EDET 674 Week 6 Essential Question: What assistive or adaptive tools could be helpful as I create my online courses?
There are many tools and media online educators must think about when designing online courses. The main technologies are print, recorded audio and video, interactive audio and video, and Internet technologies (Moore, et.al, page 72). These assistive tools can be helpful when creating online courses.
Printed text in distance education has had a huge impact on the speed of producing materials (Moore, et.al, page 74). When it’s done electronically, text, illustrations, diagrams and pictures can all be created faster. The Web and Web page creation tools have made it easier for documents to be downloaded and distributed easier and faster.
There are many ways audio and video tools can help online courses. Some of the ways recorded audio can be used include: talking students through parts of the material, talking about real objects that student holds for observation, talking through students manipulating procedures, providing examples of sounds, etc. (page 77). The benefits of using both audio and video assistive technology are presenting the views of experts who would not normally be beyond the reach of the students, and streaming videos to present online courses (page 78). Screen-cast-o-matic is tool I used in the past to audio record and display my PowerPoint at the same time. YouTube is the best known video and podcasting sites allow audio or video files to be stored and downloaded to computers, cell phones, etc. (page 85).
Another assistive tool that can be used in online classes, are web-based conferencing systems. The student interacts with the instructor via network (page 79). This tool provides a high-quality opportunity for the student to interact in real time using personal computers. The primary role of the instructor is to facilitate the discussion forums. “One golden rule for teaching by any technology is that the technology must be reliable and near-transparent, with sound quality good enough not to interfere with the message,” (page 80).
Another assistive technology that can help online learning, is the use of mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets can be integrated in so many ways: accessing information from the Internet, listening/viewing podcasts, communicating with classmates and teachers, recording/note-taking, creating and sharing documents, taking photos/videos, and coordinating schedules or activities (page 86).
According to McClary, there are eight universal design principles of quality distance learning courses:
- Equitable use: ensuring content is available to all learners.
- Flexible use: involves content offered in multiple formats.
- Simple and intuitive: students are familiar with the same platform for learning.
- Perceptible information: involves enhancing content with descriptors, captions and transcriptions- providing alternatives to access content.
- Tolerance for error- opportunities to easily correct errors.
- Low physical and technical effort- students’ technology maintenance should be limited.
- Community of learners and support- good course design incorporates group learning, and employs technology to facilitate those interactions at a distance.
- Instructional climate- Instructors stay connected and involved.
One of the main concerns for online education is how teachers are differentiating instruction to ensure quality education for everyone. Technology vendors are making efforts to create new products that meet the needs of students with physical disabilities (McCrea, 2013). According to www.teachthought.com, some assistive technologies being utilized for students with disabilities include:
- screen readers- which are software programs that allow blind or visually impaired users to read the text that is displayed on the computer screen with a speech synthesizer,
- video-magnifiers- uses a video camera to display a magnified image for students with low vision,
- FaceMouse- allows students to use their head and facial gestures to perform tasks.
There are many assistive technologies that can be helpful when creating online classes. ACTIONS is a model used to make decisions about the use of technology (page 90):
Access: where will students learn; at home, work, or a local center?
Costs: what are capital and recurrent; fixed and variable?
Teaching functions: what are presentational requirements of the subject?
Interaction: what kind of teacher and student interaction will be possible?
Organization: what changes in organization will be required to facilitate the use of technology?
Novelty: will the trendiness of this technology stimulate funding and innovation?
Speed: how quickly and easily can material be updated and changed?
8 Helpful Assistive Technology Tools For Your Classroom. (2013, May 15). Retrieved October 11, 2016, from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/technology/8-helpful-assistive-technology-tools-for-your-classroom/
McClary, J. (n.d.). Factors in High Quality Distance Learning Courses. Retrieved October 11, 2016, from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer162/mcclary162.html
McCrea10/31/13, B. (2013, October 31). Who’s Serving Online Learning’s Forgotten Students? — THE Journal. Retrieved October 11, 2016, from https://thejournal.com/Articles/2013/10/17/Whos-Serving-Online-Learnings-Forgotten-Students.aspx?Page=1
Moore, Michael G., and Greg Kearsley. Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.