Week 8: A New Appreciation for Assistive Technologies

Assistive technology (AT) can be a lifeline for disabled students, for it is redefining what people with cognitive and physical disabilities can accomplish (Kelker & Holt, 1997).  Assistive technology can be used to aid students in many ways by helping them overcome barriers, but these technologies can be expensive and difficult to obtain.  Many parents are confused by the variety of software available, and they need help finding the right tool so that (AT) becomes an essential but fluid part of their child’s education rather than an additional part (Kelker & Holt, 1997).

I have a new awareness and appreciation for assistive technology.  I have developed extreme Carpal Tunnel Syndrome this month due to pregnancy; this has made typing almost impossible.  I have relied on assistive technology to complete my assignments for this program.  I have ordered Dragon Dictation, which has definitely helped, but I am also finding that I need time to adapt to the technology.  As Ellis indicates in the Assistive technology: Enabling Dreams video, students need to learn AT tools at younger ages so later they can focus on content rather than on technology (Ellis, 2009).  It is important for parents and educators to realize that navigating new software takes patience and time.  The process can be extremely frustrating.

I have also used wrist splints and compression gloves for arthritis to help me function.  These aids are also categorized as assistive technologies, so AT doesn’t consists of only computer software (Coleman, 2011).  It can be assistive listening, visual aids, enhanced mobility aids, computer-based instruction, social interaction and recreation and self care.  “Assistive technology means any device which helps an individual with an impairment to perform tasks of daily living” (Kelker & Holt, p. 6, 1997).

Assistive technology is changing the way teachers instruct students with disabilities because AT is “…not just a civil right guaranteed by law; it is also a means of achieving human rights to grow up happy, independent and self-sufficient as possible” (Kelker & Holt, p. 43, 1997).   AT definitely offers something different for each of us.


Coleman, M.  (2011).  Successful Implementation of Assistive Technology to Promote Access to Curriculum and Instruction for Students with Physical Disabilities.  Physical Disabilities:  Education And Related Services, 30(2), 2-22.  Retrieved from:  http://ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ955444&site=ehost-live

Ellis, K. (2009). Assistive Technology Enabling Dreams. Edutopia Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ5CkpgVQJ4

Kelker, K. & Holt, R. (1997).  Family Guide to Assistive Technology. Retrieved from: http://www.pluk.org/Pubs/PLUK_ATguide_269K.pdf


Week 6-Empathy Gone! Are young people losing their humanism?

Social Web technologies are greatly influencing our lives-especially our children’s lives.  Parents are putting their children’s pictures on Facebook before birth, and children are interacting with each other on a global scale.  A National School Boards Association survey (2007) found that “80 percent of young people who are online are networking and that 70 percent of them are regularly discussing education-related topics”  (Richardson, 2008, p. 16).  Children are creating content without their parents’ or teachers’ awareness, which is scary since no rules for safe and ethical behavior have been established.  “This may be the first large technological shift in history that’s being driven by children”  (Richardson, 2008, p. 16).  Children are becoming “Googleable without us” (Richardson, 2008, p. 16).

When using social Web technologies, children need the guidance of parents and teachers.  Without guidance, students may lose their way and engage in unethical and cruel behavior such as cyberbullying.   It is difficult to know how frequent cyberbullying is.  Most teachers report that even though they are concerned about the problem, they aren’t aware of the severity of it, and they don’t know how to manage the problem.  Heiman (2010) found that German teachers reported a lack of professional training to deal with cyberbullying, and Bauman, Rigby, and Hoppa (2008) found that counselors, not teachers, were better trained to deal with issues of cyberbullying.

Nevertheless, a study of two large, technology-rich secondary schools in Canada conducted by Cassidy, Brown and Jackson (2012) discovered that 36% of over 2,000 students had participated in cyberbullying and 32% had been victims.  What is also shocking is that a South Korean study conducted by Yoon, Bauman, Choi, and Hutchinson (2011) observed that more experienced teachers (those with 26 years or more of experience) were less likely to do something about cyberbullying than less experienced educators (those with 11-16 years of experience).  I was surprised by these results.  Is it possible that more experienced teachers minimize the effects of cyberbullying or could it be that this problem is so misunderstood that educators are not sure how to deal with it?

