Monthly Archives: March 2012

iPad and Networking day – #ipadbridge – review of presentations and discussions – Part 2

This is the second post on the iPad and Networking Day held at the Bridge School on the 23rd March. The link to the first post is here. This post will give a quick overview of the other presentations and discussions that took place in the afternoon.

Jawied Amanyar –QEII Jubilee School – iBooks Author

Demonstrated the use of iBooks Author to create profile books (mibooks) for the students. These would include information about the students under the following categories:

Mistuff – Things that students like doing.

Michoices – interests

Miinetwork- incorporate family and friends

Mireports – curriculum, assessment

Milearning- what are they learning

Miphotos – photos

Mivideos – videos

These mibooks could then be stored on students or teachers iPad’s for easy access to information about the students.

Deborah Moppett – Ickburg School- iPad video

Lovely videos about students encountering the iPad for the first time and how engaged they were with it. Also demonstrated the ease that the students were able to navigate the different menus and apps.

Karen Sells @sellsey – Marlborough School- Using iPads

Presentation on how her school has implemented iPads into their curriculum for SLD and PMLD learners. The trial began with just 6 iPads with the learners leading the learning. Lessons learnt were as follows:

  • Pilot a scheme on a small scale initially.
  • Staff buy-in of great importance to success
  • ICT integration across the curriculum
  • Technical support in place to support devices.
  • Use of the app evaluation tool.

The presentation concluded with some great pictures of students enjoying using the iPad in their lessons.

Ashley Izzard – Five Acre Wood – Using iPads

Five Acre Wood started with 7 iPads and now have 95!! Various uses across the school including:

  • Admin and Assessment in meetings
  • Used to engage students and as a motivator
  • Promoting independence
  • Used with all learners including PMLD
  • Use of the Peppa Pig apps for following verbal instructions and story sequencing

Richard Walker – The Vale – Touch Technologies

The presentation was about all touch technologies including Android and Window devices. Richard started by stating the innovation of touch technology in the form of tablets allowed us, as teachers to bring the technology towards the students and not the other way round. He found that students responded well to the technology; however there were issues with managing multiple devices in terms of app management. Currently in the UK there is no business version of Apple Configurator, which is discounted in the US to allow schools to purchase at a reduced price. Also he felt the camera on the iPad 2 was not particularly good (though this has been improved with the new iPad). Apps he recommended were:

Magic Piano – piano app that is easy for all students to play

Storykit – allows students to create their own stories with the iPad.

Maths age 3 to 5 – activities aimed at P8 –Level 1

Letterschool – an intuitive game to learn all about letters, numbers, writing, counting and phonics.

Madpad – music app that allows you to create music from everyday sounds.

Magic Guitar – guitar app that turns you iPad into a guitar.

Ann Middleton – CENMAC – iPads and Communication

CENMAC is a unique, London-based support service offering assessments, reviews and loan of equipment to help pupils with a disability access the curriculum using assistive technology. They have used iPads in various schools across the city for different uses – communication, mobility etc. Ann mentioned the importance that the devices were used to support teaching and learning and students needed to be assessed to ensure devices were suitable. She talked about the pro and cons of the iPad which have been summed up in the following table:



Students more willing to use rather than communication aids.Easy to carryPositive aspects for inclusion

One has broken – not as tough as they are thought to be.Proloquo2go – American voice and lots of editing needed to be effective.Wireless issues.

Use of restrictions


James Winchester – Oak Grove College – Apps and Blog

My presentation was based around the apps that I have found successful in enhancing teaching and learning. I have included the link to my hand-out below:

Roger Bates – Inclusive Technology – Mountings, Apps, etc.

The presentation looked at the various accessories you can get to improve the accessibility to the iPad ranging from cases to mounts for wheelchairs. For each accessory I have included a link to the relevant webpage on Inclusive Technologies website:

Big Grips – big chunky iPad case, provides good protection and allows users to change position easily.

Apple Configurator – used to manage multiple iPads.

Mounting arms with adapter for the iPad – great for wheelchair users to access the iPad.

