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2011-2012 Beiseker - Technology for Special Needs Findings

We purchased iPads to support students with severe needs, with the hope that they would experience enhanced development of Essential Life Skills as a result. We wanted to explore specialized apps for students with Autism, FASD, Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome, etc. The goal was to aid these students in developing language skills, expressing emotions, learning about safe social situations, learning about community, etc. We also wanted to explore activities that enhance reading, writing, and math skills. We continually want to become more effective in providing differentiated tasks for the diverse group of students at our school. We wanted to look into how we could enhance learning, empower students to become more independent and functional within the classroom, and aid them in developing skills to help them be as successful as possible when they leave the school environment.

 

My research results are minimal at this time because our iPads actually entered my room later in the year. As a result, it was difficult to get things up and running as I had envisioned by the end of the 2011-12 school year. However, having the iPads at the start of this year is allowing me to continue my project and research in 2012-13. That being said, I can share the observations I have been able to make from use of the iPads. Just having the iPads in my room for the time that I have, it has been a motivating tool for all my students. It is a wonderful incentive for students, who seem to always be engaged when they have an iPad in their hands. Whether it’s an education app, a social skills app, or a game, they demonstrate a focus that is not always seen otherwise. The learning is made fun using these devices.

One thing that I am continually learning, or so it seems, is that it is important to take some time to learn the necessary skills when delving into the technology world. Therefore, I would recommend that time should be specifically set aside in our busy schedules to learn these skills. I am thankful for having had some experience with the iPads before the start of this year because my readiness to explore has increased. I am more able to make meaningful and effective choices in purchasing apps and implementing the use of our iPads. I have already set up specific times in order to continue my personal learning. This will enable me to continue my research with my students to enhance their learning.

 

 

Mary Pieterse

Learning Support Teacher

Beiseker Community School

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