Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Episode 19 (Special Education and Universal Design for Learning) is Online!

Well, just in time for the end of the month or the beginning of the month, depending on how you look at it, here's the new episode!

Special Education and Universal Design for Learning. I've always had tremendous respect for those who work in special education. My mother was a speech therapist in the schools and I remember back in the 70s visiting the special education classrooms with her. Even as young as I was, it was obvious to me how challenging the work must be at times, and how dedicated the teachers were. So I'm glad to have the opportunity to focus on this topic with Episode 19's interview with Daniel McNulty (and I plan to return to it). I had heard a bit about Universal Design for Learning from my colleague Seak-Zoon Roh--here's an article (in PDF) from him about UDL and designing accessible websites--but this discussion really clarified things for me--and hopefully will do so for listeners who are new to the model.
The basic idea, if I've got it right, is to make instructional designs that work for all learners, and thus the kids with special needs are covered. If you want to continue to explore the concept, please visit the PATINS Project site. Discussions about the topic can be found at the
Closing the Gap Forum. The AT TechNET @ VCU: Assistive Technology Blog has quite a few interesting resources in this area for you to check out.

Technical Notes. The new version of Rogue Amoeba's Audio Hijack Pro certainly made the job easier this time. It now automatically records both sides of the conversation. I guess I should have been closer to the Snowball microphone when I spoke, because my audio was a little quieter than Daniel's side, but a tweak of the balance knob in Garageband fixed that. If you downloaded the episode early on Wednesday, you may want to download it again, since I didn't realize the imbalance at first. Or you can just adjust the balance on your computer, CD player, iPod, etc. I'm going to try out their new Fission program, to master an audio cd. Hopefully, it will serve as a cheaper alternative to Bias Peak LE, and have more features than the free Audacity.

Free Music for IU students! Even though it's not Mac or iPod-compatible, I do feel like I should mention that IU students, including my online students, can download free music from Ruckus! It is far from perfect, and I suspect an hour with it will send most people running back to iTunes, but if you have the time, what the hey... (Okay, I can't resist some quick complaints: not Mac/iPod compatible, loads of ads, not all albums are complete, requires its own player, etc.)

Enjoy Episode 19! Thanks again to Richard Owens for the fine music he provided!


Friday, February 16, 2007

Episode 19 Preview!

Episode 19 Guest Announced!

Could it be that time again? I have arranged for another interesting interview for the next episode of "Teach with Tech." This time, the discussion will focus on how students with special needs are using today's technology.

Daniel McNulty will be joining me for Episode 19. Daniel has led the Universal Design for Learning Pilot Site effort as a special education teacher at Frontier Elementary for the past three years and now works with PATINS (Promoting Achievement through Technology and INstruction for all Students) as the NE Indiana Regional Site Coordinator. He maintains a current teaching license in K-12 Moderate-Severe Disabilities Special Education. Daniel received his undergraduate degree from Purdue University in special education and will soon finish his Masters Degree work at Purdue University, also in special education with an emphasis on leadership development, instructional technology and applied behavior analysis. This past April, Daniel was the recipient of the Distinguished Education Alumni Young Educator Award from Purdue University. With the PATINS-Project, Daniel houses and maintains a lending library of nearly 800 pieces of software and equipment available to teachers and therapists. He also hosts training workshops and seminars, provides technical support and supports the Universal Design for Learning Pilot schools in the NE region of Indiana. I'm really looking forward to our discussion!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

News Update!

The Ides of February

Tomorrow is February 15th, which is the deadline for presentation proposals for the Association of Educational Communication and Technology's conference in Anaheim this October. I've presented at this conference for years, and am looking forward to it. Have turned in two proposals. One is on "Learning through Podcasting: Student-Created Podcasts." The other, with my colleague Mark Millard, is "Web 2.0 for Educators: We (and Our Students) are the Web." Hopefully, both will be accepted! Hopefully, you can attend AECT (right next door to Disneyland--Bring the Fam!) and hear what we have to say.

February 15th is also the opening day for presentations to the International Student Media Festival, also in Anaheim in October. As I've mentioned previously, I will be helping out again with the festival. I will be teaching a new class for the ISMF, about podcasting. We will also have a new category, for student-created podcasts. So if your students have or will be creating their own podcasts (or other media type), consider submitting it!

The next episode of "Teach with Tech" is in the planning stages, and I'm eagerly looking forward to the recording session. It will be about technology and special education, something that I haven't dealt with yet in the series. I look forward to finding out more about the state of the art in the area.