Technology is challenging the way we look at: 1) knowledge; its creation, transfer methods, storage, and retrieval strategies – a great convergence of technology, academia, and library: 2) learning; how it happens for different kinds of learners; challenging the “stand and deliver” rote methodology; integrating the 3 R’s with the 4 C’s of 21st learning,”1. Creativity and Innovation 2. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving 3. Communication and Collaboration”. from The “Four Cs” of 21st Century Education by Adam Shames.
Our world has become an exciting a chaotic fluid mass which makes it a challenge to sort out what is helpful from the immense clutter of possibilities. I have worked at Landmark College, a small college in SE VT in a variety of tech and library positions for fifteen years. My favorite job was the first, a newly created job for the Center for Teaching and Learning in 1998, when we had a DOS email system, just converted to Windows 3 and a tiny network- there were only 2 people in the IT department (they were so overwhelmed that they rarely answered the phone or came out of their office. All faculty had laptops and there were several computer labs for the students. Most people used 3 1/2″ floppies to transfer data from one computer to another. There was a slight problem though when it came to technology- no one had answers for fairly simple technology issues like formatting MS Word, saving documents so they could be found later, and finding the disk. I had recently graduated from Mount Holyoke College as a Frances Perkins scholar and had the good fortune of working with PC machines so had some clues about solving some of the problems, but had a great curiosity about the “magic” of computer technology and determination to find answers to questions I didn’t know. It’s a good thing that the tech world, at least at Landmark College was relatively tiny then, so I could be of some help.
In the last decade the amount and formats of information has exploded as have the methods of its creation, storage, and retrieval. My first interest in assistive technology centered around students with print disabilities as I had years of experience of trying to find ways to help my youngest daughter who has dyslexia navigate a small rural public school in VT. The first versions of text to speech software were difficult to listen to, as were some of the audio books as they sounded robotic and couldn’t provide the “life” of the words so students could get through a textbook, but “reading” for pleasure was a joke. However, as the technology improved and free software started to appear, the possibilities for finding accessible text grew and could prove useful/helpful for students needing accommodations for print disabilities. In a short time I was overwhelmed with organizing the amazing sites I found and getting them posted in a timely manner. That continues to be a personal challenge especially since I found I was diverging from accommodations to free information and software that would help everyone to including information on universally designed education, teaching without a textbook, project based learning, collaborative learning, mobile and cloud technology. Initially some pages might be sparsely populated and/or not complete, as I still have several months of blog posts in my in box to sort out. The way things are moving, both globally and internally, I doubt that any pages will ever truly become “completed” so I welcome comments, updates, and suggestions. Thank you,
Alas, I am not a mac person so some software will not apply to that operating system; some times there is a short delay in freeware’s ability to adapt to a Windows update and since Windows 8 came out, I haven’t been able to vouch for everything working as advertised. ( I don’t yet have access to a Windows 8 machine so I can’t test things out.)
The information, any errors or incorrect interpretations on this blog represent my own thinking, concerns, hopes. Landmark College is not responsible for any statements and does not endorse any products.