The first step for teachers and parents in combating cyberbullying and other forms of bullying is to be aware that it is happening.  This means that schools need specific policies to address the issue including encouraging educators and students to engage in ethical and respectful treatment of others.  According to Craig, Henderson, & Murphy, (2000), “…empathy training is the first step towards teachers developing an appropriate skill set to deal with bullying issues (Cassidy, Brown & Jackson, 2012, p. 521).  These values of citizenship could easily be taught in social studies and other courses as long as teachers understand that there needs to be a deeper awareness of how technology impacts society.  Basically “work must be done to democratize technology” to ensure that ethical, responsible and safe communication occurs online (Weaver and Gahegan, 2007, p. 347).  Teachers need to implement activities that develop empathy into their lessons.  For example, they can ask students to create personal narratives using blogs and audio casts.  Such activities allow students to interpret information from different perspectives; helping to promote more respectful online behavior.


Bauman, S., Rigby, K., & Hoppa, K. (2008).  US teachers’ and school counsellors’ strategies for handling school bullying incidents.  Educational Psychology, 28, 837-856.  Doi:

Cassidy, W., Brown, K.N., & Jackson, M.  (2012).  “Under the radar”:  educators and cyberbullying in schools.  School Psychology International, 33(5), 520-532.  Retrieved from:  http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca/ehost/resultsadvanced?sid=7e26c5cb-66e9-43e6-9763-1d0775e3d0bf%40sessionmgr4&vid=9&hid=19&bquery=under+AND+the+AND+radar&bdata=JmRiPWVyaWMmdHIwZT0xJnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGI2ZQ%3d%3d

Craig,  W., Henderson, K., & Murphy, J.  (2000).  Middle school students’ preferences for antibullying interventions.  School Psychology International, 21, 5-21.  Doi:10.1177/0143034306070435.

Heiman, T.  (2010).  Cyberbullying:  Coping with negative and enhancing positive uses of new technologies, in relationship in educational settings.  Paper presented at COST IS 0801 Conference 2011.  Retrieved from http://8540237597776146556-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/costis0801/dr-tali-heiman-stsm-report-2011/.

National School Boards Association.  (2007).  Creating and connecting:  Research and guidelines on social-and-educational-networking.  Alexandria, VA:  Author.  Available:  http://www.nsba.org/site/view.asp?CID=63&DID=41340

Richardson, W.  (2008).  Footprints in the digital age.  Educational Leadership, 66(3),  16-19.  Retrieved from: http://ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ817754&site=ehost-live

Weaver, S. D., & Gahegan, M. (2007).  Constructing, visualizing and analyzing a digital footprint.  Geographical Review, 97(3),  324-350.  Retrieved from:  http://ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohpst.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=27619792&site=ehost-live

Yoon, J., Bauman, S., Choi, T., & Hutchinson, A.  (2011).  How South Korean teachers handle an incident of school bullying.  School Psychology International, 32, 312-329.  Doi:10.1177/0143034311402311.

Week 5-How vigilant should educators be when using social media and electronic communication?

I learned a valuable lesson this week at work.  A co-worker sent angry e-mails to many members of the staff.  My principal spoke with her about her inappropriate behavior, but instead of acknowledging her mistake and apologizing, she became defensive and insubordinate to my principal.  She was asked to leave the office for the day and was later laid off because this wasn’t the first time such behavior had been displayed.

People have a responsibility to behave in an appropriate manner at work-this is professionalism.  The Harte article depicts how sending inappropriate e-mails in anger can undo years of professionalism.  It takes years to build a reputation, yet it can take only moments to destroy it.  Professionalism must include e-professionalism.  According to Evans & Gerwitz (2008), “…e-professionalism involves behavior related to professional standards and ethics when using electronic communication” (Harte, 2011, p. 3).  Sending inappropriate e-mails, such as my co-worker and Miss Christine in the Harte article can greatly influence public perception of the teaching profession.  This affects everyone in the profession, so teachers need to pause and think about their actions before sending inappropriate messages in electronic form.

