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Lynn Andres

Adaptive Technology Equipment
Year One

Description: Slide showing title: TIMAC, Lynn Andres, Orange Grove Adult School, San Juan USD, Adults with Disabilities, Generation 3, 2006

Next slide shows a photo of the student council standing in front of the school. The bullet points are:

  • The Orange Grove onsite program serves 200 students ages 22 – 76 whose primary challenge is mental retardation
  • Orange Grove also has six satellite programs in partnership with Easter Seals and United Cerebral Palsy Association which serves another 250 students

Lynn is a middle aged woman with short gray hair. She is wearing a brown and green print dress, gold necklace, and eyeglasses. She is standing at the microphone watching her presentation on her laptop as it is projected on the screen.

Lynn Andres: I teach at Orange Grove Adult School here in Sacramento. It's a program for adults with disabilities. Our, we have a really nice campus. It's a former elementary school. We have, on, on site, 200 students and ages range, right now, I think, between 22 and 76. And our students have mental retardation anywhere between profound and very mild disabilities.

And then we also have satellite programs. These are teachers, they're off site, it's in partnership; they'll be at an Easter Seals or an United Cerebral Palsy program some place and I did that for one year, like 30 years ago, and I empathize with these people. They're out there all by themselves, disconnected really from adult ed and what's happening and that's the group I wanted to work with because on campus we have 12 teachers; you know, we can pass each other, you know we have our program runs from nine to three, we can pass each other in the hallway, we can, you know, grab some lunch together, we can collaborate.

But the offsite teachers, you know, they're out there by themselves trying to make it work.

Description: Slide shows a photo of students working at computers and examples of their artwork. There are drawings of a pumpkin, a bride and groom, Frankenstein, a snowman, a purple bear's head, Artest 93, and others. The text reads: Students who have disabilities can learn to use a computer to enhance basic education skills, communicate effectively, and make productive us of leisure time. They improve their skills in the areas of staying on task, following directions, and eye-hand coordination. Most importantly, they gain a sense of mastery, pride, and self-esteem as they use resources and technology.

Lynn: And I'm very fortunate, at this point, I have a classroom in the afternoon; it's a computer lab. When I first started, my principal said when I first started working with technology, my principal said, "Lynn, I'd like you to start teaching some computer classes and I'd like you to set up a computer lab, but I don't have any computers and we don't have any software."

Description: Lynn and the audience laugh and she continues.

Lynn: And I said okay but, you know, we he started, I had him email, send out these general emails out to the district and people started pulling all these old Macs out of their closets and saying, "Oh good, let's get rid of this and let's get rid of that." So I had this funky lab. We weren't networked or anything or connected cuz I had like Macs with five different operating systems and some Apple IIEs and some really old Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 computers.

But, a few years ago, we had an opportunity to inherit computers from a program. It was high school students to keep them from dropping out. It was their computers they used in their homes to do some distance learning; and we got those all networked together and with 26 computers all on the Internet and everything. So in the afternoon, I teach a computer art class. I teach basic computer skills and I teach computer math and money. And you can probably tell which class I like the best (as she's looking up at the projection screen – same slide is shown again). It's computer art; these are all artwork that my students did. And I was an arts and crafts teacher for 20 years. I've only been in the technology thing for 10 years, so I kinda got dragged into it but I'm enjoying it. And I enjoy teaching computers. My students love it. Behavior problems are pretty much taken of, you know, I can, cuz I can, they want to work on the computers and I can use that to get things accomplished.

And once the students have the basic capabilities, you know, down some basic computer skills, using the mouse, using the keyboard, there's all sorts of things you can do.

Description: Slide showing a list of possibilities. They are:

  • Weekly newsletter
  • Campaign poster for student council elections
  • School yearbook
  • Creative writing class with special publication
  • Computer are (calendars, cards, t-shirts)
  • Practice and improve basic education skills

Different computer graphics are shown – one alone, one with a writing instrument and one with a paintbrush.

