2003 Conference Proceedings

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ACTIVE LEARNING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY - CREATING A TECHNOLOGY -INFUSED ENVIRONMENT TO ENGAGE DEAF STUDENTS IN THE LEARNING PROCESS

Presenter:
Linda Burik
Director of the Learning Center
Technology, Media and Library Services
Western PA School for the Deaf
300 East Swissvale Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
Phone: (412) 371-7000 x103
Email: lburik@wpsd.org

Wayne Kelly
Upper School Teacher
Western PA School for the Deaf
300 East Swissvale Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
Phone: (412) 371-7000
Email: wkelly@wpsd.org

Active Learning has long been considered a proven method in improving attention, motivation and retention of concepts taught in class. This is especially true for Deaf students and students with limited language proficiency because it facilitates the development of conceptual knowledge and acquisition of language through engaging in an activity. Engaging the students in the learning process during classroom instruction also enables the teacher to monitor student achievement and helps to keep the students focused and "on task".

Technology, when integrated into the classroom instruction, can not only facilitate the active learning process but also provide a stimulating visual learning experience. Technology infused classrooms have been designed at the Western PA School for the Deaf in Pittsburgh, PA to promote active learning and to integrate technology into the curriculum. Through the use of computers, interactive white boards and projection systems, the teacher can present content and meet curriculum objectives in all subject areas in an engaging and visual format. Staff computers in each classroom serve as both teacher workstations and presentation stations. Additional presentation equipment include SMARTboards, LCD projectors and document cameras. Laptop computers connected to the school's network via wireless technology allow the students to actively participate in classroom activities, and networking software gives the teacher the flexibility to control and display student computers during a lesson. A variety of software is used as part of the teaching process, including AppleWorks, Student Writing Center, Inspiration, PowerPoint and HyperStudio. Students use laptop computers to actively participate throughout the instruction by demonstrating comprehension of concepts and by expressing themselves in ongoing journals. In the presentation of content in all subject areas, the teacher uses the interactive pen features of the SMARTboard to highlight key concepts and clarify information. In Science, students also use probeware and scalar microscopes connected to the computers to record and analyze data. The students create spreadsheets, graphs, mind maps, outlines, time lines and multimedia projects and reports. Teachers use networking software to interact with the student computers, monitor individual work, and to control and display student screens.

The presentation will detail the physical layout and technology used in the newly renovated classrooms in the Math Science & Technology Center at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. Samples of presentation practices and classroom activities will be displayed through video clips. A demonstration of how the SMARTboard, laptop computers and networking software work together to promote active learning will show how technology can be used successfully to present content and meet curriculum objectives in all subject areas in an engaging and visual format.


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