Author: Danielle Pesin

Virtual Garage Sale

With the end of the semester coming up and the need to move back home I’ve noticed a huge increase in online “garage sales”. At the beginning of the year my friend referred me to a Facebook group called, “Livingston County Virtual Yard Sale”. It is a great group in which people from around the county can search for and sell their household items. It basically makes going to a garage sale much easier since people can find the item they need without actually driving around and looking for a garage sale that may or may not have the item they need. People even use it to search for pets or services such as tutors or babysitters. The site has it’s own set of rules to make sure all transactions are done fairly.

In the past month I have also joined another group similar to this which is specific to SUNY Geneseo students. Already I have noticed it become a great source for students who are graduating to sell their unwanted furniture and items that they have accumulated over the years. In addition, students who are moving off campus are able to look for affordable items that they may need in their new apartment. I have been able to find a pretty nice and cheap bed frame, box spring, and mattress within days of joining the site. My friends and I often use this tool to furnish our apartments without damaging our bank accounts too much. Since there has been a rise in online “garage sales” I have seen a student from Geneseo start a new website that specifically helps Geneseo students in selling and buying their furniture. With all of these resources moving into a new apartment has been a relatively stress free experience!

For anyone who wants to use these resources to buy or sell items:

The Livingston County group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/105996426166875/

The Geneseo group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/454916544527867/

The Geneseo website: http://www.skooloko.com/

 

Happy shopping!

Text to Speech Technology

Last semester when I was student teaching at my special education placement I was really amazed at the use of technology to bridge the language gap with students with special needs. For two periods of the day my cooperating teacher and I worked with three students with varying disabilities on math and literacy. One student in particular was nonverbal as a sixth grader so communicating with him was obviously very difficult. In his IEP (individualized education program) he was given technological services to help him communicate with teachers, peers, and all adults. He was given a personal iPod in which he used text to speech software. This was a huge help for all related parties since he would often get very frustrated when he wasn’t having his needs met. For example, he had been suffering from an ear infection for weeks and it wasn’t until he was able to use his iPod to communicate that he finally got help for the infection. Much of the classroom instruction was adapted to accommodate his specific needs and to incorporate the use of his iPod. He was given word cues so that he knew when he was expected to use his iPod. For example when he was expected to read something out loud he would be asked to “insert into his iPod”. If he was expected to read a line from a text he would be prompted with “read’.

What the software looked on his iPod.
What the software looked on his iPod.

 

A big achievement for him while I was there was individually writing sentences in his iPod to express his wishes. Since no one knew how to understand when he wanted a drink or to go to the bathroom, a big achievement was when he was able to write those sentences into his iPod. The assistive technology really helped to reduce his frustration levels while also educating him. To reduce the amount of distractions, his parents would simply put parental controls on the iPod so that he couldn’t go on other applications on the device and could focus on using the text to speech software.

Since this technology worked so well with this particular student the teachers and administration began to incorporate more text to speech software for the other students in the classroom. Another student had difficulties articulating his words and was often difficult to understand. The speech pathologist began to work with this student on using a different type of software that was based on associating pictures with words. He used a machine called a Dynavox. Overall both of these technologies were really beneficial to the students in communication and modifying the lessons to meet their needs.

One of the Dynavox products.
One of the Dynavox products.

Experiences in Student Teaching

Last semester I when I was student teaching I was encouraged often to look at how technology impacts education. Overall I noticed that technology is a huge factor in education but one specific example is the Smart Board.  Almost every school I have observed in has integrated the use of the Smart Board in as many classrooms as possible. Many teachers use it to present notes and presentations for the class. I have seen it become very beneficial especially for math instruction since it can completely replace the chalkboard in working on math problems. There are also many interactive tools that teachers can incorporate to further instruction.

Some math notebook tools. (Among many others).
Some math notebook tools. (Among many others).

There are also two sections called Gallery Essentials and Lesson Toolkits which include many interactive multimedia to insert into the presentation. These graphics often make the lessons fun and engaging for students. They include templates for games and that teachers and students can play to quiz themselves on the information. I saw how these games kept the students interested in learning since the media and interactive aspect of it was fun for them. 

image      smart-notebook-gallery-and-lesson-activity-toolkit

 

The image below is an example of an interactive game for students. The teacher can edit this template so that there is any kind of information presented. In this game the students would have to sort and categorize the given information (angles in this example) into the two categories. They would simply drag the image into either category over the swirl, and if the answer was appropriately sorted it would be sucked into the vortex. If the answer is incorrect it makes a noise and bounces the image back out. This game specifically was really beneficial to the students in my classroom who were learning the different words that mean either to add or subtract. They really enjoyed the game and were able to quiz themselves on what they knew.

One example of a math interactive game.
One example of a math interactive game.