Technology Benefiting Handicapped and Disabled February Learning to Live in a Technical World Blog
These days, the usage of various technologies is benefitting everyone, but for those who are disabled or handicapped, the new technology can be life-changing! Devices such as the iPad or iPhone are being used daily to help these people overcome and live with their disabilities. The technology continues to grow, and it is astonishing how many resources are already out there for them. This spans from helping students with learning disabilities to those who are blind.The first example of technology benefiting those in need is the iPad and its affect on the learning disabled. On disabilitynetwork.com, there are various apps outlined that are tailored specifically for these people. One application, “Crazy Face Lite,” encourages shy children to speak more often, and helps them gain social skills. Another, “ArtikPix,” is for children with speech impairments that allows them to practice words and sounds. “LivingSafely” can help students with developmental disabilities learn with ideas that are directed specifically to them. Although these apps are focused on children with learning disabilities, apps that might not seem suited to the students are also effective in helping them learn. For example, flash card applications for the iPad help with basic vocabulary and learning. “MindNode” is used to create mind maps, which greatly help autistic children grasp concepts. Overall, the iPad is invaluable to the success of disabled learning.
This past summer millions of people tuned in to watch the Olympics. What many may not have known is that the fourteenth summer Paralympic Games was held just after the Olympic games ended. The world of those who are handicapped physically or lost limbs was revolutionized by prosthetics that are now tailored specifically to meet the needs of a patient. In fact, Oscar Pistorous, a South-African double-amputee sprinter, competed in the Olympic Games in London in 2012 with his carbon fiber blades that practically put him on the same playing level as any other athlete who is not an amputee. The prosthetic limbs along with other tools have come a long way with technology, and for all of those who are handicapped or are amputees, technology is creating a way for them to live an easier life.
In conclusion, people with intellectual or physical disabilities have been assisted by technology in many facets. Not only have they been able to use technology manufactured specifically for them, but they have also been able to use technology that can be adapted for their specific needs. Technology has supported them in their journey to live happier lives, and for many, technology may have even saved their life. As a country, the United States is continuing to increase funding for technological programs benefiting people with disabilities, and the research for these people is drastically making a difference every day.
Salutations Tennessee TSA!
I hope everyone’s school year is succeeding expectations as planned. The State Officer Team has come up
with some great information on the integration of STEM in TSA. Be sure to leave us a comment or any questions you may have on this blog. You’ve probably heard or have seen the token phrase “STEM integration” in school or in educational activities. Although, did you know that while enjoying the completion of your events, you are actually engaging in STEM curriculum? TSA is mainly promoted to the involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. All these core subjects make up the word S.T.E.M. Most of the events in TSA have the integration of STEM in some way, shape, or form. The
integrations of STEM in all the events are listed on the link below. Go check it out!
In recent years, not only educators, but also political, civic and industry leaders have wanted a greater emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in schools. TSA has emphasizes on STEM education best! TSA promotes a vision of students able to exceed in these fields, and believes that participation in TSA competitions helps make that vision a reality. The vision becomes a reality through the development of STEM by simply competing in events that are extremely enjoyable like the events you do every year at conference. TSA competitions provide a hands-on venue for learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. By participating in TSA’s awesome competitive events, you can gain a broader understanding of these specific content areas and at the same time experience the satisfaction that comes from applying them to real-life problem solving situations. TSA also aligns with state performance indicators (s.p.i.’s) and national standards for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
_ Hey, Tennessee TSA! This month, we have some great information and tips on how to organize your finances and your schedule. Be sure to leave us comments at the end of this blog to let us know what you think, as well as any tips of your own that you want to share!
You’ve probably heard the quote, “Money makes the world go ‘round.” While we encourage you to maintain a healthy attitude about the relative importance of money, it’s also common sense that money can improve the quality of your life, and used wisely, can improve the lives of others. It’s important, therefore, to know how to manage your finances. Here are a few tips to help you on your way!
