ATU205 – Becca Klockars aka OTMommy and the Blended Learning Classroom Apple

first_imgShare this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedATU188 – Wheel Life & The Bally Foundation, Look at Me app for Autism, Applevis’ Golden Apple Awards, Birdhouse for AutismJanuary 2, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU228 – iOS 9 and Its Impact on People with Disabilities | Luis Perez | Free AT Webinars, Insulin and Blood Sugar Monitoring on Your Smart Phone, Robots and AutismOctober 9, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU218 – The story of an AT Entrepreneur – Kris Parmalee Co-founder and CEO of Lectio, Blackboard Accessibility, ADA 25th AnniversaryJuly 31, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update” Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Show Notes: Becca Klockars (aka OT Mommy) – AT for the Blended Learning ClassroomA First Look at the Apple Watch and Its Accessibility – AFB Blog – American Foundation for the Blind Apple: An interview with Laura Legendary about the intersection of fashion and accessibility to be Honored for Commitment to Accessibility for People with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities’s Lama Nachman on taking Stephen Hawking’s speech system open-source (Wired UK) Gloves Teach Proper Technique to Wheelchair Users Waze——————————Listen 24/7 at www.AssistiveTechnologyRadio.comIf you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email [email protected] out our web site: https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook:——-transcript follows ——BECCA KLOCKARS: Hi, this is Becca Klockars, occupational therapist and personal blogger for OT Mommy Needs Her Coffee, and you’re listening to this week’s Assistive Technology Update.WADE WINGLER: Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Welcome to episode number 205 of Assistive Technology Update. It’s scheduled to be released on May 1 of 2015.Today my guest is Becca Klockars, who is the author of OT Mommy Needs Her Coffee, where she talks about all things special ed. Also, in the interview with her today, we are going to talk about assistive technology for the blended learning classroom, kind of an interesting approach to technology in the classroom.We have a couple of stories about the Apple Watch and the impact on people with disabilities; we spend a little time talking about Intel’s perspective on Stephen Hawking’s open source speech communication system; some gloves to help wheelchair users use better techniques; and an app review on the Waze app by hope that you’ll check us out online over at, shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAproject, or call our listener line. The number is 317-721-7124. We’d love to hear your comments, your feedback, or even better yet, read love you to leave a question on the listener line that we can either answer on this show or on our new show, Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions, or ATFAQ. Again, stick your question on our listener line at 317-721-7124.***Kelly Bleach over at the American Foundation for the Blind has a fascinating blog post called “A First Look at the Apple Watch and accessibility.” Apparently at a recent AFB leadership conference, someone from Apple came and demonstrated some of the assistive features of the new Apple Watch. They talked about voiceover, magnification, how to change the font and contrast. They also talked about how haptic feedback, the mono audio, and different watch faces make the watch more accessible. Kelly’s article goes into a little bit of detail about these features, and I’m going to pop a link in the show notes so that you can go over to the AFB website and get a look at this first look at the Apple Watch and how it is more accessible.In a similar vein, there’s an article over on Apple World today where the author there, Alex Jurgensen said, interviews the legendary Laura Legendary who knows all about assistive technology and fashion. She happens to be someone who is blind and is very keen on accessibility. They spent some time getting into the details about the Apple Watch and what that’s going to mean. They talk about some of the different ways that the clasps work. She talks about some of the different options in terms of bands and those kinds of things. She makes the point that when you are someone who pays attention to fashion, having lots of choices very important. They even get down to some of the technical nitty-gritty about the digital crown and the communication button, and is the placement good for that. They talk about whether you are a left-handed or right-handed user and whether the placement of those controls make a difference. And they spend a little time talking about Laura’s podcast, Fashionability, that talks about accessibility and inclusiveness in the fashion world.I’m going to pop a link in the show notes over to Apple Work Today where you can read more about this article with Laura legendary and what she thinks about the fashion side of the Apple Watch. Check our show notes.Microsoft is about to be honored for their commitment to accessibility for people with autism and other developmental disabilities. In June, Microsoft’s Rob Sinclair will receive the award on behalf of Microsoft in New York City. It’s going to be issued by the Quality Services for the Autism