes towards interacting with persons with disabilities, I feel fairly confident. I did well on the quiz, since the biggest thing to remember is the "person first" philosophy, which I try to apply in my interactions with all people. It was a bit of a wake up call to see the comment against distracting aide dogs without their owners' permission: that's not something I've thought about before, and I am one of those people who will coo over a cute dog when I encounter it on the street. I need to be more aware of this in general, I suppose, and check with the owners first (whether the owner has a disability or not!)

I wanted to mention a few of the websites I have found that deal with assistive tech:


This link has a really great visual (heart-shaped) for understanding assistive technology and the circular nature of advocacy and assistive tech.


This site provides a guide to families to help them understand and implement assistive technology for a loved one. While the site is mostly text based(making it hard to read for long stretches), there is a lot of information provided.