The Pathology of Technology

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Send text message for Google search

Did you know that you can do a google search using your text message feature of your cell phone? It's easy - just send a text message to Google at 466453 (spells Google on your keypad), and within seconds, you have a text message with the information you need. For example, you can type in a person’s name, city and state and get their contact information, including address. You can text words plus zip codes like “sushi 78745” and find all the sushi places in that zip code. You can also get weather reports by texting “weather (name of city),” along with sports scores, stock quotes, dictionary definitions, movie listings, and driving directions. Get the full information and instructions at www.google.com/mobile/sms

This is a free service from Google. You only pay the text messaging rates that apply via your provider.

This post came from a subscriber to the Speaker Net News

How Do We Know We Are Doing Technology Integration Right?

To develop and maintain our positive mindset while working with students with disabilities and their families, it is usually a good idea to ask ourselves: What are we are doing right, what data do we have to show for our efforts, and how do we encourage others to adopt a similar positive mindset for advocacy?

In my last workshop on certifying 21 “LATS” (Local Assistive Technology Specialist) some of the teachers said that when they integrated technology into regular education seamlessly, they got a strong feelings of self - confidence. They knew this was true because of the regular communication that existed between special and general education teachers, and the frequency of meaningful follow up that they gave one another. This support included the what, how, when and who of technology use. Boston schools have established a comprehensive way to implement this goal. http://www.boston.k12.ma.us/teach/technology/emmanuel.asp)

Another mentioned that knowing her leaders had a vision and goals gave her the satisfaction of knowing their district was doing something right as well as having a built in standard against which to measure their progress.

Still others noted that having “current software” (e.g, the newest version of either Kurzweil or Read and Write Gold in their library and on their server was the gold standard. Everyone in the class agreed that having a “Point Person" at all schools that aided them in troubleshooting was the most important ingredient on a day to day basis.

They also were eager to discuss the dark side of Technology Integration – feeling like it was an all volunteer job in the absence of a “Point Person, training, or access to disorganized or irrelevant training. Failure to adhere to the “think before you ban” warning was Banning tools that motivate and interest students of all levels.

Looking to the future, (www.school2.0.org) a few were willing to fight for their right to give every student an iPod or MP3 player in the classroom because it is a great tool to use for technology modification and it has a high “cool” factor – possibly the most important criteria of all. One might also argue the empowerment factor that tools get used when learning is placed in the hands of the students by the students.

Digging more deeply, one student (a child of one of the participants) said there are two ways of looking at student empowerment – the kind that is borne of rebellion over being denied access, the kind that never leaves the classroom because there is no carryover at home or the school does it to be trendy (as perceived by the students) and the kind that is forced upon them, for example, the school that says: “In the 2008-2009 school year all students will be required to have a video iPod."

Ultimately our goal is to create a teaching learning environment that is characterized with authentic engagement in authentic work.

Through the Looking Glass