· Organizing your money can help you to keep track of where your money is going. Try ordering your money into four different piles. One stack will become a spending stack for money that you will use for everyday necessities, such as buying lunch or gas for your car. Another stack will become a savings stack, and will contain money that will be used later on larger purchases, such as a new computer. Put aside some money that will go into an investing stack, and put that money into a bank account. Finally, put some money into a giving stack to use to donate to charity, or for birthday gifts for others.
· Open up both checking AND savings accounts to organize your money. Usually, banks have special savings programs for students who would like to save money for college. Feel free to ask an accountant to help you through this process; it’s their job, after all!
· Set savings goals! How much should you save each month? That depends what you’re saving for and how much you have to spend on other expenses. For example, if you’re saving up for the latest smart phone, you would probably want to save a little extra every month. However, if your cell phone bill is higher than usual, or if you used more gas than you typically do, don’t let your savings cut into your necessary expenditures.
· Cut your expenses; be a smart shopper! Instead of buying new books from a retailer, go check out a used bookstore instead. Try buying daily necessities like shampoo and deodorant from value stores. Avoid buying clothes from the mall or from clothing outlets; try shopping at thrift stores instead. You’d be surprised at all of the great deals you can get when you think outside of the box!
· SAVE FIRST. Money is a little like trust; it’s easy to lose and hard to earn back. Always remember that you can only spend money once, save some money for the future. Saving for college or a new car definitely beats getting a new trinket every week!
Another critical aspect in staying organized is being able to manage your time effectively. This is easier said than done, especially when you’re participating in many different events and extracurricular activities. Oftentimes, not being able to effectively manage your time leads to unnecessary stress. But don’t fret! With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to manage your time effectively and hopefully relieve some stress in your life.
· There are many options that you can pick from to keep a personal agenda. The most common is the use of a daily planner or notebook. This tool is very effective because it’s portable, doesn’t rely on a battery source, and serves as a tangible reminder of the work you need to get done.
· However, for those of you who prefer putting technology to use as often as possible, there are also several digital options available. Many websites, including Google’s mail service, provide digital calendars. If you have a smart phone, you can even store your plans on a mobile calendar!
While some of these tips might seem like common sense, they will make a huge impact in your ability to manage your time, and subsequently, in your day-to-day life. So the next time you have an opportunity, try using these tips, and be prepared to be amazed at just how big of an impact these small tips will have for you!
_ Throughout this year, we have covered a multitude of topics on this blog, ranging from high school-related advice to making the most of your college experience. However, in a way, these skills are a means to an end; you will see the most benefit from these skills when applying for a job. This month, we will share some great tips that you can employ to help you land your dream job!
The first step is to fill out the job application. Employers use your application form to determine who they are going to interview for a job opening, so it is important that the application is filled out correctly. When filling out a paper application, make sure to use a blue or black ball-point pen and write neatly. Common mistakes people make are spelling errors and leaving parts of the application blank; be sure not to make these mistakes yourself! When going to fill out an application, make sure you have all the information necessary to fill it out. Things you should consider brining with you include your social security card, driver’s license, and a school ID, if your school provides you with one. When applying for a job, it is important to tailor your information for the job you’re seeking; you should therefore make sure that the vocational and/or educational experiences you are listing are pertinent to the job you’re applying for. It’s a good idea not to offer any negative information about yourself; however, under no circumstances should you lie on an application! Make sure to keep your application consistent with your resume, and proofread it before you turn it in.
The ability to write an effective resume and cover letter is crucial to your success. Outside of the job application, your resume is the first place where an employer will get to know you, your qualifications, and what you have to offer to them as a potential future employee. As a result, your resume is the key to being called in for the all-important interview. It is therefore absolutely essential that your resume and cover letter stand out from other applicants. Here are some tips to help you in this process:
· Research- There are many ways to write a resume and cover letter, but it’s important that you find the method that best suits you and highlights your accomplishments. Keep in mind that the fundamental purpose of these documents is to serve as an introduction.
