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.