Community, or QSAC, which is a New York charity that supports services to folks who have autism. According to the press release, and I quote, “Microsoft’s commitment to the development of accessible technology for children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities is helping to create a more inclusive society.” That was from Gary Maffei who is the executive director of QSAC.Microsoft isn’t the first group to win this award. In the past, PIMCO, Pfizer, and even Sprint have won this award. There’s going to be a big gala that brings together more than 500 folks to increase autism awareness and also to support funds for the QSAC organization. So if you’d like to read more about this event, this award and what Microsoft has been doing to help folks with autism, I’ll pop a link in the show notes.There’s a story in Wired’s UK edition that talks about how Intel’s Lama Nachman has been spending time with Stephen Hawking on developing his open-source assistive context aware toolkit and what that means. The folks have spent a lot of time with Dr. Hawking about how he uses a computer, and they’re trying to figure out a way to modify the user interface so that it’s still familiar so he still knows how to use the operating system, but also speeding things up so that he has more reliable, more efficient access to things. They talk about the fact that sometimes simply opening a file can take 3 to 4 minutes of time using the adaptive technology that Dr. Hawking uses. They are trying to figure out how to make sort of an ultra-flexible system that would knock that time down from several minutes down to just a few seconds.This article is interesting because it goes into why an open-source approach is going to make this a more valuable thing for the community in general. I’m going to pop a link in the show notes over to Wired UK where you can read more about what Intel is doing with Stephen Hawking and how this open-source project may just provide some rapid acceleration in the development award for people who have spinal cord injuries and other neuromotor kind of conditions. I’ll pop that link in the show notes. Click there, check it out.Over at the University of Illinois, a person named Chandra Jayaraman is working on something that, really, I hadn’t thought about before. They are working in a product called Cubitus. This is a device that helps people who use wheelchairs and propel themselves with their arms and hands and allows them to keep track of how they are doing.So the story that I found via the folks over at RESNA and is printed in Medical Design Technology Magazine talks about the fact that people who rely on manually propelled wheelchairs use their arms about 10 times as much as everybody else, and that’s a risk factor for people who might be using poor form. Apparently in some high-end rehab clinics, there a way to study and tell whether or not you’re using your hands and arms in the right way to propel your wheelchair, but people can deviate from that and end up with all kinds of injuries in the shoulders and arms and things like that.This is a device that is supposed to retail at some point for around $250. It includes some sensors on some smart gloves and gives the user feedback on their smart phone about how they are doing, which is a lot more accessible than being in a rehab clinic using the $20,000 worth of lab equipment that it normally takes to talk about whether or not their form is correct. Fascinating article, interesting idea, and I’m going to pop a link in the show notes over to the Medical Design Technology Magazine blog where you can read more about this thing called Cubitus.Each week, one of our partners tells us what’s happening in the ever-changing world of apps, so here’s an app worth mentioning.AMY BARRY: This is Amy Barry with BridgingApps, and this is an app worth mentioning. This week’s app is called Waze Social GPS, Maps, and Traffic. Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation app. Drivers or passengers in your area share real-time traffic and road information to save time and gas. We highly recommend this app for all drivers to improve daily commute and long distance travel.A feature appreciated by the family and friends of teens and older adult drivers is the ability to view their real-time driving location and estimated times of arrival. Children and teens can also use Waze to help plan routes, learn about nearby landmarks, and use one of the neat features that allows them to preview what they will see when they get to the destination. While you are driving, kids can assist navigation. They can follow the route, let you know what’s coming up, and report hazards or traffic conditions to fellow Wazers.Waze has a very simple interface, making it easy to learn and use. For navigation, touch the Waze icon in the bottom left corner, navigate, and then search the location address in the top bar. Users can also use the voice command option for hands-free driving. The navigate screen also has options for finding gas, saving favorites, and locating friends. The My Waze screen allows the option of going indivisible, choosing a mood icon, adding friends, a fun scoreboard, joining teams, and changing settings. The scoreboard area of the Waze displays points, so as you drive you can earn points by simply driving, reporting traffic