The Maker Movement

Today’s accessibility to technology and the ability to share everything online has lead to a new age of personal empowerment, according to writer Sylvia Martinez and educator Gary S. Stager. With the use of technology humans are creating and mastering this world, solving problems, and amplifying human potential. With ‘smart’ materials like phones, robots, microprocessors, and 3D printers, individuals now have a power to invent like never before. This increase drive, motivation, and capability has become known as The Maker Movement. This movement is not exclusive to adults, but also includes children of all ages who are using technological tools to transition from passive learners with low motivation to real world makers with the potential to completely revolutionize education. And as children have become part of this movement, educators have to take advantage. The Maker Movement values human passion, capability, and ability to make things happen and solve problems at any point in time from any place in the world. Because of this, educators who incorporate technology into the classroom can harness this potential and instal a new confidence in their students. According to Martinez and Stager: “Classrooms that celebrate the process of design and making, which includes overcoming challenges, produce students who start to believe they can clove any problem. Students learn to trust themselves as competent problem solvers who don’t need to be told what to do next” (Martinez & Stager, 2014). Creating students that gain knowledge by doing will make for creative and ideal adults who are individuals full of new ideas.

The Maker Movement calls for people of all ages to go beyond the easy stuff like making videos, editing pictures, and slide show presentations with cool effects. The Maker Movement wants people to produce mashups, which according to educator Maureen Yoder, is a combination of many media elements. In her article The Buyers Guide Yoder describes and suggests available applications that enable students, teachers, educators, and pretty much everyone to mix media together and enhance them with personalized add ons like pictures, music, and videos. There are also applications described in her article that allow its users to share their creations with other users, as well as collaborate with other users.

As a future educator I plan to use many of these applications and turn all of my students into part of the Maker Movement. By doing so I believe that I can fulfill many of the student standards set forth by the ISTE. For example, Standard 2 can be met because students collaborate and address real-world challenges that they will encounter in their career and adult life. If they already have faced AND OVERCOME these problems as a student, these individuals will be more successful. Standard 4 can easily be met because students and problem solving and critical thinking in a unique way. They are not simple solving problems to check their answers in the back of a book, they are creating their own solutions to problems that are unique. By creating things students are not just learning, but teaching others as well. This allows students to not be idol learners anymore, but agents of change and revolution in a student centered classroom. Standard 6 can also be met by incorporating tools of the Maker Movement. Students are going beyond standard uses of technology and are creating things that have impact and influence. Topics that were once complex and maybe overwhelming now challenge students and allow them to better grasp new technologies and operations before reaching college.

Overall, being a part of The Maker Movement will enhance learning, encourage creativity, and allow for endless potential. Students will be able to use new technologies to create amazing things, allowing them to better be prepared as confident problem solvers for their future endeavors.

REFERENCES:

Martinez, S. & Stager, G. (May 2014). The Maker Movement in Learning and Leading with Technology. (pages 12-14).

Yoder, M. (Sep/Oct 2013). The Buyers Guide in Learning and Leading with Technology. (page 42).

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Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling has become the modernized expression of ancient art of telling stories. In the education world, allowing students to use digital outlets to tell stories can be of great benefit. According to Regina Royer and Patricia Richards, professors at Salisbury University in Maryland, using digital storytelling will “not only engage students in developing technology literacy, writing skills and specific curricular content, but also improve their reading comprehension” (Richards & Royer, 2008). Digital storytelling aligns with all 16 of the recommended strategies for reading comprehension set forth by the National Reading Panel, part of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. These strategies include mental imagery, active listening, reciprocal teaching, sequencing, and summarizing. Having these abilities as a student would make learning easier, retention higher, and motivation increase. In their article Learning Connections: Digital Storytelling, Richards & Royer outline the steps in creating a digital story. First the student must select and research a chosen topic, next they must reflect on that topic and write a narration script. After completing the second step, students move on to selecting and inserting images, recording the narration, and adding sound and music. After completing these steps, the student views their creations, makes any edits, and saves their digital story. All that’s left is to share their masterpiece with their teacher and/or peers. (Richards & Royer, 2008). While these steps may seem simple, completing all these actions might be met with confusion and struggle. For those who need the help and extra resources, ISTE now provides a Special Interest Group for digital storytelling (SIGDS). Lead by renowned digital storytelling master  Bernajean Porter, SIGDS provides a wiki page full of resources to help students get started with their projects. These resources include story prompts, free webinar archives, and examples are available using this link.