Switch interface for the iPad via Bluetooth – allows switch access to control the iPad.

Chooseit apps – these are coming soon, but include apps for literacy, numeracy and science which will be switch accessible.

Discussion groups

In the afternoon, the delegates were split into groups to discuss how the iPad was used but more importantly why it was being used. The discussions were based around the following questions:

  • What makes an outstanding iPad?
  • What can iPads do that other ICT tools can’t?
  • What do iPads do better if so why?
  • What are the strength and weaknesses?

Below is the collection of all discussion notes from the afternoon:

To conclude I thought the day was very informative and would like to say a big thank you to Sally Paveley @sallypav for organising and all of the presenters for given such excellent contributions on the day.

iPad and Networking day – #ipadbridge – review of presentations – Part 1

A really insightful day looking at how professionals and schools working with SEN have implemented the iPad as a tool to support teaching and learning, in addition to breaking down some of barriers to learning that are in place for many of these learners. The theme from all of the delegates was that the iPad was not the answer to all problems, however it was a tool with so many uses and enables students with SEN to lead the learning.

This post is part one of the two where I will give an overview of some of the presentations that occurred in the morning. The second part will look at the other presentations and the discussions that took place in the afternoon.

John Roberts @johnmroberts – Presentation about how the iPad has helped develop his sons fine motor skills and his communication.

John gave an excellent presentation from the view of a parent and how the iPad has helped his son to develop his fine motor and communication skills. Through the use of apps like Peppa Pig and Talk 4 Me, his son is able to work on these skills and has helped him engage with others. Of particular note was that his son will now ask for the iPad when he wants to use it, whereas he would not communicate his needs verbally previously. Also he talked about how YouTube was a great motivator for his son to complete his work. More interesting though, was through the use of YouTube, they were discovering that he was able to follow threads to find things that interest him just by accessing videos and following similar links.

A really inspiring presentation to begin the day and it was great to see how the iPad had opened up the world of learning for his son.

Sean McDonald @seanfmcdonald – Richard Cloudesley School – iPads and Communication

Presentation about some of the apps that they have used in his school, with a particular focus on communication. Have added link to the App Store for each app:

Tap Speak Choice – allows scanning with a Bluetooth switch, PCS Symbols and you can add your own communication book.

Tap Speak Sequence – can store multiple conversations, Bluetooth switch and Airplay compatible.

Tap Speak Button – works like a big mac on the iPad!!!

Predictable – predictive text for those who use AAC devices. Allows switch access and the ability to update Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Gridplayer – Communication boards which use Widget symbols, comes with three complete grid sets. Sentences are spoken in English. Grids can be customised with PC software The Grid 2.

Proloquo2go – Another AAC app. Use of iPod touches to help communication in group settings. Showed an example of this, with a video where students were able to respond to group discussions with the use of iPods connected to external speakers. Excellent example of how the use of technology is helping students communicate and collaborate.

Diviya Garg – Willow Dene School – iPad ideas

Using the schools VLE/website to communicate with staff and parents about the apps they use in school, so that parents can continue learning at home. VLE also included booking section for staff to book out the class set of iPads. Well thought out use of VLE to share experiences of students using the iPad.

Bea Moreno – DownsView School – iPads and communication

Excellent presentation about the need to assess students on the suitability of the iPad as a communication tool. Key point was to ensure that clear aims were in place for using the iPad as a communication tool instead of other AAC devices. Communication app that was used was the Grace app which is a non-speaking, picture exchange app to help students communicate their needs independently.

Flo Longhorn – Sensory apps

Presentation about how the iPad can be used by all learners with the focus on accessibility. Flo demonstrated that the iPad is a device that can be used with your finger, hand, nose, tongue, well pretty much anything!!! Also championed its mobility by suggesting it can be used anywhere floor, table etc. I really liked the video of the student, who used a shoulder sling to enable them to use the iPad to play the harp – excellent example of how the iPad can be accessed by all. Flo also gave some examples of apps that she had used with learners:

Milk the Cow – very sensory and does what it says.