hazards, police, accidents, road hazards, gas prices, map issues, road closures, speed cams, etc. A fun addition to the app is advancing levels and increasing rate.Our reviewers have all shared positive experiences with using the Waze app. They are using it instead of their mobile device maps feature, or even onboard GPS system when they drive locally or venture out of town. Users note the alerts and always up-to-date data as being their favorite features. Waze is free in the iTunes and Google Play stores and is compatible with iOS devices and Android. For more information on this app and others like it, visit***WADE WINGLER: You can’t hardly be a practitioner in the field or even a user of assistive technology without figuring out where the information is out there. I think that’s especially true when we talk about assistive technology with little kids in the K-12 environment. I am so excited today to have a celebrity on our show today, Rebecca Klockars. Becca is OT Mommy Needs Her Coffee. She is somebody who has a blog that has all kinds of cool information. I’m going to get a chance to talk with her today.Now, before I even let her have any words, I’m going to read a little bit from her website and her blog because I think it’s pretty cool. It says, “I am a mom of two very opposite boys, wife of a clean freak, and an occupational therapist was 13 years of pediatric and geriatric experience. My mission is to share things to do, places to go, and ideas to keep us all sane in southern New England, as well as happily commiserate about being a thirty-something woman.” So that’s a little bit about the person. But I looked around the OT Mommy Needs Her Coffee blog, and I found some cool stuff. I found things like Appy Hour reviews; there’s one there on Mod Math recently; some persona’ experiences with adapting a John Deere power toy for a child with a disability; some spotlighting of podcasts and resources — and I’m proud to say that we were recently spotlighted on there. And one of her most popular posts is called “If you give a kid a keyboard”, which reminds me of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, a Moose a Muffin, and that series of books. Anyway, today we’re going to talk about AT for the blended learning classroom, but I’m going to stop talking and introduce our guest. Becca, are you there?BECCA KLOCKARS: I am. How are you, Wade?WADE WINGLER: I’m doing great. Thank you so much for being on our show today. I know that you rushed out of the classroom and onto a phone so we would have a chance to talk today. I’m excited about you being here.BECCA KLOCKARS: Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity.WADE WINGLER: So Becca, I know what an occupational therapist is, and I know some things about assistive technology in the classroom. But take us to school a little bit on what is a blended learning classroom, because that was a term I thought I knew, and I don’t.BECCA KLOCKARS: Well, what happened is I learned about blended learning a couple of years ago when the school in which I worked adoptedthat that model. It talks about using online learning, mobile learning, and classroom learning and using it in a couple of different ways, basically being able to personalize learning and diversifying the learning experience for the kids by integrating the technology.WADE WINGLER: So it’s technology heavy and it felt like there are several different platforms of technology being used.BECCA KLOCKARS: Yes. In our school, we adopted smart boards, iPads, laptops, you name it. They added it, and this is from a pre-K to fifth grade level.WADE WINGLER: Okay. So it sounds like there’s a lot going on with technology, but also sounds like there’s a lot going on with assistive technology as well. Is that right?BECCA KLOCKARS: Yes. And what we were finding is you want to think about the universal design of learning, but we kind of had to take a step back because the technology was kind of placed in the classroom, and then the therapist and I were looking at it going, oh, how are our kids going to access it?WADE WINGLER: So talk to me a little bit about your overarching strategies for integrating assistive technology in kind of a tech heavy environment like that.BECCA KLOCKARS: Well, we had to ask ourselves lots of questions. The first thing we did was actually talk to the teachers and say flat out, can your students access within the classroom? It could be from a physical standpoint, a cognitive standpoint, or a sensory standpoint. Many of our students, we had a lot of kids at the time that were medically fragile. We had a lot of kids using adaptive technology like power wheelchairs. A lot of physical mobility needs as well as those that might have some cognitive and communicative disorders, autism; we had a couple of kids that were using cochlear implants, hearing aids, so we had so much of the stuff going on, we needed to figure out how are those kids going to access all that stuff.WADE WINGLER: So as you are figuring some of that stuff out and creating an environment it’s going to be accessible and tech heavy, what are some of the favorite tools that you found? What do you like to use?BECCA KLOCKARS: One of my favorite was for a little pre-K kids or kids that happened to be too short or happened to be in a wheelchair, my good old ball on a stick. The SmartBoard, because