Below are a few other links that may b helpful for starting, completing, and sharing your digital story as well as viewing stories made by others.
This is a site for teachers that explains how to integrate digital storytelling into the classroom.
And this is a place where students and teachers can find other IST digital stories made by their peers.

I think that incorporating this technology into the classroom would help students achieve technological goals set forward in TPE 14. Using technological resources like digital storytelling allows students to use their imagination and get creative, allows students to share their findings with others, and increases retention rate and reading level. I feel like this is an important resource that I will use as a project for my students. Pertaining to history, I will ask my students to pick a small event they find interesting and tell it from a first person point of view. I think that this will make my students retain information, get creative with writing a story,  and will also teach their peers about smaller events that make up a larger historical event.

REFRENCES:

Ragan-Fore, J. (2009) Share your digital stories in Learning and Leading with Technology. June/July 2009 (page 48).

Richards, P. & Royer, R. (2008) Learning Connections: Digital Storytelling in Learning and Leading with Technology. November 2008 (pages 29-30).

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Personal Learning Network (PLN)

Question 1) For my RSS feeds portion of this assignment I used feedly. I found this website to be very interesting and easy to use. I was able to follow many informative pages about education and history, which is my area of focus. Some of the pages i decided to follow include Cool Cat Teacher Blog, Free Technology for Teachers, Blueprint for History Education, The History Blog, World History Teacher’s Blog, and This Day in History. These sites provided various YouTube videos about new educational tools, tips from current teachers, discussions about teaching styles, and some cool and interesting facts about history that would keep students engaged. For example, the site This Day in History is one that i will most likely use in my classroom. It provides an interesting event that happened on the current date sometime in history. Lets say, to make this even more clear, that I was teaching my class on October 21, i would begin our session by telling them that on his day in 1962, President Kennedy confirmed that there was missiles present in Cuba. We would then have a quick discussion on what this meant for America’s foreign relations.
Another thing i learned from one of the sites i subscribed to, Free Technology for Teachers, actually helped me complete another portion of this assignment. The site provided a YouTube video for teachers entitled “How to search twitter for educational content”. This video explains the concept of hashtags, how to use keywords, and basically what teachers need to look for in order to find resources and ideas that may not be found through a google search.

Question 2) Twitter may be something used by many people that are my age, but to me it is a foreign language that i simply do not have time for. Before this assignment i did not see the point of twitter other than telling the world everything i was doing at every second of every day. I thought it was a complete waist of time and a hyper social media site that was simply unnecessary. However, after exploring twitter from the mindset of an educator, i actually found it to be informative and helpful. After making my twitter account i decided to follow a number of pages that caught my attention including Creative Education, Urban Education, NatGeo Education, History Education, History in Pictures, Education Week, Times Education, The Education Trust, and one of my favorite CSUSM professors Ibrahim Al-Marashi. All of the accounts that i followed approached education from a different way. Some were focused on creative ways to portray information that would keep students engaged, one was focused on education within urban areas and how teachers must shape their lessons towards urban minded students, while others were focused on historical facts, events, and even pictures. Some were focused on education in America and were an outlet for teachers to speak their mind about our system, while others were focused on the global education issues including the global economy, mathematics, global warming, ect.
i followed a few has tag discussions to see the conversations that were being held and was surprised to learn the diversity of topics that surrounded one hashtag. The hashtags i followed were #edchat, #education, #educationconnection, #historyteacher, and #futureteacher. The one that had to most interesting content was edchat. Edchat was used by many different people who were talking about many different things. For example, @civilrights.org used it to push their thoughts on the opportunity gaps for children of color while @KaplanCo used it to share an article from the NY times on great methods for teaching preschoolers.