· Make your format clean and unique- Both Microsoft Word and Apple Pages offer some great resume templates. However, your best bet is to take those formats and modify them to make your resume unique from all of the others the employer will look at. Also, try to avoid large groups of words. Instead, break down your information into smaller paragraphs. Nothing deters a reader more than seeing a giant wall of text.
· Above all, make sure that your resume and cover letter are professional. Avoid “flowery” fonts that are difficult to read. Instead, stick with more conservative fonts such as Times New Roman or Georgia. Keep the formatting of your resume and cover letter consistent. This will make them look more professional.
By following these tips and putting your own spin on your cover letter and resume, you’re sure to be well on the way to employment. Don’t forget to ensure that these documents are unique to you and truly reflect your personality!The next step in the employment process is undergoing the interview. Just getting an interview is an accomplishment, and means that the employer is showing an interest in you! The most important thing to remember about interviewing is to act professionally. Make sure to choose professional clothing to make a great first impression. You should always arrive early- remember that in an employer’s eyes, “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is left behind.”
When shaking hands with your interviewer, maintain a firm (but not overbearing) grip. Although it seems trivial, a professional and confident handshake can set the tone for the remainder of the interview. Remember to be yourself, and to let the employer get to know the real you. By doing this, you can establish a relaxed atmosphere, making the interview much easier for both you and the interviewer. Also, ensure that you are well-prepared for your interview. Make sure to bring extra copies of your resume, cover letter, and references. If necessary, find a clean notebook to store all of these documents. It’s also beneficial to run through some possible questions in your head before the interview starts. Common questions an interviewer may ask include: “Tell me about yourself.” or “What makes you the most qualified person for this position?” Just make sure to speak from the heart, have fun with your interview, get to know your future employer, and let him or her get to know you.
If you follow of these tips, you’ll be sure to be a competitive applicant! Just remember- if you don’t get the job, don’t get discouraged. At the very least, you’ll have learned a lot about yourself and the job application process, and will be better prepared for the next job you apply to. Good luck!
_ For many high school seniors, November is a time for putting the finishing touches on your college applications as well as making the final decisions about what school you will make your college home. TSA ended up being an integral part of this process for me, looking back on my experience. There are several events that help students prepare for college and the challenges that lie ahead.
One of the first aspects of TSA that prepares students for college is the interview process that is part of many of TSA’s events. Some colleges require an interview as part of the acceptance process. Additionally, obtaining internships and getting accepted into various student organizations on campus requires that students have exemplary interview skills. Many students go into these interviews unprepared due to lack of experience. TSA graduates, however, can go into these interviews with confidence, knowing that they have gained the valuable experience and feedback that even the most demanding circumstances require.
Another example of a way TSA prepares students for college is through public speaking. Most colleges require students to take some form of public speaking course. Students who have gained experience with this skill through TSA generally represent the top-tier of their class and are sought after for group presentations. I was able to receive many awards in my public speaking course, and it was undoubtedly due my experiences in TSA.
Finally, TSA prepares students for college and beyond through the networking opportunities it gives students. As you progress through your college career, you will hear the phrase “It’s not about what you know, but it’s about who you know.” This statement is very true. By staying in contact with friends you have made in TSA, you will be presented with unexpected opportunities for jobs as well as friendships. Any business professor will tell you that good networking skills are a cornerstone to finding yourself in a successful career. By becoming a member of TSA, you have already begun honing these skills and will find opportunities surprise you around every corner.
I would encourage you to get involved in college, just as you have done in high school, in order to create an environment conducive to success. The more experiences you can gain, the better prepared you will be for the obstacles that come your way, and the easier the transition from high school to college will be.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
B.T. Peake, Information Systems Management Major at Belmont University and Matt Crabtree, Sports Management Major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville share their outlook on life in college.
This is a video posted on our Tennessee TSA YouTube Channel. Click here to view.
