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Thursday, March 31, 2011

_Anthony Carabache's Blog

Anthony Carabache is my colleague and he is very innovative and forward in his thinking. His blog has some great ideas for all of us to consider and discuss.


Thank you Anthony

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Future Of Learning Has Arrived

Hello All,

I will be presenting at The Future of Learning has Arrived conference in London, Ontario, Canada on April 6th and 7th. This conference will highlight Premier Literacy Software and how it may be integrated into your 21st century classroom. Below is a link to the conference.

http://www.readingmadeeasy.ca/Conference.html

Dragon Naturally Speaking 10.1

Dragon Naturally Speaking 10.1
I would like to introduce you to an innovative way of using Dragon Naturally Speaking 10.1. Dragon Naturally Speaking is a speech to text program that is a great tool to use in the 21st century classroom. The latest version of this program has Bluetooth capability that will allow the user freedom to move around a classroom without the limitation of a wire.
How do we use this tool in the 21st century classroom? All you need is a computer, a Bluetooth microphone and a data projector. Next, you take the microphone away from the student and give it to the teacher. Educators have struggled with locating electronic materials in order to support the diverse learning needs of their students. However, what do we do with discussions and instructions that occur in a classroom?
The average professional typist can type between 50-70 words per minute. The average person can hand write between 22 and 31 words per minute. What is important to remember is that the average person speaks at an average speed of 150-160 words per minute. It is evident how much is lost when trying to listen and take notes the same time. Some solutions that we have used in the past was have the highest functioning student in the class take notes for your lower functioning students, but the higher functioning students level of comprehension and interpretation may not be the same as the lower functioning student. Another technique is when the teacher hands out the notes prior to the class, but the rich discussions that occur in class are lost or if the class moves into another direction away from the notes. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Words_per_minute)
When the teacher is wearing the Bluetooth, everything he or she expresses is projected onto a screen. This allows the students to actually focus on the instruction and or participate in the discussion. If a student asks a question or makes a statement, the teacher can paraphrase the question or statement so that is will appear in the electronic notes. The advantage of this is that the students now have a record of what their peers have discussed. Once the lesson is done, the teacher can assign a student to reread the notes and correct any errors and then the notes can be posted onto a common drive, blog or wiki so the students can access them.
Once they have accessed the notes, the students can now use the electronic text with the variety of Assistive Technology Software that will support their individual needs. The students are able to use text readers, translators, electronic dictionaries, MP3 converters, highlight, and extract software.
Mario Addesa Dec. 2009

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mobile Learning

I would like to share something I did with our Co-Op teachers last week. Co-op students are students that go to school and part of their school week is spent in a job setting. Some of our co-op students have learning difficulties and are asked to use machines and remember large sequences of activities and tasks. Two such tasks are using a sterilizer in a dental office and using an industrial dishwasher in a hotel. I asked for the model numbers of the two machines and I went to the internet and downloaded the PDF user manuals for both. I then opened the manuals in the PDF equalizer (This is a program within Premier's Literacy Productivity Pack) and showed them how the students can use the PDF equalizer to read the manual. I also showed them how to convert the text into a MP3 format so that the students are able to convert the instructions into audio files and use these files to support them at work.
The students are able to create separate an audio file for:
- how to load the sterilizer,
- how to turn it on,
- how to unload it,
- how to clean it.
This will provide them with a quick reference instead of them having to flip through a manual. We put a lot of emphasis on safety in the workplace because we have had a few young people killed during work placements because of a lack of knowledge on the safe use of certain tools. Having the information they need readily available on their MP3 players may reduce injury and more importantly allow the students to perform their jobs with confidence and dignity.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Kid's Interests Today are the Jobs of Tomorrow"

I know that many teachers do not like many of thing that kids are in to such as Twitter, MSN, YouTube and others. But what we need to remember is that "Kid's interests today are the jobs of tomorrow". We need to encourage their interest so that we keep kids motivated so that they remain in school.

Mario Addesa 2010