Sunday, January 25, 2009

Flash in Education

We need flash and pizazz in education to capture the attention of our students, and to be honest, I wouldn't mind a little flash to maintain my own interest as well. When teaching and learning is exciting, how can you not be engaged? Everyone needs a little bling in their lives. Let's bring some bling to education.

However, in order to learn attract attention in a 21st century classroom [that uses technology], you need to know how flash works. I want to know how flash works. Adobe Flash, that is. Actually, Adobe Flash Professional is what I'll be working with in my Ed. Tech. program this semester and I'm really excited. If you clicked on the link above, saw the visuals and listened to the sound effects, I hope you were excited too. Could you imagine your class welcoming your students like that everyday? Now that would be one engaging morning message! The video clip on the Adobe site really drew me in. Skill wise, however, I don't expect that I will be able to create this for my students right away, or at all, but it is a tiny goal that I have for myself. I secretly want the 'bling.'

For this TEAM assignment, I had to review a few different sites that use Flash and to take notes on techniques and features that I found interesting and useful. So here goes:
  • I liked flash programs where students could drag, drop and manipulate virtual manipulatives.
  • I also enjoyed the sites created to give interactive tours. As a teacher, it is a unique way to actually engage students in history or a mystery.
  • I also found the short tutorials and interactive models where students could role play in a virtual space were a nice alternative for reteaching and review.
What I didn't like about some of the flash sites:
  • Some sites were very boring. I guess this means that Flash doesn't always need to be flashy.
What's next?
  • I'm eager to see if working with Flash will be easy or challenging, and if Flash will transform the way I communicate with my students through my website.
  • I also wonder if my students could easily create Flash.
  • Can you embed Flash into a Smart Notebook file?
  • Will I acquire Flash bling? be continued.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

On the Road With Autism

Earlier in the school year, during my week long training for my Local Assistive Technology Certificate, my instructor David Grapka, asked our group if we knew of any community based recreational activities for students with special needs. The participants, educators and service providers from various locations within New York, had some difficulty coming up with a substantial number of resources for the families. In turn, I've noticed that families can have a difficult time with this too.

On Bonnie's Blog, Bonnie shared a link to a non-profit sports and awareness program called: On the Road with Autism, that is dedicated to helping families find active solutions for their autistic children and the entire family. It is important to remember that there are always ways to get kids outside and involved, no matter what their challenge. Here is what a little love and a little duct tape can do:

Near me, the Adaptive Sports Foundation is a great place. What places in your neck of the woods would be an ideal place for all children to visit?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Introducing iPods into Special Education

Thanks to @lbouchard for sharing this video. In this presentation you'll see some unique examples on how to use an iPod as a ubiquitous assistive technology tool in the classroom.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

7 Things About Me - That You May Not Know

@LParisi tagged me for this meme: You have to share 7 things about yourself that would be unknown to your readers. So, here goes:
  1. I attended World Youth Day in 1993 where I saw Pope John Paul II and the double rainbow he brought with him to Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. I still have the wooden cross he blessed for the masses during his trip.
  2. When I was in high school, I was co-president of Students Against Drunk Driving. Always designate a driver or don't drink. There is no excuse.
  3. In middle school, I was the only girl on the cross country team. I was often dead last, but I stuck with it. Even if something is difficult, you shouldn't give up. There is satisfaction in sticking with something until the end.
  4. One of my first and favorite jobs was as a birthday party hostess at a plaster craft store where children came to paint ceramic molds. I loved painting and I loved the smiles. I often came home covered in paint, but I liked it.
  5. My parents divorced when I was in high school. While it was a good decision for them, it still hurts when I have to do events separately. I wish they had a "banana splits" group for adults.
  6. Once upon a time, I had a good friend who joined me on many adventures by bike, car and even once by rail. We used to get lost on purpose, just to find our way home again. I miss those days.
  7. It takes me a long time to make decisions about anything because I really need to contemplate the pros, cons and repercussions before I'll commit.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Include Me

I'm gathering data for a graduate school project titled, Include me, that I am working on with my college peers and district colleagues: Amy Thomas and Valerie DiGirolamo. If you're a special education teacher, we would love if you would take the time to complete our survey.