Guest Blog - Kadeem Phillips, Engineering, Fisk & Vanderbilt Universities: 10 Easy Steps to Preparing for College
Hello, everyone, my name is Kadeem Phillips an Alumni of Memphis East High School and current Physics/Chemical Engineering Dual Degree student at Fisk University and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. This is my first post in the college-related blogs, so I wanted to start off by giving you tips to make preparing for college a breeze.
1. Research Early
Sophomore year in high school is not too early to start researching possible institutions. Early investigation and understanding of admissions requirements can lead to a better college "fit". Create a checklist of admission requirements for each institution of interest and make sure to follow through on these. Your application cannot be processed unless all supporting documentation is received.
2. ACT/SAT Testing
Take the ACT or SAT at least once in your junior year of high school to gauge your strengths and see where you need to increase your score. Universities set minimum ACT/SAT scores for admission and by taking these tests early you will give yourself time to improve your score. A higher test score equals a better chance for admission and more scholarship potential.
3. Make the Most of Your High School Time
Stay active in high school and participate in social, civic and academic groups that will diversify your experiences and background. These activities will not only add support to your application for admission, but will also give you the experience required to join some campus organizations.
4. Visit Campus
Make an appointment with the admissions office of the universities and colleges that interest you. Nothing can take the place of experiencing a campus to see for yourself the faculty, administrators and student body.
5. Attend Recruiting Events
Check college websites to see what recruiting events are available and if there are events that are geared towards your specific interests. If registration is required for the event, be sure to sign up.
6. Determine Your Future Career
Seriously consider what career you want to follow when you have completed college. Check out the websites for those academic departments and meet with faculty advisors who can guide your class selections and college experiences to provide the background that will help you succeed. Don't be afraid to explore several departments ‐ this is one way to choose a future major.
7. Don't Know Your Future Career Choice?
Let the campus career centers work for you. Career centers are there to assist and counsel you and to help you determine your strengths and potential career paths. Don't hesitate to call on the trained staff in these centers they have testing tools and can begin working with you as soon as you have been accepted to the institution.
8. Consider Living on Campus
Most colleges and universities offer on‐campus housing and research shows that students who live on campus are more likely to make better grades. Living on‐campus is convenient, affordable and part of the full college experience. Living in a residence hall puts you at the center of campus activity.
9. Double Check
Make sure all transcripts, ACT/SAT test scores, application fees, housing deposits, applications and resumes have been received by the admission office prior to their deadlines.
10. Attend Orientation
Orientation is a valuable experience that can be replaced by no other. At orientation you will have the chance to connect with current and future students, faculty and administrators, as well as schedule classes and check out your room assignment. Make every effort to participate in this event ‐ and take your parents!
Greetings, everyone! This is the second installation of our college-related blogs. Last month, we discussed how to find colleges that are right for you. This month, we’ll talk about filling out college applications, writing essays, and conducting interviews.
After you’ve decided where you want to apply to college, the next step is to actually fill out the application materials. 456 colleges use the Common Application, an application that you can fill out online and submit to multiple colleges. However, UT-Knoxville doesn’t use the Common App, nor do many other colleges in Tennessee. Make sure to check out your colleges’ requirements before starting any application.
Most applications, including the Common App, consist of several parts: basic information, like your name; academic information, which includes your transcript of classes and grades; standardized test scores; and financial information. It’s important that you fill out every part of the application to the best of your ability. For example, if you’re specifically asked for both your SAT score and your ACT score, make sure you provide both.
Some colleges might ask for a letter of recommendation from a teacher. Always give the teacher at least three weeks’ notice before the application is due. This will ensure that your teacher will have time to write something meaningful. Some high schools even have policies stating that you must give a teacher a certain amount of time to write the letter. Respect your teachers’ time by following those guidelines.
In addition to the application form, colleges will usually ask you for an "essay" or a "personal statement" that helps them to get to know you as more than a standardized test score or a GPA. These essays are important because they provide you with an opportunity to show college admissions officers who you really are. However, the essay-writing process can be daunting; it's hard to look at a blank sheet of paper and plan out a concise and meaningful essay. Here are some tips to help you on your way.
