2006 Conference General Sessions

COLLABORATING ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY WITH LANGUAGE ARTS, WHILE ADDRESSING ALL STUDENTS NEEDS

 

 

Presenter(s)

Steve Turner

Ventura College

4667 Telegraph Road

Ventura CA 93003

Day Phone: 805-654-6415

E-mail: sturner@vcccd.net

 

Presenter #2

Larry Faxla

Ventura College

4667 Telegraph Road

Ventura CA 93003

Day Phone: 805-654-6300

Email: lfaxla@aol.com

Ventura College Educational Assistance Center has provided a wide variety of learning skills classes and assistive computer technology classes integrating language arts.

 

A couple years ago, an experiment of blending writing classes with assistive computer technology classes took place to find the best of both worlds, bridging theory and practice. After several frustrating years of trying to prepare students to compete in mainstream English classes, Larry Falxa, Learning Disability Specialist at Ventura College, connected with the Assistive Computer Technology Specialist, Steve Turner, and brought about team taught writing and spelling classes. The dynamic framework rotates groups of students, who are at similar levels, through vocabulary and spelling skills, sentence structure, paragraph building, grammatical theory and essay writing. Then a comprehensive overview of basic assistive computer technology is presented in the context of various specific written assignments designed to bridge the transition from remediation to mainstream language arts expectations.

 

The course design is very flexible, allowing instructors to meet a variety of student needs. While all students discover how Inspiration 7.5 can transfer an outline template to Microsoft Word, many students can benefit from multi-sensory writing tools to work more efficiently. Specifically, Text Help Read and Write Gold or Kurzweil 3000 not only allows for word prediction and sentence structure, but also provides a valuable tool for proofreading. Additionally, Dragon Naturally Speaking has been beneficial in essay production, quality, and spelling improvement.

 

While increasing success rates for individuals transferring to mainstream English successfully is the main objective, there are tremendous other benefits that come from this collaboration. Each student orally presents their essay and becomes comfortable speaking in front of a group. The positive feedback from peers as well as instructors allows for informal networking and friendships to carry students throughout their educational and professional career. The use of volunteer and paid student workers within the educational framework also allows for many opportunities for individualized help as well as reinforcement of language skills for students at multiple levels.

 

Collaborating has taken hold in many aspects of Ventura College. Not only has technology in the classroom merged efforts throughout Disabled Students Program Services, but mainstream language arts have also integrated many assistive technology tools. Specifically, within the new Learning Resource Center, over 400 computers are available with many of the assistive software applications available. Additionally, the flexibility of various open Lab hours to enhance and remediate the students learning experience is extremely beneficial.

 

Overall, student services have been enhanced greatly by the partnership of learning skills theory and assistive computer technology. Developing new curriculum by the integration of assistive computer technology is underscored in all of campus development at Ventura College. The concept of Universal design, ongoing collaboration, and cross-disciplinary teaching enhances experience for students and instructors alike. The example of the new Learning Resource Center at Ventura College, where more then a hundred people over 10 years have participated in the planning, is a testament to VCs ideology that community college should really serve the entire community.

 

Length of the session will be approximately 30 minutes, and the area of focus will be Integrating and remediation of Post-secondary LD students with AT applications into mainstream classrooms.

 

Panel discussion will also include an overview of the VC program model. The intended audience will be targeted toward Intermediate AT users. The major disability group will be people with learning disabilities. However, this model serves all students with disabilities. LCD projector and smart/screen will be the only equipment required for this presentation. Alternative formats will be available upon request.


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