Question 3)Diigo is something that i was introduced to in Education 422A. It is a site that i found to be very useful! It was very easy for me to use Diigo as place where i would bookmark and tag websites that i might want to come back to in the future. I was also to use it as a somewhat social media type page as well. i was able to share what i found with fellow classmates, invite them to follow my page, and explore their pages as well. I follow three of my classmates and my teacher on Diigo. Through my teacher, Regina Anderson’s, webpage i was able to figure out how to better use bookmarks and sticky notes. I also searched the keyword PLN and found this very interesting webpage all about what a PLN is and how to use it.

Question 4) For the Ning Groups portion of this assignment I chose to explore The Educator’s PLN page. I found this page to be a social networking site where teachers would create their own webpage and then connect with other teachers. It felt like a community of teachers who shared their experiences, ideas, and knowledge with other people. There were many YouTube videos posted for members to watch that covered a variety of topics like “the number one mistake everybody makes on twitter” and “innovations and conversations”. I also found the section called forum to be very interesting. This is where members could post a discussion topic and other members of the site could comment and create great open dialog. There was on forum that caught my eye. It was entitled “What should the Education Software industry produce in terms of innovations to meet your needs as a teacher?” In the paragraph describing this question, the author Thomas Whitby, explained that Software Information Industry Association has posted a survey for teachers to fill out in which they can tell the company what technological innovations they need to help better teach their classes. I thought that this sharing of information to a major company was awesome. Each teacher would have a voice and opinion on how to make education better from a major corporation’s start point.

Question 5) Overall i found my experiences with the various PLN networks to be very informative. I think it is a very good way for teachers all over the world to connect with each other, share ideas, suggest new ways of using technology, and simply being there for one another. I think that these pages will take a lot of time and attention to keep up, and for some teachers it might be too much. But if someone is dedicated to their work and interested in the thoughts and opinions of others as well as being part of a larger community dedicated to a higher standard of education for our children, then the time is worth it. Some of the sites can be confusing, and there is no doubt that frustrations can arise (I became frustrated trying to use the highlight feature provided by Diigo for example). But through online forums I believe that voicing a struggle will provide that teacher with a community of teachers that can help them through it, calm their frustrations, and ultimately help them use the online tool better. In conclusion I do believe that using a PLN will help me as a teacher. I think the way in which it will help me the most is simply being connected to other people that have similar interests and current experiences that i do. I think that if we can all work together, share ideas, brainstorm, and receive credible feedback that our level of education provided will rise as well as our pure interest and eagerness to continue doing what we do. We are teachers because we care, and connecting with those who have a similar interest can be nothing but positive.

MY BADGE http://static.ning.com/socialnetworkmain/widgets/index/swf/badge.swf?xn_version=124632088
Visit The Educator’s PLN

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Common Core State Standards

Many of the states in the US have adopted the educational plan of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) which are aimed at preparing students for their future careers. ISTE’s chief marketing operator Deborah Mersino claims that the Common Core State Standards develop important 21st century skills like problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. Along with the use of new technologies, it is the hope of CCSS supporters that students will learn how to successfully navigate their adult life and encourage them to become life long learners. With focuses on math, English, and science the CCSS creates educational equality nationwide and helps to level the playing field for graduates across the country. STEM coordinator for the PAST foundation, Brian Coffey believes that the CCSS “goes past the the traditional pedagogy that has promoted almost exclusively remote memorization of textbook-based learning to an applied, exploratory, and student-engaged educational mindset” (Coffey, Nov 2013). With the transformation and implementation of technology, Coffey and many others believe that it is important to have tools and standards like the CCSS that realistically reflect progress. Coffey states that “the CCSS give us the power to turn schools into laboratories of innovators, curiosity seekers, and robust thinkers” (Coffey, Nov 2013). But do all educators agree with the strong opinions of CCSS supporters like Coffey and Mersino?

While every story has two sides, the CCSS has its nay-sayers. Former educator and current strategic planner and technological innovator Steve Taffee believes that the CCSS are the wrong way for our educational system to go. Taffee makes a valid point by claiming that the CCSS are focused on preparing our students for careers while leaving out more fundamental questions regarding humanity like citizenry, global warming, poverty, world hunger, combating life-threatening diseases, decreasing child mortality, and promoting gender equality. Taffee states that “an emphasis on preparing students for the world of work neglects a larger world of adulthood, and that as a result, too many people end up in unfulfilling jobs, perpetuating, an uncritical view of capitalism that serves the needs of business and industry over those of learners” (Taffee, Nov 2013). Taffee has a point, and one that should cause some concern to future educators.

While i think that having a core standard for all states is a good idea, the thoughts of Steve Taffee do cause me some unrest when i think about my future students. I want to create not only creative innovators and intellectual questioners, but good citizens and caring members of the world. As a history teacher, we teach past mistakes of others in hope that our students can learn from their mistakes to create a better world for tomorrow. Things like hunger and poverty lead to uprisings and revolutions. That being said, as a history teacher who teaches about these things, i believe it is my responsibility to teach my students how to help in current poverty stricken places. We are not only citizens of the US, but members of a global world that requires action. Therefore, while I obviously plan to teach the CCSS, I also plan on preparing my students to be good global citizens who are hopefully encouraged to be life long learners and responsible adults. I want my students to care about the world and find careers that are meaningful. I plan to include current day events in my lessons about the past with the hopes that my students inherit my passion and develop a sense of action.

REFERENCES

Coffey, B. & Taffee, S. (Nov 2013). Can the common core prepare students for future careers? in Learning and Leading with Technology. [online]. Retrieved from http://www.learningandleading-digital.com/learning_leading/november_2013?pg=8&search_term=what%20are%20common%20core%20standard&doc_id=-1&search_term=what%20are%20common%20core%20standard#pg8
Mersino, D. (Aug 2013). ISTE releases position statement on common core in Learning and Leading with Technology. [online]. Retrieved from http://www.learningandleading-digital.com/learning_leading/201308?pg=10&search_term=common%20core%20standard&doc_id=-1&search_term=common%20core%20standard#pg10

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Mobile Learning

The teaching community has recently acknowledged the importance of using technology within the classroom in order to keep the attention of their students. But some educators have gone even further and support the use of mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets in the classroom, known as mobile learning. Mobile learning is defined by Helen Crompton, assistant professor of instructional technology at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia as “learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices” (Crompton, September/October 2013). This definition can be somewhat confusing so lets dissect it, as Crompton does in her article The Benefits and Challenges of Mobile Learning. The first part of that definition states “learning across multiple contexts” and refers to the portability and versatility of mobile devices that allows us to learn wherever, whenever, and for whatever subject a student is interested in. For example lets say a student is walking down the street and sees a word on a billboard that they are not familiar with, this student looks up the definition of the word on their mobile device and learns something new. The second part of the definition of mobile learning is “through social and content interactions” which describes the connections students make with others as well as with the subject matter. For example, a class takes a field trip to a local museum and two students find a common interest in an ancient artifact that is on display. They notice a QR code included in the description and scan it using their mobile device. This allows the students to get more information directly on their mobile device and connect with others who share their interest. And finally the last part of the definition given by Crompton is “using personal electronic devices” which refers to the many electronic devices that learning is available on: laptops, smart phones, and tablets. Having these personal electronics will help each student increase their learning experience and retention rate. Lets imagine, for example, a class watching a short documentary and each student using their own personal devices. One student in class who is hard of hearing usually has a hard time hearing all important content when the films are showed off one device. However with his own personal device the student, who realizes his volume is too low, pauses his device, turns up the volume, and resumes.

The definition and examples above prove that mobile learning is becoming more and more important. But what initiatives are being taken to implement this new way of learning into classrooms? The Verizon foundations have recently teamed up with ISTE to form the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Program which actively supports school leaders, teachers, and technology coaches with the implementations of mobile learning in classrooms. This program trains teachers in new technologies, focuses on standard-based instruction, fosters systematic technological integration, helps enhance school’s capacity to offer high-quality technological assistance to teachers, provides suggestion of how to use new technology to keep students engaged, and helps school adopt new mobile learning programs. However throughout the first two years of this program, ISTE has realized that it is not just about access to mobile devices. Teacher’s technological knowledge has become a main focus for the program. If teachers don’t know how to use mobile devices, apps, and new technologies, the program and their efforts as obsolete. As a result, the program has began to offer technological courses to teachers to help them keep up with the rapidly changing mobile device world.