they are resistive technology, you can literally take a tennis ball, put it on the end of a dowel, and you have yourself an accessible pointer.WADE WINGLER: That’s cool.BECCA KLOCKARS: So there’s low-tech, there’s mid-tech, and there’s definitely high tech in there.WADE WINGLER: Give me some others. That one is too cool to stop with that.BECCA KLOCKARS: One of my happiest things I could have done was be able to get the applicator by pertorium, which is the Bluetooth applicator interface for the iPad. So what that allowed us to do was to get switches, make the iPad switch accessible so then the children that had more significant needs could still interact with the technology and the culture of the classroom. We used a lot of pointers and anything else that we could get our hands on to modify, going to the recycling center and finding different iPad holders for kids that can’t traditionally move up to the table to get in contact with the technology.WADE WINGLER: That makes sense. It’s sounds like you are probably, like most people in special ed and assistive technology, trying to think on your feet as well and do modifications sort of on-the-fly?BECCA KLOCKARS: Yes. And I kind of wish that if my story goes out and people are listening, that if we can get an OT or an assistive tech or a physical therapist or speech and language pathologist or special educator that has these questions in mind about how will all children access the technology, it won’t be so much of getting the shoehorn fitting everyone in, but it’ll be universal design so everyone has access from the get-go.WADE WINGLER: So based on that thought process, give me some tips. If you were talking to a brand-new OT or brand-new educator who was going to be in a classroom with kids with disabilities, especially a blended learning classroom, what kind of advice would you give them just starting out?BECCA KLOCKARS: First, always look at the classroom. Take an observation and look around and see how is the classroom set up. Because first and foremost, the kids need to have a proper workspace. We are not going to have anyone having access to the technology if they don’t have the correct table height and their feet on the floor and there is enough space for them to work or the lighting is good. So really taking a look at the classroom environment, and then you can make your suggestions based on that. Do you need to put the iPad perhaps on an elevator surface like a three ring binder? Or you can get one of those car windshield mounts that we see in stores like Five Below — where I can’t figure out why they would put an iPad on a windshield — but you can usually invert it and stick it to a table. So all of a sudden you have a very inexpensive way to make it an elevated surface. So that would be one suggestion. And then really talking with the teachers and getting to know the students more so. Then asking yourself those questions, well, what does the student need to do, in what environment, and then what kind of technology might be available. If you don’t know, refer for the assistive technology evaluation.WADE WINGLER: You sounded a little Cook and Hussey therefore just a second, the study guide that people tend to use for the ATP exam.BECCA KLOCKARS: The good old set model.WADE WINGLER: Good for you.BECCA KLOCKARS: But really, it’s one of those things that I talk with the teachers a lot and the other therapists a lot about. You’ve got to analyze what do the kids need to do. It doesn’t always mean that they need access to Proloquo2Go. They might need just access to a variety of things. Maybe they need the visual board and then something else and the Velcro before we can even step to the higher tech. So it’s not always jumping into the highest tech thing.WADE WINGLER: I think that’s a mistake that rookies in the field make, but I even think seasoned professionals make that mistake a lot of times as well. We get so hung up on the technology and the gadget factor and the wow factor, and we like some of the more collocated tools that we overlook the environment and what we are trying to do with this stuff.BECCA KLOCKARS: You’re 100% right. One of the things that I’ve been coming across as I continuously try to educate myself on what’s out there through things like your podcast and webinars and courses and things like that, is about WCAG, Web Content Accessibility. That has a lot to do with blended learning because educators will use different online learning sources, but if it’s not accessible to those using a Bluetooth braille interface or a screen reader, then the child doesn’t have access to the culture in the classroom or the culture in the school.WADE WINGLER: Absolutely, and because everything is moving to an online platform in one way or another, you’re right. I don’t think we can pay too much attention to that. Becca, what has been the impact on kids with disabilities in the classroom and kids without disabilities in the classroom that you have observed?BECCA KLOCKARS: I definitely see a more even ability to differentiate the learning. So even though a child maybe with a print disability might be reading at a different level than someone who doesn’t, they are all in the same program. So they don’t feel like they are not as good as their peers, because they are doing the best to their ability, and everyone