This week was another TLC Grant Team Training in Phoenix. Due to scheduling and time commitments, I only attended the Wednesday session of the TLC training. It was interesting and discussed reading and literacy strategies, but much of the information presented was older and less current or novel. It was still interesting to listen to, but I did not get as much out of it since it was consistent with what I’ve been learning already in my classes and in my Internship.
The larger part of the day for me was after lunch, where all of the members of the ADE ESS AT team (including myself) took small rotating groups and demonstrated different programs or techniques related to literacy and reading. I was asked to show how to scan documents using an ipad and a “scanning station” (cardboard election sign with a plexiglass top, so the person holding the ipad didn’t move when taking a picture of the document). Afterwards we changed the image into text using OCR (optical character recognition) within the scanning program. There are many, many apps that can do this. Next we loaded the information into Voice Dream reader and looked at different ways to view the same text and have it read aloud. I had to do the presentation 6 times, so it got smoother as the groups progressed. I believe everyone was pleased and everything went well.
With that said, I have to comment on the setup used to show all of this information to the groups. I had the scanning station setup 15 feet away from the computer projector. As it was too far away and I did not have the appropriate cables, we “projected” the ipad screen onto the computer which was hooked up to the projector using wifi. Naturally the wifi signal was weak, so we had a mobile hotspot that boosted the signal to keep a consistent image. I did not dare push my luck and use the internet during my presentations.The sound had to be amplified since I was demonstrating a screen readaer, but thankfully I had a bluetooth speaker in the car. That was hooked into the computer projecting the image, as sound and image were being sent over together from the ipad and there was no way to split that without losing the connection.
I realize that sounds confusing and it really was. But it was an interesting work around to get the desired results, and I could see using the same setup in a classroom one day, at least as a backup if there is not a way to directly connected everything together with cables.
The other fun event for the week was a “Crazy for Chrome” presentation with the Catalina Foothills District at Orange Grove Middle School. This went really well, although internet problems are consistently the concern. Everything went really well and Ann showed them a number of different extensions and apps that can be used within the Google Chrome browser to help students with reading, literacy, screen reading, and other shortcuts and ways to simplify or make the content more approachable to the targeted students.
Reading and Literacy
For example: karaoke highlights text well and encourages involvement. The speaker then asked everyone to join in for the song, YMCA. A well known song, but most people do not know the full lyrics.