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Karen's discussion posts

  • Karen 23 May 2013 11:18am () in The world needs programmers

    Chrissie I was having a look at Codeacademy yesterday.  It looks amazing!

  • Karen 22 May 2013 12:47pm () in The world needs programmers

    I completely agree that maybe students aren't being exposed to the inner workings enough.  The possibility of that kind of learning at school almost makes me wish I was a student again!

    I don't have any experience myself in this area and am no longer teaching in a classroom, but it has made me realise what a huge learning area this could be for our kids in the hopefully not to distant future.

  • Karen 22 May 2013 11:47am () in The world needs programmers

    Thanks for sharing this Tessa.  It's a very interesting YouTube clip and has really made me think, especially when reading the statements at the end.

  • Karen 04 Mar 2013 7:35pm () in Using iPads to access learning

    At BLENNZ (Blind and Low Vision Education Network, NZ) we have been applying for iPads to use with a range of students on our roll, all who are either blind, deafblind or have low vision.  The arrival of iPads and other tablets has been a huge change for how our students are able to access the curriculum and classroom learning opportunities.  Where once we were limited to large, heavy and expensive equipment to meet their learning needs, we now have light portable devices that are not only much more affordable but also extremely user friendly.

    In many cases when making the decision to purchase an iPad it is intended to use it as a capture device.   The camera advances with each new generation iPad makes them more and more appealing when used in this way. Although a few RTVs (Resource Teacher Vision) purchased second gen iPads, many more have made the decision to purchase since the rear facing iSight camera was upgraded to 5 megapixels.  The retina display also has huge appeal for students who have low vision providing much more clarity when necessary.

    Most low vision students use the camera in a number of ways to access their learning as follow:

    • Using the iSight camera to take photos of work on the whiteboard and enlarging as necessary.
    • Using apps like Scanner Pro for work on the whiteboard or to capture text from a worksheet, book etc. to enlarge.
    • Prizmo is an OCR app that will read out text that has been scanned in, which is used by some students.
    • AudioLabels helps users to recognize objects through an audio description of barcodes or QR codes.
    • We use iBooks, OverDrive and Bookshareto access reading materials where it is too time consuming to photograph every page.
    • Our students have access to an ever-increasing amount of reading materials through Homai Special Formats Library.  Where digital copies are available these can be sent through to individual students via email and then opened in iBooks or similar.
    • Bookshare is an accessible online library for people for print disabilities that we are using more and more. This is particularly useful for blind and low vision users who can access these books through the Read2Go app, which is a DAISY ebook reader.  Users have the ability to control font size up to 70 pts, control text-to-speech audio and change the background and font colours to meet their individual needs.

    Scanner Pro.png                       Prizmo.png

       Figure 1 - Scanner Pro                                                  Figure 2 - Prizmo OCR

    There are also options available for our students who are blind.  Such apps that work for them include:

    • Pairing an iPhone or iPad with a BrailleNote Apex to use the iPhone or iPad as a display.
    • aidColours which identifies colours of clothing and other objects.
    • AccessNote which is the official iOS notetaker from the American Foundation for the Blind that makes use of the VoiceOver capabilities of iOS.

    In Wellington where I am based we all meet together with our students to have iPad sessions on a termly basis. These are a great chance to come together, see how the students are getting on in class and how they are using their iPads.  These often begin with a sharing session so that each member can share what they have been using their iPad for and how any apps that they have found particularly useful.  At the moment these sessions are mostly for students who have low vision so we always have a data projector set up ready to connect up any iPad in the room to share.  It is also a chance to introduce the students to new apps and ensure that they are aware of what is available and able to make the best choice for their learning needs.  What works and is successful for one learner is not necessarily the right for another.  

    Our students use iPads as an everyday part of classroom life so engagement and motivation are imperative. Although these can be issues from time to time, due to the fact that students are using the iPad as capture devices that help them to see what other students can without any help, it becomes a natural extension of themselves. The termly iPad sessions are of huge value and students are always eager to share with their peers about what they are using and how their device is helping them in the classroom.  

    At BLENNZ we also have Immersion course which students can attend to further support and extend their learning. These are mostly held in Auckland and involve the students travelling up to stay, usually for three nights.  Our most recent course “Challenge IT” involved the use of iPads.  We also have an iPad Tech Angels course later in the year where our most confident iPad users from around the country will come together to share their knowledge and work together to establish a system where they can support other BLENNZ iPad learners around the country.

  • Karen 01 Mar 2013 2:28pm () in How best to set up an iPad and account for a Special Ed ORS student

    Kia ora Chrissie!

    I am more than happy to share some of our BLENNZ stories about how our students use iPads to access learning, share their knowledge and learning and stay motivated and engaged.  These issues are usually the basis of our technology choices for our students at BLENNZ.




  • Karen 01 Mar 2013 9:44am () in How best to set up an iPad and account for a Special Ed ORS student

    I have had successful iPad applications for a couple of students and like others have suggested, have set the iPad up with aseparate Apple ID for the student so that when they do eventually move on it is an easier process.