is doing on the same platform but they are being challenged in the ways that they can. So that’s been a really great way.The other thing, we’ve been blessed with so much grant money in our school to get all this great technology, is having access to different assistive technology to try to pull in the trial from. So that was really big. A lot of our children with significant cognitive and physical impairments that were not able to do more than eye contact all of a sudden had access to more switch toys and switch accessibility, and then these cause and effect toys like the inclusive technology apps which are wonderful for physical play and different types of learning styles. They are very engaging. Then all of a sudden, those children now have a little more underplayed to be able to play with.WADE WINGLER: I agree. We talked a little bit about web delivered contact; we even talked about iPads and mounting systems and stuff like that. What other kinds of trends do you see in terms of assistive technology and especially in this blended learning model?BECCA KLOCKARS: I’m hoping that people that understand assistive technology, or at least those with some type of inkling towards it will be more on the design process. If administrators or educators are thinking about incorporating the blended learning, there will be people on staff to talk about it before they implement it so that we are not doing that show horn theory. We’ll have all the curb cuts, per se, just right in to the program itself. So I’m hoping that as web content becomes more accessible, blended learning becomes more accessible, and therefore we are not struggling so much to make sure that we fight for the access.WADE WINGLER: Yeah. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been involved in bolting on assistive technology after the fact, and you are so right, that if it can be built into the design process, it almost always costs less and works better.BECCA KLOCKARS: And then it will be more universal design.WADE WINGLER: Exactly. Becca, I know you well enough to know that you are in this for the kids and for the people. Tell me a story. Tell me a story about some individual’s life who’s been impacted by assistive technology.BECCA KLOCKARS: I’ll take a recent one with the John Deere tractor. I have students that happen to be on the autism spectrum disorder or those with physical impairments. And one of the funniest things, when I first brought it in, here’s this big clunky truck with a big red switch on the dial, and I have one of my kids sitting in the driver seat. He’s going down, pushing that red button, going up and down the hallway, and he is in a pre-K classroom. I pass another classroom, and another student just looks at me, looks at his teacher, looks at me, and walks towards the truck. I ask him, do you want to go for a ride? He looks and says, cool! Looks at his teacher and says bye-bye and gets in the car. So it was just one of the often experiences that totally authenticated that language, like I want to be playing, let’s go. It was a lot of fun.WADE WINGLER: He was very clearly communicating his needs.BECCA KLOCKARS: Oh yeah. And wants. I want to drive that car now.WADE WINGLER: That’s great. Working in the field of assistive technology, you have to be informed and you had to stay up to date. I’m not trying to pander here because you and I both produce content on the Internet, but where do you go for information? Where do you go to find out what’s happening in the field and keep up with it?BECCA KLOCKARS: I definitely try to keep track on webinars, of course your podcast, the AT Tips cast is another one that I like to listen to just for educational, free, different types of techniques and web accessible materials, American Association of Occupational Therapy, RESNA, anything that I can possibly get my hands on come on constantly searching.WADE WINGLER: And you can never have too much information. The changes so quickly and the field is so broad.BECCA KLOCKARS: That is so true.WADE WINGLER: So tell me a little bit about OT Mommy Needs Her Coffee. Why did you do that? And what would people find there?BECCA KLOCKARS: Originally, it was just a venting. It was just about being home in the summer with my boys and the trials and tribulations that come along with two young boys and trying to find things to do to keep them occupied. And then it has just slowly evolved into tips and tricks of the trade, where I realize that if I can help more than one person with an idea that I might have had or used or found, then that’s great. There’s one more person and we’ll just spread the wealth from there.WADE WINGLER: If people want to talk with you, continue the conversation with you or check out your blog, what would you recommend in terms of contact information?BECCA KLOCKARS: You can always email me at [email protected], or you can visit the website at www.otmommy.blogspot.comWADE WINGLER: Becca Klockars is an occupational therapist and OT Mommy Needs Her Coffee author. Becca, thanks much for being on our show today.BECCA KLOCKARS: Thank you so much, Wade.WADE WINGLER: Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124. Looking for show notes from today’s show? Head on over to Shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana.last_img

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