E-mails can go viral within seconds, and once they have been sent, they can’t be retracted (Carter, Foulger, & Ewbank, 2008).  This is why educators need to make sure the e-mails they send are professional, error free and that they go to the intended recipients (Harte, 2011).

Educators also need to be vigilant when using other forms of electronic communication such as social networking sites.  If Alberta teachers follow the recommendations from Gordon Thomas at the ATA, educators can comfortably participate in an online community of learning without worrying about violating their Professional Code of Ethics or risking damaging personal or company reputations (Thomas, 2009).  It comes down to finding the right balance between the benefits of social networking and the disadvantages (Harte, 2011).  Social networking encourages active learning leading to a more student-centered learning environment (Ferdig, 2007); however, when people engage in social networking, a loss of privacy and professionalism can occur (Teclehaimanot & Hickman, 2011).

I have learned this week that educators need to be extremely vigilant when using social networking and other forms of electronic communication.  After watching the videos and reading the articles for this week, I realize I need to spend some time improving my virtual identify on Facebook and LinkedIn.  Finding the time to do so is the challenge since maintaining a positive virtual reputation can be demanding, but it is important to do so.


Carter, H. L., Foulger, T.S., & Ewbank, A.D. (2008).  Have you Googled your teacher lately?  Teachers use of social networking sites. Phi Delta Kappan, 681-685.

Evans, T., & Gerwitz, A.E.  (2008).  E-Professionalism dos and don’ts.  NALP Bulletin.  Retrieved from http://www.tourolaw.edu/cso/docs/eprofessionalism.pdf

Ferdig, R. E. (2007).  Editorial:  Examining social software in teacher education.  Journal of Technology & Teacher Education, 15(1), 5-10.

Harte, H.  (2011).  E-Professionalism for Early Care and Education Providers.  Dimensions Of Early Childhood, 39(3), 3-10.

Teclehaimanot, B., & Hickman, T.  (2011).  Student-teacher interaction on facebook:  what students find appropriate.  Techtrends:  Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(3),19-30.  Retrieved from: http:// ezpoxy.lib.ucalgary.ca:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=59742738&site=ehost-live


Thomas, Gordon.  (2009, May 5).  Teachers and Facebook, ATA News, 43(17).  Retrieved from http://www.teachers.ab.ca/Publications/ATA%20News/Volume%2043/Number17/Pages/QA.aspx.

Week 4 Blog: Does e-Inclusion lead to marketization of the poor?

What is e-Inclusion?  E-Inclusion refers to a social movement aimed at minimizing the global digital divide as well as at providing a digital dividend for corporations.  This symbiotic relationship fosters “…entrepreneurship among the poor-which, according to Prahalad, is a solution to global poverty” (Schwittay, 2012, p. 45).  C. K. Prahalad, was a professor at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the University of Michigan and was a corporate strategy expert.

The question is who benefits the most from e-Inclusion programs- the poor in emerging markets such as India, Asia, Africa, Latin America and Central Europe or high-tech multinational corporations?  One could argue that this relationship benefits both parties, but I feel that multinational corporations usually prevail.  Corporations, such as HP (Hewlett-Packard) use e-inclusion to showcase global citizenship initiatives.  “Digital corporate citizenship” is an example of global corporate citizenship and refers to the social movement that the high-tech industry is involved in where rural poor are given access to ICTs in the hope of closing the global digital divide (Smith, 2002).  This allows corporations to “…present themselves to governments of developing companies as responsible and trustworthy partners” (Kirkpatrick, 2001, p. 25).

Matten and Crane (2005) argue that this type of citizenship is motivated by corporations because they need to ensure operating platforms for themselves in emerging markets.  The majority of these countries do not provide citizenship rights to the poor, so in most cases, corporations offer necessary social rights such as employment and welfare services but only if they feel that the profits they make are worth the expenditures.  What happens when these corporations feel that providing public services are not in the company’s best interest?

