Blogging, traditional visuals, and assistive technologies

Most of my posts are coming from the writing I do for Walden right now, but this one includes some reflections from work as well.

How might some of the traditional visuals in chapter 10 enrich your ASSURE project? Which visuals might you use? (chapter 10)

My response to this question will be very like response earlier in the week. My ASSURE project is primarily web based (in the form of a blog), digital cameras will be the primary conduit for incorporating a variety of visuals into the instruction, especially in the later stages of the 10 hour course, when participants are creating their own blogs and sharing their own photos. As teachers themselves, the participants will be able to take pictures of their classes or their own instructional materials, which can then be included in their blogs (or Flickr archives, etc.).

However, attachments and hyperlinks will also provide important, and perhaps more often used, conduits to visual material, both during the early stages of instruction (when as instructor I will project designs and images from a wide variety of blogs and other read/write web sites) and during the exercises and final project (when participants may create charts and graphs to upload to their blogs, or may create links to additional visual material themselves.)

On another note, the "Technology for Diverse Learners" side bar at the top of page 254 caught my attention this week. It does not go into much detail, but talks about converting the text in a PowerPoint presentation into braille for visually impaired students. I spent much of the last month (since starting my new job at the county) coordinating an Assistive Technology Institute, which was hosted at the Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC, at the Goodwill in Santa Ana) on Friday night and at the county office on Saturday. Sadly, prior to this event, after several years in Ed Tech I knew very little about assistive technologies. I feel I’ve seen a bit of the tip of the iceberg at this point though.

In addition to a host of ATEC specialists in a vide variety of assistive technologies, I met Carol Ann McGuire, a teacher who teaches a k-6 combo of visually impaired students… and who showcased an iMovie created by her students! They wrote it, they filmed it, and they edited it… and they can’t see. It is an amazing story. One might wonder why they chose a visual medium, but the content of the film was showcasing their abilities (rather than their disabilities) and so was meant for a sighted audience like their parents, teachers, fellow students, and those of us at the institute this weekend.

If you’re interested in checking out the video the students made… a much abbreviated version can be found on Apple’s website at the following URL:

And, a brief video about the process can be found on the OCDE web site at the following URL:

(Click on the visual next to "Get a Clue! What we can do." This will take a moment to load.)

Also, if you are interested in the Assistive Technology Institute, which we have been calling the "first annual", check out the web page at the following URL:

Oh, and for those of you in the area that might be interested (since there are so few of these), here is the website of the Assitive Technology Exchange Center:

Anyway, putting on the conference was an amazing and eye-opening experience… and seeing something similar in our chapter on Visuals prompted me to share. I still wonder how you can convert the text in a PowerPoint Presentation into braille, though… :)


Smaldino, S., Russell, J., Heinich, R., Molenda, M. (2005). Instructional technology and media for learning. (Eighth ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall