This is me.....

I am a student in the College of Education at the University of South Alabama studying to become a collaborative special education teacher at middle or high school levels.
I am originally from Scotland and moved to Alabama to work at Camp ASSCA adapting activities for people with special needs in 1994. I have spent the past ten years working and traveling while putting my wife through school, and now have the opportunity to pursue a life long goal of becoming a special education teacher.
As a mature student that has been exposed to many cultures and views, I hope to expand the knowledge of students and develop a relationship with the community I work in. Having the ability to use and incorporate technology into my classroom will help me adapt instruction to suit the needs of every student. My goal is to focus on each child's ability and not there disability by making my classroom as universal and as enjoyable as possible. Below are some of the technology tools that I hope to incorporate into my lesson plan allowing students to connect with parents and the community.

Professional Development

A C C E S S distance learning logoClick HERE to go to A C C E S S main page and read more. It is my hope to become part of a community that promotes distance learning to students and teachers who are able to meet the goals and needs of every individual in my school. If there is a class that is not offered in the local community, I will work with students to help provide the class from a instructor that is suitable for their needs. I also plan on becoming part of the distance learning program by incorporating technology into my classroom and being part of a great resource that promotes learning in middle and high schools throughout Alabama.
The program can be used with Alabama Learners Exchange (ALEX) Click Alabama learners ExchangeHERE to read more about ALEX. ALEX allows me to develop lesson plans and incorporate the latest technology resources available from the State Department of Education to enhance the classroom that I will be teaching in. The sites are a great way to improve standardized testing scores, and keeping on track of your daily and weekly goals while developing a enjoyable learning environment. Although this is a great resource for special education- including gifted children- it is also a great way to help fund and bring technology into the school for all students and teachers to use.

Personal Learning Network

I am a firm believer in surrounding yourself with great people. As I develop, becoming a outstanding teacher and role model, one of the biggest assets that I will have is professionals who are able to come up with creative lesson plans, tried and tested methods or approaches, advise, and problem solving techniques.
Every teacher struggles with their first year to be prepared entering the classroom and veteran teachers and professionals are a major assistance that can be leaned on for support; I have a small reliable group of people locally, nationally, and internationally that I can help and be assisted by that will improve my classroom continuously.
I will become a better teacher quicker because of the resources that I have attained in college making me an asset to any school I enter. Students can relate to different cultures and ideas by contacting various teachers and their students all over the world and learning first hand what it is like for them. Appreciating what you have and the value of education, can only make a student a better member of our community. Connecting with people gives us a chance to show how wonderful our community is and accelerate learning and respect.


Blogging allows students to interact with people all over the world and messages are monitored by the teacher before they are posted. This creates a way of writing thoughts on a specific assignment and having other students read and comment on what has been written. Feedback from people all over the world in various classrooms can also be added and give children a global input and prospective that they will grow from. Imagine connecting with a class in Barcelona that is learning English as you learn Spanish. Using real life situations shows students what they are learning is important. Teacher's are in control of all comments and additions before allowing work to be viewed, meaning that connecting views from around the world can inspire or facilitate learning safely.

As a teacher this is a great way to have children work on an essay or subject throughout the year because the blog is not final and can be revised at any time. Blogging actually saves time and paper work for teachers and schools because the feedback is done by other people that you can easily and quickly monitor.

Google Docs

Google Docs is a free service from Google that allows users to make word documents, presentations, quizzes, presentations, translations, tables, and spreadsheets without ever needing to remember were they are. Google stores all documents and saves them automatically for you meaning that you can go to class fully prepared without forgetting any materials. The application also allows you to edit anytime so that you can improve and store lessons for each year without the need of paper of equipment.
One of the greatest features is the ability to share a document and have a group work on it from anywhere. Although changes can be made to any document by any group member that you wish to have editing ability, the project will also have a history; history feature in Google docs allows you to recover a project at any point if you want to. Google docs is a great tool for accomplishing group projects, or if someone is absent due to illness, because it is a safe way to brainstorm and explore new avenues without loosing focus or past direction.
Enter a Google account name and password and you can get started. Google docs works similar to email automatically saving material that you can view from any computer in the world at anytime with the right password and email address. Simple and private and extremely useful.

Streaming allows access to any event and improves learning.

Streaming is a way to record an event using a web cam or video camera. Parents, children, or anyone needing or wanting access to what is happening in their child's school can view specific days or events at the discretion of the teacher. Privacy is an important aspect to streaming and teacher's can allow access to anyone they choose or no-one.
This means that you can send parents positive feedback on what their child is doing and build trust and encouragement between schools and homes. Trust and encouragement are vital in a students success and will also help prevent Due Process hearings; streaming also serves well for I.E.P. meetings because you can have visual conformation of the child's ability, and prevent unneeded paper work or example testing to be performed. Streaming helps ensure that appropriate education is realistic and helps negate any disputes.

As a teacher streaming allows me to critique my lesson and the way I performed so that I can make adjustments and improve over a much shorter time. Feedback is a important part of developing professionally as a teacher and applications like Ustream allows secure free ways to receive daily feedback.
Schools benefit from having basketball games and any other activities streamed live onto the school web page for free. This might allow parents with disabilities, or that are at work, to view their child's performance.

Screen Capture builds confidence.

Screen capturing a presentation and making it into a movie is a great way to encourage confidence and learning in anyone. Screen capture allows children to make a presentation and edit the audio and visual components anytime without anxiety or accommodations. Students and teachers can create a demonstration on any subject and record in privacy until they produce their best work; showing a class and parents what they achieved in school brings confidence and a will to learn that children otherwise might miss out on.
As a teacher screen capturing is almost like having an aid in the class because I can record a lesson, or small part of the lesson, and be able to assist each student in the class to achieve the goal of the lesson. Using free applications like Google and Screen Toaster means student can access the material from any computer and work on the presentation at their own pace. Screen capturing promotes creativity and inspires people to learn by doing and not just being lectured. Screen capture allows visual learning, speech, and drama to be taught at the same time and can be made private or public. Screen capturing great tool for getting parents and community involved in their child's education.