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Monday, September 04, 2006


I have been thinking about an idea of what I would like to research this semester. This semester I'm taking a class on general research methods and the major project in this class is to write a research proposal. So you may see as the semester progresses and as my blog progresses the writing style make change. I was working with one of my professors today and we were discussing our research idea (I'm not going to share it now). What is encouraging is that he suggested he would like to help me out with this research idea. Before I get too excited about it and move forward I do need to speak with several other faculty because the goal would be to write a proposal the semester and conduct the research and write it up the following semester in a different class. You see, as part of my program I have to create a portfolio. One of the items in this portfolio is a research project, I'm hoping that this idea can become that project. Just to give you an idea, because I realized I never discussed what my research interests are. My primary research interest is looking at technology specifically assistive technology and students with learning disabilities at post secondary settings. Yes I know it sounds like a mouthful basically, it boils down to special technology for college students with a learning disability.

A little background on why I got involved in this field. My learning disability affects me in the area of written language. Basically, I have difficulty with writing and reading. The writing difficulty is visible in the mechanics of how I write. That means my spelling, punctuation, organization, and even handwriting. The reason I mention this is because this is one of the factors that led to my pursuing a career in technology and people with disabilities. I first started using technology as an accommodation for myself when I was a junior in high school. My high school chemistry teacher felt my handwriting was so poor that he had me type all of my lab reports so he could read what I was saying. Having always enjoyed working with computers even back in the day, this was no big deal for me. When I was in college myself I took a class on computers for people with disabilities, and thought "wow, this stuff is really cool!" My first memories of seeing "assistive technology" in action stems from watching science-fiction television as a child. One of my favorite television shows was the original BattleStar Galactica. At the end of every episode the commander of the ship would make entry into his journal. What was so fascinating to me was the method in which he made these entries. Instead of writing them out by hand or typing them on a keyboard/typewriter he would hold a microphone dictate these entries directly into the computer. The memory of that still has a wow factor, despite the dated technology that was used, and old hand-held microphone and in old terminal with the green on black display,. As a matter of fact I think of those scenes every time I use voice recognition software today. And I think to myself "how cool is this?"

As a side note, today's entry into this blog was completely dictated using voice recognition technology and a wireless Bluetooth microphone. It's kind of cool to think that I am right now using fancier flashier technology then the writers dreamed of in that old sci-fi television show.


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