Brushes – great for drawing

Peekaboo Barn – students have to guess the animal from the sound and open the barn doors to see if they are right.

I will endeavour to write the second part of this post within the next week where I will cover the rest of the presentations and the discussions that took place in the afternoon. For the meanwhile have a think about ’What makes an Outstanding iPad?’………

The second part is now available click the link here iPad and Networking Part 2

iPad in a SEN Environment – Some of the uses.

Since integrating the iPad into our curriculum, students have had lots of learning opportunities which have come directly from the use of the iPad.  The abundance of apps and access to information on a vast range of topics allows students to pursue areas they are interested in learning about. In addition, the wireless capabilities of the iPad means it can be used anywhere especially with students of limited mobility who might not have the opportunity to interact with technology due to these restraints.  Also the instant start up time of the iPad means for greater use of classroom time in comparison to laptops and computers. The iPad has been used with a range of learners across the school and below is insight into some of the different apps that I have used on the iPad since January.

Sensory Apps – these have been particularly successful with students learning between P2 – P8. Simple cause and effect apps like Fireworks and Fish Pond allow the user to gain instant feedback on their actions in relation to the iPad. Users in PMLD are able to access the technology as they can have the tablet right in front of them.

Numeracy Apps – Specific apps have been used to target individual students ICLP targets. For example a level 3 student has been working on a Fractions app and is able to access this work independently. The teacher can also track their progress on the test that they complete.  Another example would be with a P8 student who generally is not motivated during Maths. With the iPad, he seems more interested in completing his work as it gives a new way of presenting content in a fun and engaging way.

Literacy Apps – Used for students to practice letter formations on the screen. A screenshot can be taken which then can be used for evidence. Spelling games encourage student to learn in a fun and motivational way.

Creative Apps – Students have had the opportunity to create their own puppets shows based on Aesop’s Fables.  The students were able to do this work themselves using the intuitive interface of the iPad, which makes it easy for any learner to use. Students gained confidence in their creating the puppet shows and allowed them to express their ideas in a creative way which can be difficult for our students, especially those with ASC. Students have also used Book Creator to create their own e-books using pictures and text.

Other areas we are currently looking into, is using the apps to help students communicate. The iPad is very cost effective when compared to AAC devices which start from £1000.  Apps like Choiceboard Maker and Gridplayer are useful communication apps and I am looking forward to putting these to the test.

This list is not exhaustive and there are many other benefits of using the iPad not only for students but for teachers in terms of productivity and creativity in lessons. The iPad should be used to support teaching and learning, and that it can be a valuable tool in doing this.

Overall the iPad has been successful because there are so many uses from a single device. The applications allow for so many different levels and have so many purposes, which makes it ideal for our school and students who have a diverse range of needs.

How much is that?… QR codes to help SEN Learners with money

Since Teachmeet Brighton last week, I have been thinking of ways that I could incorporate QR codes into my life skills curriculum. I wanted to use them to support students in developing their life skills and this week I have started to use them in our Meal Preparation Lesson. As part of the lesson, students have to compile a shopping list, checking to see what ingredients we already have from the recipe sheet and writing down the items they need to get individually from the supermarket. In the past we have given them an amount of money that would cover the costs of their items, but I wanted to give them more responsibility for this task.

This is where the QR codes come in……

For each item on the recipe sheet I have created a QR code which links to the supermarket website for that item. This gives the student an up to date price for their items which is quick and easy to access. Using a webcam, QR scanner software on a laptop and the QR scanner on the iPad, students are able to quickly find out how much their items cost. With this information they are able to decide how much money they need to take with them and select the appropriate coins themselves.

With the introduction of the QR codes I hope that the students will take more responsibility for their own understanding of the cost of items and apply their learning of the value of money and apply it in a practical way that will help them become more independent in an important life skill.



