Salaam! Namaste! Aadaab! Sasriyakal! (Peace & Greetings!)
Yes! this is the second-last “scheduled” blog post of mine (NOTE: if you did not already know this fact: we had a weekly blogging schedule! That is why we always recommend checking our new blog posts every day as it is constantly updated throughout the week by all 8 of us!). What this also means is that we are already in the Week: 8 of our iSTEP research internship here in the “cool beautiful green city of Bengaluru” (I realize that I use this phrase very often). I cannot believe (neither does our team believe) that only 13 more days remain before our internship comes to an end. Time just flies by so fast. Lately, all 8 of us have been very busy wrapping things up as efficiently and as effectively as possible. Anyways, in the midst of all these, a blog post describing my work is worthwhile. I hope you will enjoy reading my blog post.
I spent the first part of this week conducting thorough observations with my iSTEP teammate Avia at the Mathru Center for Differently-Abled. This time however, I video-recorded the observations and took several pictures of the class activities (ofcourse after seeking permission from teachers and students as per the IRB protocol). In addition to video recording, I transcribed the notes from the observation for our assessment team analysis. My observations, including the observations that our team has done over the past few weeks at his new Center, has been quite fruitful. They have helped us understand key areas where a technology intervention can be beneficial. At the Mathru Center for Differently-Abled, no technologies are currently used except for a computer lab that is used once in a while to train abled students from surrounding areas on how to operate computers. This training is free. There are no fees involved.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, we have noticed through our observations that the teachers at the Mathru School for Differently-Abled rely a lot on visuals to teach the hearing-impaired students. The case of Multisensory class is unique. In that, we have noticed the special educator has to be very creative in catering to the different educational needs of the students. The students in this classic case exhibit varying disabilities. Some of the conditions we have observed are deaf-blind, slow learner, mental retardation, cognitive disability, speech problem, autistic, and cerebral palsy. Our team has a good idea of what technologies can be incorporated for hearing-impaired students but trying to understand (and brainstorm) technologies for the Multisensory-disabled students is quite a complex task. Literature review over the past few weeks have given the team insights into the technologies that are already available for hearing-impaired students, but only few credible articles exist describing ways in which technology intervention has enhanced the education of Multisensory-disabled students. Through our observations, however, we see the use of technologies particularly those that appeal to our visual senses can be very beneficial in enhancing the learning outcomes of hearing-impaired students. For instance, some of the technological solutions we thought about include visual dictionary software or an automatic flash-card generating system that works on teacher inputs, and or a lesson planning software that assists teachers in planning lessons based on each student’s unique ability. We also feel there is a potential in using technolgy for educating Multisensory-disabled students. However, these technologies must suit the unique educational needs of MSI students. Indeed, we see a lot of potential in using assistive technology for education at the Mathru Center for Differently-Abled.
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog post. Stay tuned as we update you on our last 13 days of iSTEP here in the “cool beautiful green city of Bengaluru”. Lastly, if you are ever interested to participate in future iSTEP’s, just remember these three words that clearly signify what iSTEP experience is all about. They are creativity, patience, and determination! Why? Let me explain…
Creativity – to think “out-of-the-box” no matter how big or small the idea may first seem to be!
Patience – to expect the unexpected and to deal with it whole-heartedly!
Determination – to finish the job you were assigned to in a manner that exceeds the expectation!
Dhanya-Waad! Shukran! Nandri! Merci! (Thank-You!)