This week’s readings have had a strong moral impact on me-as an educator and as a global citizen.  I feel that the poor in emerging markets are vulnerable to both their governments and to multinational corporations.  The entrepreneurial opportunities that e-Inclusion offers can benefit the poor in many countries, but Karnani, a scholar and Prahalad’s colleague, has been critical of statements that poverty can be eradicated through profits (Jenkins, 2005; Landrum, 2007).  I agree with Karnani.  I don’t believe that eradicating poverty is as simple as offering employment opportunities to disadvantaged individuals.  There are many other issues in these countries that need to be addressed such as women’s rights, dependable employment, political stability, etc.  Also, even though many multinational corporations are ethically responsible and believe strongly in global corporate citizenship, many other corporations use this platform to primarily gain profits in emerging markets.  Therefore, I believe that e-Inclusion does lead to marketization of the world’s poor.

I may be more sensitive to these issues because I teach New Canadians, and many of my students have worked for multinational corporations in Mexico, India and China, etc.  I have heard both positive and negative stories of how they were treated while working for such corporations.  Because of my experiences, I am more aware of my consumption patterns.  I will not purchase products from corporations if they are rumored to engage in unethical and immoral business practices.  The knowledge I have obtained this week will not greatly affect my teaching practices, but it will affect my consumption behaviors.


Jenkins, R.  (2005).  Globalization, corporate social responsibility and poverty.  International Affairs, 81(3), 525-540.

Kirkpatrick, D.  (2001, May 2).  Great leap forward:  Looking for profits in poverty.  Fortune, 25.

Landrum, N.  (2007).  Advancing the “Base of the pyramid” debate.  Strategic Management Review, 1(1), 1-12.

Matten, D., & Crane, A.  (2005).  Corporate citizenship:  Towards an extended theoretical view.  California Management Review, 40(2), 8-17.

Schwittay, A.  (2012).  Incorporated citizens:  multinational high-tech companies and the bop.  Information technologies & international development, 8(1), 43-56.

Smith, C. W.  (2002).  Digital corporate citizenship:  The business response to the digital divide.  Indianapolis, IN:  The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Week 3 Blog: Time Constraints! Are educators given the time needed to develop and adapt lessons for face-to-face and online teaching?

From this week’s readings, websites and voice threads, I have realized how much time is involved in modifying lesson plans for online learning platforms.  Lessons that were originally designed for traditional face-to-face classrooms need to be modified to put online.  For example, in the voice-threaded discussion this week, Chris Mertens, a teacher at Sundre High School in Sundre, Alberta, found that he needed to digitalize his entire Math 31 course to upload to Moodle.  This included lectures, assignments, quizzes and tests, etc.  He also found that he had to adjust his delivery to meet the needs of a video conferencing audience.  When adding recorded comments to the voice thread discussion, I realized I initially felt uncomfortable with my voice and my performance, but I soon gained confidence having my voice recorded and began to enjoy the experience with time.  As many researchers have acknowledged, much teaching and study time is required for educators to be successful in online delivery (Richards and Ridley, 1997; Warschauer, 1998; Well, 2000; Davidson-Shivers, Tanner and Muilenburg, 2000).

Even though some lesson components need to be modified for online delivery, other parts remain the same.  Whether an instructor is teaching in f-to-f environments or online, activities should be varied to meet the needs of diverse learners.  Educators need time to develop these diverse learning activities.  Furthermore, teachers must monitor students’ progresses whether the class is conducted f-to-f or online.  One advantage of using cyber asynchronous teaching platforms is the enhanced ability to track and keep records of students’ learning outcomes (Tanimoto et al., 2002; Shi et al., 2006; Hew et al., 2010).  Such records allow students to review their learning activities, and increase reviewing time and reflective abilities leading to higher order learning including analysis and evaluation (Newman et al., 1997).  Technology minimizes the time teachers require to monitor students’ learning progresses.

Regardless of the teaching environment, educators require time to create and adapt lessons in both f-to-f and online platforms.  Teachers need time to also develop scaffolding exercises to promote and support long-term retention and self-directed learning (Rourke, 2010).  Time is the secret ingredient that educators need to practice good teaching principles including the development of diverse, engaging lessons that are supported by appropriate scaffolding exercises and are transferable between face-to-face and online learning environments.

