As the semester comes to a close and teachers each repeat at the start of their final classes that we are now in the “home stretch!” (scary!!!) I would like to take some time to reflect on edu470 as a whole. Coming into this semester, I had not really thought about technology in the classroom at all. Of course I have been used to the general kinds of technology that are, and have been, included in classrooms since first grade. At first, a simple boombox was all we had in class, which some of my more laid-back teachers would use while we did individual work at our desks. In these rooms, we would also have the TV on wheels which would be rolled in when the teachers wanted to lay videos like Bill Nye or School House Rock (Bill being the favorite, obviously). Next, TV’s started hanging from ceilings and seemed to work somewhat sporadically, but not usually when the teachers needed them to. Moving into fifth, sixth, seventh, and eight grade, big flashy devices called Smart Boards started being installed. It seemed to take the teachers’ much much longer to get the hang of these than it did the students. Nonetheless, we persevered, put up with a minimum of seven recalibrations throughout the 50 minute lessons, and finally were able to mimic the same actions on the Smart Board that we would have been able to do on the basic whiteboard or chalkboard. Given all this, the development of technology in the classroom seemed to be more of a hassle to me than a convenience.
However, being in college now and working on platforms such as the one we are blogging on now (WordPress), as well as google docs, and the apps we have discovered that target specific reading, writing, and math skills, I have an entirely new perspective on technology. I have seen numerous ways in which technology can work (and actually work) to aide students with disabilities.
Overall, I have a redeveloped understanding of assistive technology in the classroom. I am grateful for being able to enroll in this class, given the amount of discovery it allowed in terms of new and helpful technology.