Archive for September 2, 2010
I’ve always thought that computing educators should be at the cutting edge of the use of technology for all forms of education, including adaptations for students with disabled. We have the most flexible medium for teaching and for teaching about — we teach about computation using computation. Richard Ladner is a world-leader in making CS accessible to disabled students, and his NSF BPC Alliance on AccessComputing provides resources to help with that adaptation. I’d love to see more computer scientists building technologies to help us teach computing to more people and better.
Assistive technologies can include anything from electronic tools for time and materials management; hearing aids and amplification devices for those who are hearing impaired; glare-reduction screens, note-taking devices and screen magnifiers for visually impaired students; voice-recognition software that can turn the spoken work into type on a computer screen so students suffering from paralysis may take part in discussion. Technology is even advancing so much that severely disabled students can now control their computers by simply following letters and commands on the computer screen with their eyes. The term “eye tracking”, the process of measuring either the point of gaze (“where we are looking”) or the motion of an eye relative to the head has gained a strong presence when discussing applications of assistive technologies.
New study shows that people who switch into teaching in the middle of some other career, don’t often work out. We definitely see some of these problems among people who switch into teaching CS from an IT career. Sometimes they do it because it’s a second or third choice, and they’re not too happy about it.
Many people assumed that mid-career job changers would prove the salvation of public education by bringing their content expertise and successful work experience with them.
It turns out that many have neither expertise nor great success.
“When we looked at these alternative or lateral entry teachers, many of them were quite young and were simply frustrated in getting a job in their chosen profession,” said Gary Henry, director of the UNC Carolina Institute for Public Policy. “The folks switching from high-performing private sector jobs are a very small minority.