Since you can’t possibly pass or fail a college interview, don’t be nervous! Just make some basic preparations and remember some simple manners before going in. Because your interviewer should be treated with respect at all times, you should demonstrate that by dressing nicely. Avoid casual clothing and messy hair. ALWAYS be on time. If you have any doubts of your ability to be timely, arrive early; make a great first impression. When you speak to the interviewer, remember to be polite, respond conversationally, and to be yourself. Never try to be someone you are not, because usually it doesn’t end well. Lastly, be confident, but not arrogant. Present yourself well, but don’t push it over the limits. With these tips, your interview will start and end well!
We hope that you’ve found these tips helpful in your college application process. Remember that many people are involved in the process- teachers, guidance councilors, admissions officers, and interviewers. Be sure to respect their time and energy, and you can’t go wrong. Next month, we’ll finish our three-part blog on colleges with a discussion on how to select classes that play off of the skills you have learned through TSA. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, be sure to post them below!
Preparing for college can easily be one of the most stressful, confusing, and mysterious things you have encountered in your academic career so far. There’s a ton you have to know, and it never seems like you ever get the “big picture.” Oftentimes, we wonder to ourselves, “How do I make sense of all this college jargon? Where do I even start?”
A great way to start researching is to talk to your school’s guidance counselor- it’s their job to help you succeed! You can also try attending a college fair. College fairs showcase a variety of colleges in one location. Once you have a specific college (or colleges) in mind, the first place to go is to that school’s Undergraduate Admissions webpage. Undergraduate Admissions websites contain lots of information about admissions, and will also provide you with contact information, in the case that you have questions about college admissions.
Also, be sure to check online for other resources you can use to help make the selection process easier. A useful website for exploring colleges is www.cappex.com. Cappex allows you to enter your academic interests and college preferences and sends you links to colleges that they think might be good matches for you. So before you ultimately choose where you want to go, make sure to check out the many different resources to help you make the best choice!
However, we may not know what the “best choice” is if we’re not sure about what we’re looking for from our college experience. One of the most important things you should consider is what you may be interested in majoring in. When researching colleges, check to see if the school you’re looking at offers the major you’re interested in. However, keep in mind that most college students change their major at least once or twice- keep yourself open to new opportunities!
College is about more than academics though. Each college has a unique personality that draws certain types of people to it. Some are known for their tough, but engaging professors; others are known for their fun-loving, easy-going students. What’s the best way to figure out if a certain college’s atmosphere is right for you? Try going on a college visit! A college visit is the perfect time to ask questions to admissions officers, students, and alumni volunteers.
Once you’ve discovered a couple of colleges that you can envision yourself at, you should consider cost. The very thought of the cost of a college education can make you (and your parents!) feel faint. However, given some extra research and some hard work, you shouldn’t fear, because there is a huge amount of financial aid available to students. Financial aid falls into two categories: need-based and merit-based.
Need-based aid is awarded to you because of your family’s financial circumstances. The amount your family can pay, based on your most recent tax returns, is called your family contribution. Colleges can meet a percentage of this with loans, grants, or work-study programs, or any combination of the above.
A grant is financial aid that you don’t have to pay back. Think of grants as a gift. However, many colleges use student loans for need-based aid. A student loan is basically money loaned to you to pay for your education that you must pay back. Work-study programs involve working on campus to finance your education. You might work in the bookstore or library, and earn wages that go directly to pay for your tuition.
The other category of financial aid is merit-based aid. These are scholarships awarded to the candidate that best fits the requirements. The Dr. Bob Hanson Scholarship, the Dustin Heavilon Memorial Scholarship, and the Dr. Tom D’Apolitio scholarship are examples of merit-based aid given by Tennessee TSA to high school seniors. Your guidance counselor can tell you about scholarships that you might be eligible for. Some scholarships require a certain GPA, standardized test scores, an essay, or a letter of recommendation, so be sure to check out the requirements for a scholarship to see if you qualify.