Teachmeet Brighton 2012 – #tmbton – Ideas to take away for SEN

On Thursday evening, in the fantastic surroundings of the Amex stadium, 100s of teachers from around the Brighton area came together to share ideas in the excellent model that is Teachmeet. Though a lot of the ideas and themes were from mainstream settings, they could also be used in a SEN setting. In this post, I will look at a few of these and delve into how I feel they could be used in SEN classrooms.

Flip Cameras – Jane Waite in her 2 minute presentation talked about how useful flip cameras were for students to showcase their work and increase engagement. I have used flip cameras in the classroom for lots of different things. Recording student’s responses to questions or for them to explain theme or concepts. Students who find it difficult to write their responses are often able to verbalise their responses far better. By recording their responses, students are able to instantly watch them back but also I can use them as evidence of their understanding. The nice thing about flip cameras is their simplicity, simply point and click to record videos. Most students are able to use these independently to capture their footage. I have had students film ‘How to’ videos using these with excellent results.

Blogging / Quadblogging – @traceyab1 – Another great presentation on the benefits of getting a class blogging. My class have started their own blog ( and the enthusiasm from the students to write their own posts is fantastic. They are motivated to share their experiences and it allows their creative juices to flow. I have already seen improvements in students’ literacy over the short time they have been blogging especially in sentence construction. Quadblogging was created by David Mitchell (@DeputyMitchell) and it involves four schools who blog forming a partnership where for one week the focus is on one of the school’s blogs. Students would visit this blog to read and post comments. After one week, the focus moves to another school’s blog. This puts a real emphasis for blogs to be written and students are motivated because they are writing to an audience and will receive feedback on their work. In addition, it provides students to link up with schools from around the world and learn about different cultures and experiences that they might never see first-hand.

Quadblogging is a great idea and I would like to see more special schools blogging. I find that it is mainly primary schools who are blogging. I would like my class to link up with other schools however I feel that it would be inappropriate for an SEN class of 16-19 years quadblogging with 6-7 year olds. Even though their academic levels may be similar, it would be more appropriate and beneficial for them to be conversing and sharing experiences with those of a similar age and level. So any special schools out there who are blogging or interested, give it a go and we are ready to share in this with you!!!.

QR Codes – @ictash – Brilliant presentation about using QR codes in the classroom – I have known about QR codes for a long time but it was only after seeing Simon Cobb’s presentation that the penny dropped for me. These are an excellent tool in SEN to allow students to access websites independently. The idea is that a website URL can be generated into a QR code and using a webcam and QR scanner software they can be scanned and this automatically opens up the browser to the relevant website. I have found that with our students once on the website are able to navigate them but struggle with entering the address. This gives them the tools to do this by themselves and you could also link to pictures and videos that are relevant on the web.

Flipped Classroom – @Mr_BRouse Another great idea that I had heard of before but Ben Rouse presentation ( allowed me to see it in action. The idea is that at home students learn the basics through videos explaining the concepts with teacher instructions and examples of exam solutions. These are repeatable so that students can replay the information over and over to help them learn the themes of the topic. In the classroom, the students are then able to apply these basics in differentiated tasks with the expert (teacher) in the class to support them. I have taken some time to think about how I could use this with my class and I am going to experiment with something next term. In their Meal Preparation lesson, students have a new meal to cook every 6 weeks. In partnership with the parents we send the recipe sheets home so that the students can transfer these skills in a different environment. From next term, with my TA’s, I am going to film a step-by-step video showing how to prepare the meal to accompany the recipe sheet. Students will then have a visual reminder of how to make the meal which they will be able to access at home. By practising the skills at home in this way I hope that they are able to make more progress in class and begin to learn recipes without having to use the support sheets.

Along with these presentations there many others which I found very interesting –

Socrative – @pegleggen – a student response system that allows you to gauge student understanding using quizzes and games.

Westdene School Teachers – Use of VLE, BYOD and PuppetPals HD app for iPad.

Apps for Good – encouraging students to tackle problems for the social good using mobile apps.

All the presentations were excellent and thought provoking and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Thanks to Iris Connect for sponsoring the event and @pmp4 for hosting.

Looking forward to the next one!!!

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