Lynn: We have a teacher who produces a weekly newsletter that we go out, we send home with all 200 of our students every week. And the students go round and they collect information and they bring it back and they put it all together. Back on the first slide you saw a picture of our student council. Next week we have our nominating convention. The students will campaign. They will be elected by their peers. And they can make their campaign posters on the computer using the digital camera to get their pictures and do some simple graphics work. We have a school yearbook that is published every year. Students use the computer, take pictures with the digital camera and everything, and get all that together. We have some creative writing classes now. I do the computer art too as well as practice and improve basic education.

Description: Next slide shows computer access for students with severe/multiple disabilities. There are four photos of students with differing disabilities – one with Down Syndrome, one in a wheelchair with Cerebral Palsy, one who is blind, and one with mental retardation.

Lynn: I got started in this working in a homeroom classroom of 14 adults with severe, multiple disabilities. And I thought, I'd been teaching arts and crafts all this time, what am I gonna do with this group? And they had a couple of computers in there so I figured out how to work them and then I started thinking, well, they didn't really have access to the computers so I started teaching myself about touch windows, about switches. This is an adaptive keyboard that has a Braille overlay because this student is blind and she's using a word processing program that speaks so she can get the feedback right away from pressing her Braille letters.

Description: She points to the lower left photo, which shows a blind girl working on the computer with the Braille reader. Then she points to the lower right picture of a girl with cerebral palsy using the adaptive keyboard.

Lynn: Big keys keyboards – they have nice big graphics for people with limited vision. Also there's a nice heavy-duty clear key guard they goes on top so people who have cerebral palsy. They have a place to rest their hand as they seek out the individual keys because that's a problem. They'll try to hit a key and they're hitting five or six keys at a time. So that's how I started, is working with this group and they taught me a lot about, you know, what their needs were to be able to use computer and software. And then I kinda graduated to doing the thing with my other students in setting up a computer lab.

Description: Slide shows a young woman wearing a yellow shirt sitting at a computer. The title of the slide is Alexis: Ace-It II with a secondary title of Easter Seal Society. The bullet points are:

  • Ace-It II is one of Orange Grove's satellite programs in Partnership with the Easter Seals Society
  • Ace-It II serves 45 adults with disabilities

Requested assistance and advice for:

  1. Troubleshooting both Mac and Windows computers
  2. Additional Mac computer and printer
  3. Software
  4. Adaptive access
  5. Setting up and running Easter Seal's "Internet Café"

Lynn: So Alexis is out at Ace-It II program. It's the Easter Seals program and it serves 45 adults. She sees the value of working with computers with students but, there's the whole thing again of, where do you get the computers? Where do you get the software? How do you find space to set it up? Adaptive access again, for some students. And Easter Seals has a plan to set up an Internet Café at this site. It was supposed to be in place in January (laughing) but there were a lot of setbacks and it's still not in place. And I just got something from her and it may take a while again. She wanted just assistance getting some computers set up and some help having students work on computers.

Description: Slide shows another young woman wearing a blue top also sitting at a computer. The title of the slide is: Diane, SAAGE, United Cerebral Palsy. The bullet points are:

  • United Cerebral Palsy's South Area Adult Growth Experience Program serves 60 students

Needs assistance and advice for:

  1. troubleshooting old Windows computer
  2. making computers accessible for students with limited skills
  3. software that would meet the interests and capabilities of her students

Lynn: And then Diane works at the South Area Adult Growth Experience program which serves 60 students. And these students, in general, they are more severely challenged and have more severe behavior problems than the general student you would find at Orange Grove. And she works with a lot of UCP employees called community integration assistants. And they don't have a lot of computer literacy or skills so she had a bunch of old Windows computers and she had a whole list of why they didn't work and she wanted to make computers accessible for her students. Again, so touch windows or cause and effect type software. And you also want things available that are gonna capture the interest of the students.