Personally, I think the implementation of mobile learning in the classroom is important. Students don’t want to come into the classroom and disconnect. Therefore we, as future teachers, must find ways to use the addiction to mobile devices that our students will most likely have, to our benefit. I think that a balance is going to be the most important thing. We want our students to learn, not just look things up. Retention is key! So my question to the ISTE and Verizon would be how to reach a balance between learning during the age of web pages like google that can provide almost any answer. Within my classroom I will use mobile devices for individual activities. Having interactive online activities with a short, timed questionnaire at the end may help students be interested, interact, learn, and retain.

REFERENCES:

Crompton, H. (Sep/Oct 2013). The benefits and challenges of mobile learning in Learning and Leading with Technology. [online]. Retrieved from
Nixon-Saintil, J. & Ramos, Y. (Sep/Oct 2013). Partnership helps schools succeed with mobile learning in Learning and Leading with Technology. [online]. Retrieved from

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Social Media in Education

Social Media has quickly become a huge part of mainstream culture. Everywhere you look you can see a twitter symbol or a hashtag, from commercials to news outlets. So it is no surprise that the generation that was born at the brink of this social media explosion uses sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on an hourly basis. Every student with a smart phone, which includes students as young as early elementary, has 24/7 access to their social media outlets. With so much access, schools have now started to question their evolvement and responsibility of the social media actions of their students. Chief information officer at Prebuef Jesuit Prep School in Indianapolis, Indiana, J.D. Ferries-Rowe believes that “the adult members of the school community have a responsibility to model appropriate behavior to our students, guide them when their behavior strays from acceptable norms, and provide them with a safe space for experimentation and boundary testing as well as a recourse from irreversible consequences when things go really bad” (Ferries-Rowe, February 2012, p.6). According to Ferries-Rowe, teacher should interact with their students on social media sites like Facebook, call them out for inappropriate comments or pictures, and redirect them if necessary. However many students believe that their social media activities are separate from the educational life and that they have the right to freedom of speech and privacy. So how do we as teachers and school staff help our students to maintain proper digital citizenship while still allowing them the freedom of unsupervised interaction that they desire?

Anne Pasco, chair of the Blended Learning Department at Huntley High School in Huntley, Illinois says that “This [social media] may seem like a new development, but students who use social media are merely participating in the same types of social activities that teens in every generation have participated in” (Pasco, February 2014, p. 6). Before the apps that allow constant access were available in the palms’ of our student’s hands, they wrote notes, talked on the phone, and gathered at school events to socialize. This is the same type of interaction, but now the technology is different. There is one major difference that teens may not realize: things that are posted online are permanent and are available for the world to see. Before online social media, comments, pictures, and actions were somewhat private. But now, as noted by Pasco, “when students make social mistakes and get involved in conflicts, it’s often open for the world to see” (Pasco, February 2014, p. 6). Because of this the education of digital citizenship has become a subject of the upmost importance in schools. Both Ferries-Rowe and Pasco agree that the education of social respect and responsibility will help guide our students in the right direction when it comes to their online actions. If we, as teachers, explain the permanence on consequences of the posts, then we will be able to install a sense of liability in them. Alecia Berman- Dry, directory of academic technology at St. John’s Episcopal School in Olney, Maryland says that “incidents on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter occurring outside of school hours indicates that our students were not learning to be good digital citizens” (Berman-Dry, August 2013, p. 24).

The NETS standard for Digital Citizenship requires that students know, understand, and demonstrate that safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology and that they exhibit leadership in digital citizenship. As teachers, we must teach this NETS, but Berman-Dry also believes that we must make sure our students fully understand the point of our lesson. In the school that Berman-Dry works in, they have implemented a trimester long course that teaches student in depth social citizenship and allows them to develop a personal relationship with digital actions that are social acceptable. I personally believe that all schools should implement some type of digital citizenship course. I think that learning about cyber bullying, sexting, and other digital mistakes from an early age will install a moral righteousness and a sense of appropriate digital behavior that we want from our students. Even a semester class on the right actions, possible consequences, and basic knowledge about social media will help educate our students and hopefully encourage them to act responsibly online. I also think that each school should have their own social media sites to keep their students, faculty, and parents updated on information, events, and other school related things. Being involved and connected online to our students will serve as a reminder to act responsibly. Along with this I believe there should be some type of anonymous mailbox that students can submit complaints and reports about bullying and other inappropriate actions of their fellow classmates. Although no one wants to be a tattle tale, I feel like having this safe outlet will provide students will a level of comfort.

