Click on the image below to access “58 Interesting Ways to Use an iPad in the Classroom.”
Using Blooms Taxonomy in education is a highly effective way to scaffold learning for the students. With the recent popularity and pervasive nature of iOS devices in school districts it is essential for educators to understand how to implement Blooms in the classroom using the apps that are available.
Click on the graphic below to access this web site.
Click below to access an updated list of iPad Apps we have or are interested in.
(updated in August 2011)
1. We’re examining using the iPad as an augmentative communication device. We’re working with our county communication specialist and trialing other devices, but we’re particularly in love with the iPad for one student. And, the student is in love with the iPad as well!
A bit of background- “Student” started trialing the BoardMaker Activity Pad as a communication device. This is a low tech device that is not commonly used for communication, but it was the best we could do to start. He has formerly tried the Tech Speak. Then, we tried the Dynavox Xpress, my personal favorite. Another student in our class uses this and I am a big fan. It’s easy to program, easy to use, easy to learn, small, light, easy to carry, etc., etc. Next, we tried the FRS ComLink. We were happy with this, but it had more disadvantages for our student than the Dynavox Xpress. Then, while we were waiting to try the iPod Touch from the county, we received a grant from the BBH Schools Foundation for 2 iPads for our classroom (THANK YOU!). At that time, we decided to have “student” use the iPad and see how it went.
We thought “Proloquo2Go” would be best, but couldn’t put out the $189 it cost. We also discovered that “student” loved to type and is a great speller, so we decided on “Speakit!” instead. $1.99 or less is right up our alley!
To make a long story short, we went back to the Dynavox Xpress to see if “student” would access the keypad.
Then, after two days with the Dynavox Xpress, “student” used the device to say he felt “mad.” I thought for a minute and asked him “Do you feel mad because I gave you this talker?” He typed “yes.”
I asked “student,” “Would you be happy if I gave you the iPad back?” He typed, “happy.”
I handed him the iPad. He turned it on, swiped to unlock it, found the Speakit! App, and typed “i am happy.”
Could it be more perfect? He advocated for himself. Done.
2. We’ve started to “microblog” on Twitter.com. Students are now typing sentences, with reminders for correct capitalization and punctuation, on twitter! We attempt to “tweet” regularly, and we enjoy when people tweet us back. We are also hoping to attract more of our parents to twitter this way as well. Follow us @Room5Friends.
3. The iPad is one more tool in our toolbox for SHARING! Because one “student” often takes one iPad with him to specials classes as his augmentative communication device, we sometimes only have one iPad left in the classroom. This can only mean one thing- we will need to share! And what a great tool to learn on!
Here’s our action research: Two students wanting to use the iPad during “choice time,” and only one iPad available. Both students have “engaging in parallel or cooperative play with other students” written in their IEP objectives. Let’s see what they can do. We placed the iPad in front of them as a type of authentic assessment. We said, “Now boys, we need to share. Johnny can play one game, then pass to Jack for one game.” We proceeded to walk away.
The special education aide and I watched from 4 feet away. Johnny started with Thomas the Tank Engine Game pack and played one game of Thomas memory. He slid the iPad to Jack. Jack played one puzzle on the game pack. He slid the iPad back to John. John clicked out and went to the 5 Little Monkeys App. Both boys delighted in the songs. When it was over, John slid the iPad back to Jack. Jack did another Thomas puzzle. Then, luckily, it was lunch time. How awesome!
4. We’re going to begin reading a chapter book solely on the iPad. Beezus and Ramona, here we come! Although we’ll supplement this chapter book with many visuals and other activities, we will be reading this book in class on two iPads and a Kindle. Reading books in more than one medium? Who would’ve ever thought that a ten year old with autism would have these opportunities in the year 2011? Amazing!
5. Motivational Tools. Honestly, I hope these iPads aren’t a phase. And if they are a phase, they are certainly worthwhile. Because we are surely getting a TON of learning done while using the iPads as motivational tools. And, I know some people may say they are expensive motivational tools, but I believe they are worth every penny.
6. The educational apps are limitless. My student who loves to play “Cookie Doodle” is working on following directions and measuring. She sees measuring cups, measuring spoons, ingredients, recipes, etc. and must follow directions like “pour the vanilla” and “shake the salt shaker” and “mix the batter.” It’s multi-sensory because we do the same thing with the real items in the classroom! It’s a built-in follow up lesson!
7. And did I mention the kids LOVE them? We love the iPad. LOVE. And we still play with Play-Doh, Moon Sand, blocks, the sand table, other sensory activities. We still follow real recipes, we still read real books, complete file folder tasks, and shoebox tasks. We still swing and play outside. But now, we have more technology to integrate and use. We have one more tool in the toolbox.
And we’ll keep sharing. BECAUSE WE ARE IN LOVE.
Click on the Cookie Doodle icon to find “Apps That Are Right For Us.”
Most quotable and applicable to our Room 5 needs in this article was this statement by the author, “school leaders say the iPad is not just a cool new toy but rather a powerful and versatile tool with a multitude of applications, including thousands with educational uses.”