One especially popular scholarship in Tennessee is the HOPE Scholarship, sometimes referred to as the “lottery scholarship.” This scholarship is available for use at just about every college in Tennessee- even private ones.To learn more about the HOPE scholarship, visit http://www.tn.gov/collegepays/mon_college/hope_scholar.htm
Another popular scholarship is the PSAT, administered by the College Board, which is the same organization that produces the SAT. The PSAT is a standardized test that will help familiarize you with the standardized testing environment and the type of questions that you can expect to see on the SAT. In addition, this test will gauge your performance on standardized tests and will even show you how you stand, compared to your peers.
The PSAT may be taken at any point during your high school career, but is most important when taken in the 11th grade. The score you earn during your junior year may qualify you for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Program. If you qualify as a semi-finalist, you must submit an application to become a finalist. This application process is not particularly selective, as approximately 94% of semifinalists become finalists. As a finalist, you can earn scholarships worth up to $2,500 from the program. In addition, many colleges automatically award National Merit Finalists with supplementary scholarship money.
Two other major standardized tests that you can take are the ACT and the SAT. The SAT is similar to the ACT, but there are a few major differences. The ACT tests the actual subject material you have learned during high school, whereas the SAT tests your reasoning skills. The SAT also penalizes test-takers for wrong answers, whereas the ACT does not.
These two tests are both incredibly important for your college career. However, the ACT is more commonly used in the Southern United States. In fact, in the state of Tennessee, every public school student is required to take the ACT at least once in order to graduate. Make sure you are well prepared for these tests since they are a vital part of your college application! You will probably want to take your standardized tests your junior year, or the fall semester of your senior year, because you will have to include your scores in your college applications.
We know that applying to colleges can be hectic and confusing, and we hope that this blog has helped to clarify the process of researching and exploring potential colleges. Hopefully, you’ll begin to think about what you want from your college experience, and what steps you can take to enable yourself to go to your dream college! In next month’s blog, we’ll cover how to actually apply to college, from filling out the application to writing essays. November’s blog will help you to use what you’ve learned through TSA to make your college life outstanding.
Welcome to our first-ever leadership blog. The national TSA motto is “Learning to Live in a Technical World.” This motto means that what we do in TSA prepares our members for the professional world, as well as giving them an advantage over their peers in the fields of technical knowledge, professionalism, problem solving, and much more.
However, we, the state officer team, thought that we could help you to raise this level of preparedness, so that you can feel more confident that your experience as a TSA member is helping you become all you can be. So we, the Tennessee TSA state officer team, are proud to be launching the “Learning to Live in a Technical World Campaign."
Throughout the year, we’ll post monthly blogs that will cover a wide range of topics that many of our members have expressed interest in. The next three blogs, for example, will discuss how to utilize what you’ve learned through TSA to make your college experience outstanding. From researching for your perfect match, to filling out college applications, to picking classes, you can use your TSA experience to make the most of your college journey.
The most important aspect of your adulthood begins upon graduating college: starting your career. Unlike a summer job where you might earn some weekend spending money from, a career is a lifelong commitment that you should enjoy. You should earn enough to pay your bills and still have money to spend on things you enjoy. The December blog will introduce you to job applications, the interview process, and how to achieve your dream career.
After high school, the degree of freedom you’ll have in making decisions about your time and money increases exponentially. Our January blog will help you understand how to properly manage both time and money. Knowing how to balance everything in your life will help you have the best experiences after high school possible.
As we reach February, be sure to check for our blog discussing what it means to be a TSA alumnus. This publication will provide information on what life is like after graduation and how to remain involved with the Technology Student Association. We will be interviewing various TSA alumni for this blog so that we may display experienced perspectives on this topic and share the most valuable tips.
At the 34th Annual State Conference in April, we will be hosting interactive leadership sessions to help reinforce the skills we’ve covered throughout the year. We hope that you will check back regularly, and that you will participate in our blog discussions. Together, we can take our state association to the next level!
Jae-Young Son, State President