Anne Pasco says it best when she states that “social media is not the enemy, it’s an outlet we want our students to use” (Pasco, February 2014, p. 6).

References:

Berman-Dry, Alecia. (2013) Learning and Leading with Technology: making it personal: a new approach to teaching technology. (August 2013, p. 24-26)

Ferries-Rowe, J.D. (2014) Learning and Leading with Technology: Should schools monitor student’s social media posts? (August 2013, p.6/7)

Pasco, Anne. (2013) Learning and Leading with Technology: Should schools monitor student’s social media posts? (August 2013, p.6/7)

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Assistive Technology

Through the reading of a couple articles in the ISTE website journal Learning and Leading with Technology I have learned a great deal about the use Assistive Technology for students with disabilities. Assistive Technology (AT) is defined by Congress in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Section 602-1 (1990) as “any item, piece of equipment or product, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of children with disabilities (9/10 2013, p.10) There are a range of AT options that help students read, write, organize ideas, and communicate that allow them to better meet and even master the Common Core State Standards and ISTE’s standards that before seemed difficult or impossible.
For students who struggle with writing voice diction apps and voice recognition technology allows them to use their computers, tablets, and even smart phones take notes, write papers, send emails, and even submit assignments directly to the teacher. The student can simply talk to their device and have their words put to paper overcoming the basic struggles of writing and typing.
Gayl Bowser, an independent consultant who focuses on the integration of technology into the educational programs for students with disabilities, believes that now is an important time to focus on implementing AT in school across America. Bowser states that students with disabilities and those who struggle in school would be able to meet the Common Core State Standards if they had access to technology to help them demonstrate what they know. Many students feel frustrated because of their restrictions, however if these barriers were lifted, these students would excel in areas they formerly found difficult.
In the article I Have Something to Stay by Marla Runyan, communication disorder specialist, the new app Proloquo2Go (P2G) is described. This AT app produced by Assistive-Ware allows students with autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, developmental disabilities, and apraxia of speech to speak through their technology. Students can either type sentences or choose from a variety of pictures to form sentences allowing them to verbally communicate with others. Personally, I think that this type of AT is the most interesting. Before this app and others like it, students who were not able to speak were often shut off from the rest of the world. However with this app, not only can they communicate with other students, teachers, and peers, they can succeed better in school and the real world. In Runyan’s article, she gives an example of one sixth grade boy who is motivated to talk but can only speak a couple words. After using P2G for the first time, the boy enthusiastically went around his classrooms asking his teachers and peers which football team they were cheering for in the upcoming big game. This shows that students cannot only function better within the academic world, but can also thrive in their personal life as well.
Having access to apps like Proloquo2Go allows students to have a completely new learning and education experience. Students will be able to ask questions, participate in class, and have discussions with other students about in class topics. These type of apps will also help students with disabilities communicate with students who do not have disabilities making them feel more part of the student bodies unlike before where they were for the most part separated. By becoming more informed on these apps through our teacher preparation courses, we as future teachers will be able to work better with this technology and disabled students to succeed in school.

REFERENCES:
Bowser, Gayl. (2013). Assistive Technology in the Digital Age. Learning and Leading in Technology, September/October, page 10. http://www.learningandleading-digital.com/learning_leading/20130910?pg=12&search_term=assistive%20technology&doc_id=-1&search_term=assistive%20technology#pg12
Runyan, Marla. (2011). ‘I Have Something to Say’ Learning and Leading in Technology, August, page 32. http://www.learningandleading-digital.com/learning_leading/201108?pg=35&search_term=assistive%20technology&doc_id=-1&search_term=assistive%20technology#pg35

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