Description: Slide shows another young woman wearing shorts and a t-shirt stooping in front of a cabinet of classroom materials. There are also photos of old computers, cables, computer parts, and peripherals. The title of the slide is: Terri: New Teacher at Orange Grove. The bullet points are:

  • Terri wanted to be a mentee so that she wouldn't feel guilty about calling me for help
  • She inherited a room that another teacher had occupied for almost 20 years. It was bursting at the seams with old software, computer parts, cables, peripheral, etc.

Needs assistance and advice for:

  1. sorting through all this stuff and help in making sure that it gets to someone who can use it or goes to surplus
  2. trouble-shooting computers and network issues

Lynn: And then Terri, I didn't think Terry really needed me as a mentor but she heard about this and she said, "Well, if you're mentoring me then I call you for help. You have to help me." And I go, "Well, I would help you anyway." But, you know, she had some needs. She just wanted to feel more secure. She's a brand new teacher at Orange Grove and she's doing a great job. But she inherited this classroom that another teacher had had for 20 years. And you know how it is when you get things, and you think well I don't know, maybe I shouldn't get rid of this yet or maybe I'll figure out how to use this.

So this room is crammed with old software, computer parts, cables, peripherals, you know, Macs, Windows, anything. And she's been there almost a whole year now, and she's kinda figured out her direction and what she's gonna be doing and she kinda knows what she wants to work with.

So she had all this, just junk, all over. Junk to her – and she wasn't a Mac person either. And so, I've helped her sort through all that stuff and I know what's going to be useful so I'm kind of filtering through it and getting it out to people that can use it rather than just dumping it in the dumpster or giving it to the district to put in surplus. And I've enlisted another teacher. Instead of taking these computers and just passing them on to the next person, you deal with whatever problems or fix what problems they have, cuz they're used and passed on to us for a reason – cuz people can't get them to work . I'm having another teacher redo the operating systems before I pass them on so that they're less likely to have problems.

Description: Next slide shows a list of goals. They are:

  • Advise and assist Diane in setting up a small accessible computer lab for severe/multiply disabled adults at UCP SAAGE program
  • Advise and assist Alexis set up and "Internet Café" at the Easter Seals Ace-It II program
  • Help Terri clear out the "technology junkyard" in her classroom and troubleshoot network and computer issues
  • Establish a Yahoo! Group Web site to improve communication and collaboration among Orange Grove and satellite program teachers

Lynn: So both Diane and Alexis, they just wanted help setting up something to get their students going. And they weren't sure where to start or what to do. And like Terri, she just wanted to get rid of her technology junkyard. And another thing, I'd never seen Yahoo! Groups or anything like that or how it could be used until I started with TIMAC. And I thought, "Oh, that would be great!" for our teachers to be able to collaborate and communicate. And collaboration is starting to be a big thing in the San Juan District and I wanted to maximize that.

Description: Twilight Zone music with next slide – audience laughs. The slide shows a graphic of a woman pulling her hair out and an ancient fried computer and keyboard. "Challenges" is the title and the bullet points are:

  • Scary, old, used computers
  • Time and distance
  • Technophobia

Lynn: So Alexis and Diane, they had the scary, old computers that we had gotten as old computers and gotten rid of. So like, they're third or fourth generation, just passing along those old things and they didn't know what do I do with them if they're having problems; what do I do, chuck the whole thing? And they were very unsure of their own skills and we as teachers have so much to do, if there's something over here that's a little challenging, it's gonna get put on the back burner and never get dealt with.

And also, time and distance. If I went out to their programs because their program and my program are open at the same time and running, I had to take time away from my students. You know, Alexis was, she's about 20 minutes, east, northeast of us, and Diane is about 20 minutes southwest of us, so it's like getting out to people and being able to meet with people was a challenge.