Immediately following, “A Pointed Response to the NYT Article on iPads in Schools” was posted by the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory.
This response began by stating that “if you change the technology but not the method of learning, then you are throwing bad money after bad practice... The downside is that it is not a classroom learning tool unless you restructure the classroom. By that I mean, there is no benefit in giving kids iPads in school if you don’t change school.”
In Room 5, we are currently using the iPads (that we received with a generous grant from the BBH Schools Foundation) in many different ways and for many different reasons.
If you’ve been following along, you know that Room 5 individualizes for every student. So, its easy to say that every one of my 8 students has already used the iPad with a different purpose.
Here are some of the ways we’ve used the iPad:
1. A student with autism who is fully included in the “regular” classroom got upset in class. He came to Room 5 for some cool off time. As he jumped on the trampoline, he continued to cry. I lured him to the table with the iPad and started to play Toy Story 3 Memory with him. 10 minutes later, he was ready to go back to class. In those 10 minutes, I engaged this student with autism in turn taking, practicing the words ‘my turn’ and ‘your turn,’ and in tons of language as we named the characters from Toy Story 3 and used social game playing language such as “good job” and “way to go.”
2. A student with both autism and Down syndrome is pretty difficult to motivate sometimes. A simple photo of the iPad in a “First-Then” schedule helps. This student knows, “First I do my work, Then I get the iPad.” Without the promise of the iPad, we got maybe 3 sight words receptively identified in a 15 minute time period. With the iPad yesterday, we got 40 words receptively identified in a 15 min. time period. 15 minutes of work then 5 minutes on the iPad where fun and musical programs are work in disguise!
3. I sit next to the student using the iPad. It happens, but infrequently, that I leave a student alone with the iPad. I sit next to them, prompting for language and other skills. ALL of my students need practice with more social language and more vocabulary. The iPad is helping with that.
4. A student with autism who is nonverbal but loves to type and spells many things correctly or phonetically is currently using the iPad as a communication device with the App called “Speak It”. While the iPad costs $499 (give or take the cost of the communication App you want), another communication device from a company like PRC might cost close to $7400! I could buy 14 iPads for the cost of one Vantage Lite. (Sure, there are arguments to be made here about durability, customization, etc. and we recognize that. )
5. Multi-modal teaching. As a special educator, I know that I need to teach using all of the multiple intelligences and all of the modalities (visual, auditory, tactile, etc., etc.). The iPad is just one more tool in our arsenal of strategies. Here’s an example: With my Kindergarten students, we are currently working on ‘beginning sounds.’ First, we look at objects that all start with one sound. These are fun little toys and we name each of them verbally and feel and touch each object, then trace the beginning letter with our finger and make the sound. Next, we look at pictures of objects to practice beginning sounds. The pictures are first paired with the written word, then appear just as picture icons. We practice saying the word and making the beginning sound. Next, we move on to 3 or 4 pictures and point to the picture that starts with the verbally given sound. THEN, we can introduce Apps on the iPad like “Word Magic.” Word Magic shows a picture and the remaining letters of the word and asks the user to receptively touch the correct beginning letter out of a choice of 4. It even provides it’s own positive reinforcer if the user answers correctly and says things like “Try again” if the user guesses wrong. It ALSO gives a score on the side saying how many the user got correct on the first try and how many were incorrect. Hello data collection! Just in beginning sounds lessons alone, we’ve reached the auditory learner, the visual learner, the kinesthetic learner, the intrapersonal learner, the 21st Century learner!
5. Apps that promote more language AND are motivational are exactly what we look for in any “tool” or “strategy” in special education. Apps like “Sentence Builder” and “Monkey Preschool Lunchbox” do just that. (I’ll be writing a post about the Apps that we commonly use most in Room 5 soon.)
Now. You might be thinking that I am using expensive toys to motivate my students. You might be thinking that I could do the same with the computers we already have, a musical keyboard, an exciting new book, or even the promise of recess (that costs nothing at all). And sure, you may be right. (Although eventually we hope to get into more advanced uses of the iPad like blogging and tweeting from different school locations and reading chapter books in Apps like “Kindle for iPad.”)
But, consider this. My students, those with moderate to intensive disabilities, are living in a world where they will constantly be struggling to compensate for their difficulties and come up with new strategies to deal with life’s challenges.
Aside from the fine motor, decoding, encoding, math computation, math reasoning, musical, and art skills that they can acquire from the iPad and it’s Apps, why not arm them with more “21st Century Skills?”
The tech world and society are moving towards the “touch screen,” scrolling pages, hand held devices, social media, and digital literacy. Why not move ALL our students along as well?
The possibilities here are endless.
And we’ll keep writing about them and sharing our experiences.
OUR possibilities are endless.
We’ve gotten our iPads and in preparation for them and to continuing growing with them, I plan to read some of the information surrounding the success of using iPads with students with special needs AND regular education students.
Below is a list of my planned reading on the iPad. Feel free to send more my way via email@example.com or on twitter @Room5Friends.
iPads in Education (another site)