Although I have worked in a mainstream school with a group of special learners, this is my first experience in a dedicated special needs environment. Students have varying needs from low to high. The challenge for me is to integrate my new found skills to enhance students learning. I love wikis, blogs, del.ic.ious, twitter and all the resources I come across via my educational networks which totally enrich learning. My head becomes full with ideas and the potential of all these tools. However, I am keeping in mind the wise words that I have heard from my teaching buddies (online): to take baby steps!
My first baby step: to get a computer facility up and running. This felt like a huge endeavour. I wanted a working space with about five computers. My goal was to run a technology class for seniors. It involved borrowing tables from other rooms, sourcing unused computers within the school, putting them together, and the frustration of realising some of them were so old, had no operating systems on, were blocked for use and so on … It took weeks. As most other schools would have experienced, having computers in the school is not enough, it requires a team effort between teachers, administrators and the powers that be to get them up and running to standard.
My second baby step is to introduce unitiated teachers to wikis, the special needs resources wiki I have put together for their use and samples of what other students in schools are doing such as Anne’s ejourney with technokids. My third baby step is to introduce the idea of senior students being involved in preparing their own digital portfolios, hopfully as a blog.