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2012-2013 Jeff Chalmers Juanita Burchby-Martin: High School Learning Supports

Research Question: "How does assistive technology (iPads) support and enhance student work product and student learning specifically as it applies to literacy challenges (reading and scribing) in high school classrooms?"

Project Overview

The purpose of this project is to explore and implement additional assistive technologies in our classroom support program.  We currently provide service to over 200 students who require learning assistance; some of these do have Individual Program Plans but a significant number of students require learning support in order to be successful. A significant percentage of these students require assistance from classroom and resource assistants for reading and scribing support in order to successfully complete assignments and classroom assessments.  Our hope is that by providing iPad technology, text-to-speech and speech-to-text software, we will be more agile and effective at providing these learning supports to our students.


The proposal calls for the purchase of fifteen (15) iPads to be distributed to our learning support classroom.  These tablets will then be allocated to classrooms during assignments and tests for students to rely upon for reading and scribing support.  We hope that by building student self-efficacy and advocacy, we are able to coach our students in effective strategies they can rely on as they ready themselves for post-secondary school where classroom supports are not as readily available.  Another benefit would be the freeing of resource personnel to support other students in addressing their learning challenges that may not be addressed through the use of technology.


Preliminary surveys have been completed on useful software and apps that would be utilized and it has been determined that many of the effective apps we plan to utilize are free.


Learning Benefits

Students will benefit from the project by:

  • having access iPad technology to support them in their learning specifically as it relates to reading and scribing support.
  • being able to progress through assignments at their own pace rather than relying on the pacing of a reader or scribe who may be providing support to a small group.
  • being coached on self-advocating for required support and encouraged to develop skills to overcome their learning challenges in an independent manner.
  • developing self-efficacy skills that will be required for post-secondary education.  They will learn to utilize assistive technology in an independent manner that is reflective of the support that might be available at post secondary.
  • having resource personnel who are more effectively utilized in other areas where students may require more personal assistance that cannot be addressed through assistive technologies.


Staff will benefit from the project by continuing to expand their repertoire of skills for differentiating instruction for students.

  • being able to provide the necessary support in their own classroom and reducing the coordination and planning with resource staff.

Upon successful implementation of our project, we are prepared to share our learning with other schools and division personnel.  We would also explore the possibility of developing a community of practice where we can network with other sites who are looking to implement a similar strategy in order to share best practices.

Connections to 21st Century Learning and Three Year Plans

This project addresses 21st Century Learning, RVS’s and George McDougall HS’s Three-Year Plans in a number of ways:

  • Goal 1.2- Learning is universally accessible (Action on Inclusion)
    • Students are provided additional resources to support their learning in their own classrooms.
  • Goal 2.1- Learners direct and feel ownership for their learning.
    • promotion of self-advocacy and efficacy.  Reduced reliance on classroom/ resource assistants.
  • Goal 2.2- Learners demonstrate 21st Century competencies.
    • students develop additional skills at using contemporary technology in an ethical manner.
    • they are able to utilize technology to create and demonstrate their understanding of course materials.
  • Goal 3.1 Learning occurs any time, any place any path, any pace.
    • more independence for pacing during assignments and assessments.  Students are able to direct the pace of their learning.
  • Goal 3.3 Instructional design enriches the learning experience
    • we are coaching and promoting skill-sets that can be adapted to post-secondary and work environments.  These enhanced learning experiences ready our students for life beyond secondary school.


Proposed Budget:

Purchase of fifteen (15) iPads...................................(519 per unit x 15)= $7785

Professional development investment.....................= in kind, school cost.

  • school will provide release time and inhouse support for utilizing the devices.

Cart for storage.........................................................= old mac cart in house will be repurposed.


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