I’m looking forward to my presentation tomorrow at the Administrator’s Retreat where the two day focus is on ‘Inclusive Education.’ My presentation will be looking at how to leverage technology in providing ALL students with an inclusive education.
I truly believe that today, we as teachers have so much to offer to our students. When it comes to providing a differentiated instruction, we now have the tools to really accommodate the students in our classrooms. The world of Web 2.0 Tools is what makes this possible. The variety of tools that are currently available is nothing short of incredible. The real problem comes down to how do we find the time to discover and then effectively implement them into our classrooms?
Because of the tremendous variety that exists, we can offer our students the flexibility to demonstrate and create their newly acquired knowledge. In the whole scheme of Web 2.0 Tools, the very heart of these tools is the ‘social’ environment that is built into them. We now have ability to collaborate and share with each other on a 24/7/365!!
Along with the web tools, students now have support in how they can work with the technology. It might be a simple case of utilizing the “Ease of Access Center” which can provide a multiple means of assistive tools to allow ALL students to utilize the technology to meet their classroom needs.
Within the Palliser Regional School system, we have a number of assistive tools that we can currently offer our students. Besides the vast assortment of Web 2.0 Tools, the students have access to:
- Read & Write Gold (version 9)
- Dragon Naturally Speaking
- SMART Recorder
- Ease of Access controls
- Tablets – currently being piloted in select schools
- SMART Interactive Boards
- We have an arsenal of the greatest Teacher Assistants who are providing our students with great support and guidance!
The TPACK Model is a something that I believe really can help facilitate the inclusion process. I had the opportunity to sit in on a workshop put on by Judy Harris. The TPACK Model is a very practical one. Basically, the teachers will do as they always have done – look at the outcomes, plan out the pedagogy and the last thing that they would do is to then consider what technology tool could support the meeting or achievement of the outcomes. And this is only if there is a technology that can be used. As Judy mentioned – it’s all about how we use the tools – it’s not about the tools themselves! How can we effectively utilize the tools in the classroom?
What Judy also provided were handouts that once the outcomes and pedagogy was created, one could use her handouts to determine what tool might best meet the needs for the class. From her site – http://activitytypes.wmwikis.net/ , you will find PDF’s for the various core classes. See the following links for some examples:
Feel free to check out my Prezi presentation for the workshop – http://prezi.com/y3wotplcok6m/inclusive-education-palliser-retreat-october-26-27-2011/