I continue to improve my comfort level with technology, and I am learning to implement it appropriately into curriculum rather than using it to lead teaching.  I have spent much time adapting to teaching with technology, and I predict more time will be required for me to develop my skills.  For pedagogy to lead technology, educators need time to develop skills in lesson design and transferability.  Are educators being given the time they need?


Davidson-Shivers, G., Tanner, E., and Muilenburg, L. (2000).  Online discussion:  How do students participate?  Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association, New Orleans, L.A.

Hew, K. F., Cheung, W. S., & Ng, C. S. L.  (2010).  Student contribution in asynchronous online discussion:  A review of the research and empirical exploration.  Instructional Science, 38(6), 571-606.

Newman, D. R., Johnson, C., Webb, B. & Cochrane, C.  (1997).  Evaluating the quality of learning in computer supported cooperative learning.  Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 48(6), 484-495.

Richards, C. N., and Ridley, D. R., (1997).  Factors affecting college students’ persistence in on-line computer-managed instruction.  College Student Journal, 490-495.

Rourke, A., & Coleman, K.  (2010).  E-learning in crisis:  should not the pedagogy lead the technology?  Journal Of Education Research, 4(3), 265-282.

Shi, S., Mishra, P., Bonk, C. J., Tan, S. & Zhao, Y.  (2006).  Thread theory:  A framework applied to content analysis of synchronous computer mediated communication data.  Retrieved March 22, 2011, from http://punya.educ.msu.edu/publications/submitted/thread_theory.pdf.

Tanimoto, S., Carlson, A., Husted, J., Hunt, E., Larsson, J., Madigan, D., & Minstrell, J.  (2002).  Text forum features for small group discussions with facet-based pedagogy.  In G. Stahl (Ed.), CSCL’02 Proceedings of the Conference on Computer Support for Collaborative Learning:  Foundations for a CSCL Community (pp.554-555).  Mahwah, NJ:  Lawrence Erlbaum Associate.

Warschauer, M.  (1998).  Online learning in sociocultural context.  Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 29(1), 68-88.

Well, J. G.  (2000).  Effects of on-line computer-mediated communication course, prior computer experience and Internet knowledge, and learning styles on students’ Internet attitudes:  Computer-mediated technologies and new educational challenges.  Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, 37(3), 22-53.

EDER Digital Citizenship: Blog 1-What is digital citizenship?

While in Maui, I have observed many examples of people practicing “Aloha”.  What does this mean?  Here in Hawaii, “Aloha” can mean many things.  At first, I thought that it only meant “hello or goodbye”; however, the saying “practice Aloha” appears on license plates and on signage everywhere.

In the Hawaiian language, “Aloha” means affection, peace, compassion and mercy.  Then in the 19th Century, English settlers started using it to refer to “hello or goodbye”.  The Hawaiian people now use this word to mean many things.

What I have observed is that the Hawaiians have a deep respect for each other, and they take an active role in helping to raise their children and in building relationships within their communities.  Although I haven’t visited a school here to witness how they manage digital media or whether they teach digital citizenship, I have been told that the Hawaiians practice “Aloha” in almost everything that they do.  They take this responsibility earnestly, so I feel that digital citizenship occurs even if they do not define it as such.  Hollandsworth et al. (2011) claims that “…it takes a village” to help students become better citizens, and the Hawaiians are taking vital steps to ensure their children learn their traditional culture of practicing “Aloha”.

Ohler (2011) refers to digital citizenship teaching as being part of any other character education programs.  Thus, according to this definition, the practice of “Aloha” is one aspect of digital citizenship.  Such good teaching practices at home, in communities and in schools build healthy, participatory societies that can function in the 21st Century.

Through my observations of how the Hawaiian people practice “Aloha” and through the readings for this week, I have expanded my understanding of digital citizenship to include more than being respectful of others.  I have learned that digital citizenship includes digital law, rights and responsibilities, access for everyone, communication, etiquette and much more.  I look forward to developing my understanding of digital citizenship so that I can improve my teaching practice.


Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., & Donovan, J.  (2011).  Digital Citizenship in K-12:  It Takes a Village.  Techtrends:  Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 55(4), 37-47.

Ohler, J.  (2011).  Digital Citizenship Means Character Education for the Digital Age.  Kappa Delta Pi Record, 48(1),  25-27.