I had the wonderful opportunity to lead the discussion in my ED 7724 Adaptive Technology course. When we had the chance to sign up for the week we wanted to lead the discussion, I purposely selected this week because of the topic of adaptive technology to assist those with a mobility disability. Both my father-in-law and grandmother-in-law both rely on a wheelchair for their mobility. Recently my mother-in-law had an accident as well and had to rely on wheelchair for a few months until she was able to walk again. With that being said, I felt as if I knew everything there was to know about mobility adaptive technology. Boy was I wrong!
After I finished the assigned readings I immediately went to my in-law's house to investigate the type of wheelchairs that they use. I never realized the variety of wheelchairs that were available and the different specifications of each wheelchair. The technical portion of the readings this week was definitely a learning experience.
At first I was a little stumped on what I should have my fellow colleagues reflect on in regard to the readings. I wanted the prompt to not be as technical as having them list different type of mobility devices. My intention was for them to look at their own lives and the lives of students who have mobility disabilities. Although we are all fortunate enough to not have mobility disabilities, we do never know what tomorrow may bring and should always be prepared for anything. Semper Paratus! (Coast Guard motto meaning always prepared)
For the first prompt I asked my colleagues to look at their daily lives and see what challenges they would face if they had a mobility disability and required the use of a wheelchair. I cannot being to express how impressed I was with the responses. The amount of reflection from each of my peers was amazing! The details that they provided and the challenges that they addressed were fascinating. What I particularly liked as well was the fact that when a challenge was discussed there was always a possible solution to address the challenge. By them addressing the challenges, I could see that they understood the complexity of the issue and how it could impact their own lives.
For the second prompt I wanted them to take it a step further and put on their teacher hats by having them address challenges that they might see in their own classrooms or schools. I knew that there are individuals without classrooms and I hoped that they would adopt a room for this assignment. Again I was truly impressed by the extensive responses and the detail that went into their reflections. Our cohort is a very smart group of educators, but it was after this week's reflections that I could clearly see that I work with some of the best teachers and educators. The attention to detail that was addressed in each posts about the challenges that would exist and the recommendations and changes that would need to made provided me with the evidence to see that we are ready to address these issues if we were faced with them tomorrow in our classrooms.
I would like to thank my fellow classmates for sharing their personal insights and stories this week. I agree with our professor when he stated that this week's discussion generated emotional introspection. Although it was not my intention, I appreciate every one's willingness to address an issue that required us to answer a what if type of scenario and how it would change what we are all used to in our lives now.