‘Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt tested an interactive, digital version of an Algebra 1 textbook for Apple’s iPad in California’s Riverside Unified School District. Students who used the iPad version scored 20 percent higher on standardized tests versus students who learned with traditional textbooks.
The program, which replaced worn textbooks with interactive, digital versions with video, graphics and built-in quizzes that invited students to participate and give instant feedback, spurred positive comments that students using the iPad version were “more motivated, attentive, and engaged” than those with the paper algebra books.
This pilot program reveals when it comes to engaging today’s students, it’s not the content that matters, but the format. Students in the California experiment accessed the same content on the iPad as in a traditional book, but those who used the digital version tested higher.’ But … they go on to say… is the effect as lasting? Some believe not.
Taken from…. The Future of Education: Tablets vs. Textbooks http://mashable.com/2012/10/05/tablets-vs-textbooks/
They also say…. ‘ Students with special learning needs may offer the most concrete evidence of the benefits of tablets in the classroom. Advocates, desperate to bridge the educational gaps in children with learning issues, are ahead of traditional educational leaders, since children with special learning needs used tablets and apps early on.’
Evidence coming in thick and fast to support tablets in the classroom.
Search through the Internet and you will find loads of advice about Apps that meet a whole range of personal, educational and business needs. You can go on for ever exploring new Apps (I do it all the time!) and find you have a device full of Apps and you can’t remember which one you thought would be useful for what! It’s crazy!
Apps for people with Special Educational Needs is no exception except that with some Apps there is a huge cost attached. Of course the cost isn’t huge if an individual finds this is a great way of communicating with others and making his needs known – and we have to remember that some of these Apps can be vastly cheaper than the alternatives on the market. You do also have to consider the cost in time of exploring some of the communication Apps can be great as you need to download and set up free versions to see if they are going to do what you want them to do.
Loads of Apps can be used by people with Special Educational Needs and generic gains can be made in concentration. attention, memory, hand-eye coordination, literacy, numeracy etc. However, the challenge will be in finding the one that specifically meets a significant need for a particular individual and will support activities of daily living across a range of life skills.
Here is my starter list of Apps to explore if you are working with individuals with Special Educational Needs. You are welcome to download my chart and I would appreciate some feedback and additional suggested Apps.
With many years of experience as a qualified Occupational Therapist, specialising in rehabilitation of both adults and children following accidents, my thoughts take me back to how we utilised a wide range of everyday activities and adapted them to address individual rehabilitation programmes. For someone with a physical injury we would place activities on a wall, high table or floor to encourage the patient to reach, bend, balance, stretch or increase strength /stamina. We would choose activities to encourage hand-hand and hand-eye coordination, to improve grip, dexterity or adapt to new ways of doing things. For those with acquired brain injury we could find any amount of activities to increase memory, concentration, communication, behaviour, attention etc. These were sometimes all very ‘Blue Peter’ in look and feel, but effective never-the-less.
We did jump on the band-wagon with BBC computers when they first came out but the time and effort needed to set up a patient in the correct position, with the right software, was sometimes way out of proportion to the benefits derived from using this new technology.
Thank goodness for the iPad! It has such potential to engage, motivate, distract and is a great tool to assist teaching and learning in the classroom as well as at home. I do cringe when I see the price of some specialised Apps for children with special needs but quite possibly the Apps are still cheaper than alternative devices such as communication tools. Not only can the content be useful but also the physical placing of the device to encourage or motivate users to stand, balance, stretch, flex or bend etc. can work well.
Search the internet and you will find a lot of anecdotal evidence from parents and teachers that iPads can aid learning etc. It may not be a useful or appropriate device for everyone, but if we think creatively, as we used to do, we can find huge potential for children with special needs.
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