Description: Someone says something in the background and Lynn responds, "Oh my God", laughing. Next slide shows a photo of Lynn's car loaded with computer equipment and software, entitled "What Did I Do?" The bullet points are:

  • Surveyed mentees about what they felt heir greatest technology needs were
  • Once the cabinet full of software, cables, and miscellaneous hardware was removed from Terri's classroom, I sorted through it and pulled out the software that I thought would be good for Alexis and Diane.
  • Alexis and Diane came to Orange Grove and chose the surplus software that they felt their classrooms could use. I shared some handouts that I had on Microsoft Word toolbar, Internet Explorer, toolbar, how to do ScanDisk and Defrag, etc.
  • I traveled to both Alexis' and Diane's sites two times each. I met their students, did trouble-shooting on their computers, and installed educational freeware.
  • I brought Alexis a Mac and printer and set them up for her. Later, then one of Alexis' original Macs died, I located another surplus Mac at D.O. (thanks, Terri), arranged to have a colleague reformat the hard drive. I also gave Alexis an extra "Mac for Dummies" book that I had.
  • I told Diane about a Sacramento Association for the Retarded grant and advised her about adaptive input devices and software for making communication boards.

Lynn: Okay, what did I do? Well, I got out to them and I got them lots of some software, some stuff they could use; some computers they could use. I took out my old Norton utilities disk and got some of their computers going. They came and met with me and we sorted through software and got them some things. I have a whole collection of freeware also, that I got to them. This is my van that I packed with all sorts of stuff and took it out to them.

And I told Diane about a grant and that was offered by the Sacramento Association for the Retarded and she hates computers put she likes to write grants so she's got that. She asked for the moon. I bet she does get it too. So, I can't wait to see how that goes.

Description: Next slide shows a bulleted list of Lynn's follow up. The bullet points are:

Diane at SAAGE reports:

  • We have gone from one staff using the computer lab to five or six. The students are using it every afternoon, when it was only being used at random before. I have the grant ready to sent the SAR and have been in contact with them several times to make sure I've done everything right. I hope I get it. I did get the software you recommended I order through San Juan and expect it any day. Overall, we have improved but do have a way to go. Thanks for all your support. I will let you know when the stuff gets here and ask for help then. I will need it.

Alexis at Ace-It II reports:

  • It has been crazy around here with the computer lab. Teresa, the person who is in charge of the Easter Seals computers, was not happy to find the Mac's in the lab. I explained that I would maintain these computers and that I wanted computers that the students could access. Currently, the students are not allowed access to one of the two ES computers and they really are not supposed to be on the other. I have been told that ES is in the process of getting a few more computers either by purchase or writing a grant (how long will that take?) but in the meantime, the students should have some computer access. I am planning to talk to the Program Director here and see what she has to offer in the way of how we can set up computers for students to use. Again, I want to thank you for all of your help.

Terri at Orange Grove reports:

  • I just wanted to say thanks for helping me get my Journalism room all set up this year. When I got here, I had to deal with using student computers because the staff computer was a Mac. I kept having all sorts of problems with getting the Weekly Planet out because of the limits I had with using the student computers. When I finally got my PC staff computer, you helped my find solutions. You also were a great help in getting all the computer "clutter" out of my new classroom! For that I am forever grateful.

Lynn: And, I did a follow-up about how are they doing. Diane says that at their program they're using those computers. They got 'em going and they're using them more with students and she expects to hear any day about her grant and then she wants me to come back out there and help her set up all that assistive technology.

Alexis is getting a setback from Easter Seals because they're not using the little space. They finally got into the space they were gonna use as this little Internet Café and she just set up some Macs in there for students to work on and the this lady that was, I guess, in charge of the technology for all of Easter Seals was upset about that for some reason. Even though that room's not being used, we can always take those computers back out.

And Terri's just glad to get all that junk out of her room.

I set up a Yahoo! Groups and that took a while to get everyone started. I did a presentation at CCAE, "How to Find and Download Free Educational Software for Your Adult with Disabilities Classroom".

Porky Pig: That's a, that's a, all folks! (Laughter and applause). The last slide shows students holding up a sign that says FINISH with two checkered racing flags on either side.