Sunday, July 20, 2014

Statewide Convention of Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing - Texas

Just arrived in beautiful San Antonio, Texas.  It was just a short drive for me, as I live in Austin, but many educators and parents are traveling from all over the state of Texas to attend this bi-yearly conference.  I am looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones, all in the name of quality education for deaf/hh students.  I will be publishing this blog entry in bits, as the conference goes along, so if you want to ask any questions or make comments along the way, please do!  The conference web site is:  http://swced.org.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Whiteboards!!!

I love whiteboards....interactive, individual....it really doesn't matter.  What is it about whiteboards that makes them so intriguing?

Individual white boards (the physical pieces of board students hold and write on with dry erase markers) - the best low- (really non-) technical items in my classroom.  Every student is engaged and working when they have the white boards in their hands.  (Except for the student drawing stick figures, but we are working on that).  Visually, I can easily see their work as I walk around the room....do they understand the steps to find the median of a data set?  Can they solve for x in a one step equation?  I can see it in real time, and suggestion corrections if necessary.   This week some of my students got creative and started writing the final answer in words ("seven" instead of "7") or writing the numbers backwards or in mirror form - very clever!

Another great idea that is low tech, but involves bigger whiteboards, is found in a college classroom. My colleague Carol M. is an associate professor of statistics at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and her students work in cooperative learning groups on large whiteboards around the perimeter of the classroom.  Some of her students are deaf or hard-of-hearing, and some are hearing, and the white boards provide communication access for everyone.  Have a look here for more specifics on how her students work successfully to learn statistics on whiteboards.

Of course, on the technological side, I also love my ActivBoard - an interactive whiteboard that hooks up to the laptop and projector.  I use flipcharts I have made on the accompanying software, or flipcharts I can download from the website prometheanplanet.com.


One more kind of whiteboard...an interactive whiteboard - my favorite app this year is "Explain Everything."  This is an app for the iPad that allows you to write math equations with steps (or whatever you want to write) along with video or photos to enhance the explanation.  The students enjoy the creativity in this kind of work, and it gives me a clear picture of whether they understand the concept at hand or not.  To see a student example of using the app "Explain Everything" click here. (Challenge:  find the mistake in the ASL, related to division :)

So, whiteboards abound!  Find one and try it out today...whatever your level of technological expertise!