Monday, August 13, 2012

Journal #9 Student Profile: Jeff Kessler (III,III)

Fingal, D. (n.d.). Student profile: Jeff kessler. Retrieved from


Seventeen year old , Jeff Kessler, a student at the Science Leadership Academy (SLA) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, gained an internship with Amtrack. Jeff has a love for inquizatory learning, trains, and high tech tools which gave him a chance to create websites to assist the general public in traveling by various means of transportation.  He worked with Amtrak’s engineering department to help design track layouts, test the electronic control system, and dispatch trains during the holiday season. At a school conference, he was in charge of trouble shooting issues like printing boarding passes. The next year, he made travel time tables and maps of the local airport. Then, he put his transit information on Twitter so that people could come to the conference. After his internship, he plans to go to University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology and hope to one day be the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

Where did Jeff come up with the creation ideas of his first cite?

His first site was called Edu Concierge. He got the idea from an educational conference that his school holds each year which concentrates on high tech learning. Students are relied upon to assist the conference which in turn expands the students’ inquiry, collaboration and innovation in their education

Is Jeff a stranger to chaos?

No. Amtrak has a very busy system during the holidays. It reminds him of when a computer crashes. He says that his website came to be out of chaos.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Journal #6 - Are Computer Labs Obsolete? NETS-T (II,I)

Parker, J. (n.d.). Point/counterpoint: Are computer labs obsolete?. Retrieved from

Computer labs used to be big rooms filled with big, almost outdated computers. A computer project used to consist of learning to use a keyboard to look up information on the Internet. More than likely it was a childcare tool for kids to have fun playing games with barely any supervision. Computer labs are becoming things of the past. No longer is there a separation between technology and classroom learning. Modern technology allows computers to be lightweight and portable. Technology is now available in the classroom. Students are now able to learn and design with computer tools which foster their learning and creativity. The focus is no longer the computer. It is now a tool.  The students and teachers can work collaboratively on the curriculum through technology.

However, computer labs are not dead. They can be used to teach new skills to students in order to increase their confidence in using software for education. Teachers can focus on curriculum lessons instead of computer program basics. Those without computer access have the opportunity to learn computer skills at school. Regular visits to the computer lab displays the importance of technology and its advances. Computer labs have yet to be disposed. They are needed to encourage knowledge and skills of students being led into a technological future.

 What did computer labs used to be like?

They were large rooms with bulky computers. Students worked independently learning keyboard skills, typing an assignment, creating a presentation, or researching a topic.

What can teachers do to improve students' knowledge of technology?

Students should take time in the computer lab to learn and refresh software skills with a tech teacher.  In the classroom, use laptops to promote student creativity through computer resources and different presentation software.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Journal #8 Adaptive Technlolgy (AAC) NETS-T (IV,II)


Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is non-verbal communication used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. It includes physical gestures and facial expressions, but also written words pictures and symbols. AAC is used with learners of special needs.

Pocket-sized Communication BookOne low tech tool that can be used in classroom communication are Picture Communication Symbols. PCS are small flash cards attached to a key ring or made into a picture book. Pictures on these cards along with printed directions, such as, sit down, do not run, or the student's wants, like a cup or an apple . The teacher or aide verbally gives direction along with the visual PCS that gives visual cues and pictures modeling the desired behavior to the student. For the child, it offers a tangeable method of communication to the adult. 


Software An example of high tech communication tool is the WIViK on-screen keyboard. Any alternative mouse or pointing device can be used with the virtual keyboard software. With the selection of a letter, word prediction is enabled to select appropriate words faster. Orally limited students have access to speech output and feedback with this program. It is also adaptable for the Internet, and acts as a text reader for existing or scanned content.


Traditional computer keyboards cannot be used by most physically disabled people. Alternative means in hardware are needed to accommodate missing fingers or hands to input information into the computer software. For a student with special needs, an input device that is activated by motion, nerve or muscle signals, or sometimes brain activity.

Input devices come in a variety of ways for different limitations. Large or split keyboards can be adjusted to give comfort to the disabled user, such as the DataHand Ergonomic Keyboard (right). A traditional mouse can be exchanged for a joystick or alternative rolling device for those without fine motor skills. Sensitive touch screens are now offered with a stylus for one handed or oral control. Some software is speech sensitive and allows basic processes.

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