in the Classroom
on the disabled from Melinda Marino and Ellen Cutler)
and why to use technology in the classroom
It has been said
that we teach the way that WE learn. As we enter or continue
careers in education it is important to remember that many, if not most,
of our students will have learning styles that are different than our
own. Additionally, we need to take into account alternate strategies
for students with disabilities. Many researchers, such as Gardner, have
demonstrated that there are multiple intelligences and multiple learning
styles. This means that in our classrooms we need to employ a variety
of strategies to reach the broadest cross-section of students. Research
suggests that many younger learners are apart of the “MTV Generation”,
which is reported to be most influenced with short rapid sound bites with
intense visual stimulation.
How can a community
college faculty member reach this broadening audience? One method is
though the effective use of technology to complement the content being
be chosen to serve a particular purpose, and not because it is “cool”
or you heard that it worked in someone else’s class. This section will
look at various technology tools that have application for the classroom.
Each will have a brief description, potential situations in which it might
be applicable, disadvantages and links to additional information and vendors.
note that most of the photographs/pictures have hyperlinks that are
accessed by clicking on the picture.
Sounds have been used in
classrooms for years. Today we have many more ways to obtain and
preserve tracks. Records found their way into the classroom shortly
after they were invented, as have cassette tapes and now Compact Disks.
Sounds can make a rich enhancement to a lesson. Imagine teaching about
native wildlife and including actual sounds recorded in
the environment. Imagine the value to a history or speech faculty
of having a recording of a famous speech such as Martin Luther King’s
"I Have Dream", (http://www.webcorp.com/civilrights/mlk.htm
) or Richard Nixon assuring us that he is "not a crook."
Often, excellent teaching resources come from public domain sources
such as National Public Radio (http://news.npr.org/).
Sound is a very simple and
familiar technology for all of us. It is easily available in a variety
of sources from records, tapes, CDs, radio, television, film and off
of the Internet. Faculty can capture and preserve sounds using tape
recorders, audio digitizers, and even personal computers. Using sources
like Price Grabber
and Amazon, it
is relatively easy to find equipment and recordings.
For example, this is a Portable Mini Disk Recorder / Player (left)
that could be used to capture and playback sounds, while being small
Here is a smaller recorder
(right) but this one has the software for voice recognition into
text. It gives an idea of where technology is converging, an automated
Classrooms should be configured
with, or have accessibility to, sound amplification devices. The faculty
member needs to be able to connect a playing device into an amplifier
with speakers, if audio is used in a classroom environment. We often
do this for classrooms where we teach aerobic exercise and dance, but
often overlook the possibilities in other class settings. Speakers
are often integrated into other technologies such as a video data projector
or a VHS player.
about serving the disabled: Please be aware
that all teaching resources with audio components (e.g., videos)
need to be presented in text (e.g., captioning) for students who
are deaf or hard of hearing. Every California Community College
has received funding for captioning equipment as well as funding
to outsource captioning. Contact your Disabled Students Programs
and Services office to learn how caption is handled on your campus.
Today it is also possible
for a faculty member or college to create their very own radio station
via streamed audio on the Internet. There are several possible sources
of information on how to do that, but you might have a look at the following
site as a start - http://www.builder.com/Authoring/Audio/ss06.html
. They suggest that you can get on the air with high quality equipment
for under $1000. Other sources of audio information and streaming might
Here is a sample of a video
steam we might want to replace it with something more “politicially
Humans depend mostly on
their sense of vision to make determinations about their environments,
and the faculty should fully utilize this sense in creating lessons.
The instructor has many
choices today for the creation of instructional materials and
these tools range from reasonably simple to use to those that are
specifically designed for the artist. Most simple efficiency suites
such as Microsoft
Office and Corel
WordPerfect Office provide a collection of useful tools, readily
available to even the most novice user. Community College employees
should be aware that there are organizations that have negotiated
deeply discounted deals with vendors, and one should look at
their current agreements.
about serving the disabled: Students
who are blind and some students who are partially sighted
need text equivalents of visually presented materials.
The California Community College Distance Education:
Access Guidelines for Students with Disabilities (http://www.htctu.fhda.edu/dlguidelines/final%20dl%20guidelines.htm)
and the Guidelines for Producing Instructional and Other
Printed Materials in Alternate Media for Persons with
provide general principles on making instructional materials
accessible to students who are visually impaired. Contact
the Disabled Student Programs and Services office (or
Office of Services for Students with Disabilities)
on your campus about what materials you need converted
to an alternate format.
As one's needs and sophistication level begin to increase, additional
companies provide software packages to assist in the development of
very sophisticated material. These include:
Once media has been produced,
the instructor has several options, depending on the equipment available,
in how they might present material to a class.
It is harder now to find some of the older technology, but for sake
of completeness they are mentioned here. Historically, schools have
provided film strip projectors processing 35 mm film onto a large screen.
Slide projectors such as
this Kodakä Carousel Projector still have much application
for the classroom. Many faculty have collected a lifetime of photographic
transparencies or slides. It should be noted that one of the disadvantages
to this media is that there is a decrease in the photographic quality
of the images with each showing, and so over time the materials most
often shown as originals will loose there image quality. A more “modern”
solution is to use a slide digitizer, such as the ones that are available
from Polaroid or Kodak, to convert images into a digital format allowing
archiving and sharing of images indefinitely without decreasing quality.
This is a Polaroid SprintScan 120
which is able to have 2X2 slides transparencies and scan them into
a digital format.
Many of those who work with
the adoption of technology like to tell the story about how it took
15 years to move the overhead projector from the bowling alley to the
classroom. Here was a technology that projected players scores onto
a screen for all to see, and yet it took years to move into the educational
area. When first introduced, these were purchased in limited numbers
by campuses and were checked out from some centralized audio/visual
support area. Today many campuses have these available in every classroom.
It is that type of adoption process that faculty should come to expect.
Many publishers provide colored overhead transparencies with the adoption
of their textbooks. Today, copy machines and laser/inkjet printers
can produce both colored and black/white transparencies. Another advantage
is that the faculty can use blank transparencies as a substitute for
the black/white board, allowing them to face their class for a friendlier
Today, the new standard is a digitized presentation created from a software
package such as Microsoft’s PowerPoint, delivered via a computer device
and digitally projected onto a screen.
Usefulness of Computer-Based Presentations in a Teacher Directed Classroom
is a sample of a PowerPoint presentation which should play by clicking
on the first slide shown and advancing or reversing the direction using
the arrow keys on your keyboard. Hit ESCAPE to
return to this presentation.
PowerPoint Slide Show >
about serving the disabled: At this moment,
PowerPoint presentations saved as web pages are not accessible
to people who are blind. Strategies include providing
students with the information in accessible etext or
Braille (for those students who read Braille) and/or
providing students with the PowerPoint file itself to
run within PowerPoint. Contact the Disabled Student Programs
and Services office (Office of Services for Students with Disabilities)
on your campus if you need a PowerPoint
presentation converted to etext or Braille.