Now that I’m into the second week of my alternative practicum, I thought it would be a good idea to make a quick post detailing what I’ve been up to so far. I am currently completing my alternative practicum with my local Learning Disabilities Association branch, working in their assistive technology program. Assistive technology (according to an article on understood.org) refers to any form of technology that can help a student with a learning disabilities work with or around his or her challenges in order to succeed at school. This includes a wide variety of tools, devices, apps, and special software programs, however, not all forms of assistive technology require complex technological systems.
So far in my placement, I have spent a great deal of time learning about the various types of learning disabilities that children can experience, and I have also been getting acquainted with some of the assistive technology options that are offered by the Learning Disabilities Association. I have written how-to guides and product descriptions for two kinds of Smartpen devices by Livescribe (including the Echo model and the new Livescribe 3 pen, which I will discuss in another post), and this week, I am focusing my attention on some of the built-in tools and apps on both Windows and Mac computers that learners can take advantage of. As a whole, the past two weeks have been incredibly informative for me. Not only am I learning a great deal about supports for students with special needs, but I am also able to make a difference in a very small organization who, in my opinion, is doing fantastic work. Knowing that the documents I’m currently producing may be helping students, teachers, and/or parents who are looking for tools that will increase feelings of accomplishment and decrease their feelings of frustration is incredibly rewarding, and I am excited to see what the second half of my alternative practicum block has in store.