Arizona Department of Education
Assistive Technology Internship
My first week working as an intern for the Arizona Department of Education, Assistive Technology Internship has been extremely interesting and different. There were a number of personal adjustments I had to make, such as going to a consistent office location each day and having coworkers and a shared lunch space. Plus when you are working in an office you have to be more aware of your clothing rotations since you will be seeing the same people each day.
Having worked from home for the past almost 10 years I got accustomed to that routine. When I would leave for an appointment I would check the distance from my house and either take my own car or plan to go to Enterprise and get a rental on the way, hoping that I did not also have to make a hotel reservation due to the distance and travel time. Going to the same location daily is a new experience and while I enjoy it, it’s an adjustment.
The first day of the internship I went to Phoenix for the official Arizona Department of Education Intern Training. This was more an opportunity for a tour of the Phoenix capital buildings area and a convenient time for all of the interns to get their ID cards to allow access to the buildings. I also met Ann’s supervisor’s supervisor, Angie, and that was exciting.
The other two days this week I worked in Ann’s office, getting setup in the Tucson building, having my ID activated to let me into this building, and receiving a parking permit. There is still more Human Resource work and setup to be done, but I’m waiting to get a reply from HR before I can complete that and their online tests, such as Defensive Driving and Cultural Sensitivity (required initial trainings).
On Friday afternoon we went to a TUSD school down the street from the office where we got to work with a student. The teachers were looking for programs for recording the student’s thoughts, as his literacy and spelling is 5 grades below his current grade level for both. They already had Dragon dictate on a computer, and had experience with programs from Don Johnston, such as Co:writer on the computer They had difficulty using Siri on the student’s ipad. We looked at different options on the ipad together, and practiced using Siri with the teacher. We determined that most likely a lot of their problems could be helped by using the current technology more appropriately and with more training/practice. Siri tends to work well for dictation, but only when it is used correctly and with patience. Our other thought was that there was a good amount of confusion between what an ipad does as part of the apple operating system, and what apps do, and how both overlap. For example, a keyboard in an app is still probably using the apple ios defaut keyboard, as opposed to a different keyboard specific to that particular app.