2010-2011 Rainbow Creek - iPads as Assistive Technology

iPad comes standard with accessibility features that help people with disabilities experience all that it has to offer. <http://www.apple.com/ipad/features/accessibility.html>

Apple’s iPad comes with a screen reader, support for playback of closed-captioned content, zoom and high contrast settings right out of the box. These accessibility settings immediately suggest that this relatively new technology could be a valuable assistive technology. Then, as one begins to explore the lists of applications such as this one https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApbJodHQoJq3dE9xaVZ5TVc4UFktVUJaaW 1Nc2FRSGc&hl=en#gid=0 and this one http://www.scribd.com/doc/24470331/iPhone- iPad-and-iPod-touch-Apps-for-Special-Education that are being created by special education teachers and assistive technology specialists, it becomes even more clear that the iPad should be explored as an assistive technology tool and it is our proposal that Rainbow Creek Elementary School would be a good place to do just that.

In our school, twenty percent of the students are English Language Learners and approximately 10% have needs that require accommodations and/or curriculum modifications to be successful. It is our goal as a school to address the needs of these learners in their regular classrooms as much as possible. As such, our resource team is committed to supporting classroom teachers in infusing the principles of universal design for learning in their lessons. To do so requires access to accessible instructional materials and a variety of contemporary technologies. We’ve already committed resources to the development of a repository of accessible instructional materials and are now seeking support in the acquisition of technology that will engage even our most reluctant learners.

The applications, the interface, the size of the iPad all make it attractive to students. Elementary students, especially the youngest, have a natural instinct to touch computer screens and the iPad’s interface would make it easy to engage them in activities. The size and weight of the iPad make it easier to transport than a laptop and for some of our children with communication difficulties it could become a tool to increase their independence and the ‘cool factor’ with their peers. The sheer number of applications that are available may seem overwhelming at first but we would suggest that within these numbers we could find applications that meet many individual learning styles and preferences.

Our work with the iPads this year would involve a lot of exploration of applications. We would begin by reviewing the lists mentioned above to determine which we believe would be the most effective for our student population. We would then establish a procedure for application trials using a rubric to assess the value of each application. The final step of this evaluation process would be to publish on our website a list of those that we find to be most effective for specific types of learners. This information would be made accessible to staff, parents and other RVS employees.

As an assistive technology tool, the iPad aligns with Goals One, Two and Five of Rocky View Schools’ Three Year Education Plan and connects well with the jurisdiction’s learning model.


  • 10 iPad with Wi-Fi 16GB $5490.00
  • 10 Apple iPad Case $450.00
  • 10 Apple Earphones w/Remote & Mic $350.00
  • 5 Apple iPad Keyboard Dock $395.00
  • 1 MacBook 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo • • •
  • 2GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x1GB 250GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm SuperDrive $999.00
  • iPod Application Seed Money $500.00

                              TOTAL $8184.00

Submitted by:
Administrative Team: Laura McArthur & Dawn Rife

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