2002 Conference Proceedings

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Intranet Accessibility Providing Special Needs Students and Professional Access To Computer Software Within A School District

Bill McAmis, M.S., M.C.D.
Bakersfield City School District
Bakersfield, CA

Networking of software by an intranet allows for decentralization of the service delivery model. By providing intranet accessibility in every classroom and office, this allows all students with or without handicapping conditions and professionals working with those students, easy accessibility and usage of software programs that are needed inn their daily routine.

Bakersfield City School District is the largest elementary school district in California. The current enrollment within the district is 28,230 students. This enrollment is comprised of 1,129 visually impaired students and 34 students with hearing impairments enrolled within the general education populous. The department of special education has 2,752 students receiving services. The student populous is comprised of: severe language disorder, autistic, deaf/blind, developmentally delayed, deaf, hard of hearing, learning disorder, multihandicapped, mild to profound retardation, other health impaired, orthopedically impaired, severely emotionally disturbed, speech and/or language impaired, traumatic brain injury, visually handicapped.

In order to address individuals with special needs within our school district, it was necessary for the development of a program which allows for adaptive technology support when working anywhere from within the district. A student can be mainstreamed from one class to another by simply going to the classroom and moving to the computer terminal. The teacher, aide, or peer tutor can assist with making accessible any keyboard, switch, or microphone that might be needed for computer usage by the individual. The students programs, along with their tracking data on percentages, is immediately accessible for the student and teacher.

Teachers and students have a range of pre-academic software to academics ( Orchard reading; Math Blaster; Pre-K-8; reading; writing; comprehension; science; vocational; phonics; etc.). Due to the numerous number of students that are bilingual, it was imperative that the software run in more than one language. Therefore, 85% of the software will run in English, Spanish, and French to accommodate those teachers who are teaching students whose primary language is not English.

Many teachers have a favorite as to software platform, Mac vs P.C. Both platforms can run from the same server allowing teachers the freedom for software implementation from a familiar platform and not placing a new factor in the learning curve by having the teacher learn a new system.

This session will focus on strategies: 1) implement a networking system within the educational setting; 2) pros and cons of networking; 3) accessibility issues; 4) network software demonstration with switching interfacing; 5) free domain software for public usage; 6) network support for AAC boards; 7) software access for professionals; 8) data tracking and collection systems; 9) question and answer session;

Auditory and visual stimulation should be a part of every student's education regardless of any disability no matter the severity, thus integrating into their daily lives and routines, the ever-changing technology and software and supporting those adjustments for growth and development.

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