Monthly Archives: April 2012

Tech Ideas for SEN

The purpose of this post is to explore some of the technology that myself and some of my colleagues are hoping to implement in our school over the next year.  We have set up an ICT working group with two aims. The first is to explore cost effective ways of using technology to create engaging and creative uses of ICT. The second is to explore new technology and see what potential it may have for SEN learners.

The discussion started with an introduction to some of the ideas we have come across in the last couple of months.

Po-Motion Interactive Floor and Wall Software: 

A cost effective way of creating your own interactive floor and wall display. All you need is a projector, computer, web-cam and the Po-motion software. This is free software  (UPDATE  – since writing this the software is no longer free – cost around £20) that is available for download from the link above.  We have trialled this in classrooms already and are looking to add it the sensory room next. Will blog more on the progress of this as we get started. Below is a video explaining how Po-Motion works:

Raspberry Pi

The original idea for using Raspberry Pi as a cheap solution came from Julian S. Wood (@ideas_factory). He blogged about using the mobile version of the Chrome operating system: Chromium OS to turn old laptops and netbooks into Chromebooks. He also mentioned using Raspberry Pi for this. An excellent idea and something we are looking to do to recycle our old laptops.

QR Codes

QR codes are similar to barcodes and enable you to link websites, videos, recordings etc. to a code which can be read with a webcam/smartphone/ipad to take the user directly to the content. What I like is that is provides a cheap solution to those students who are unable to type web addresses but can navigate sites once they are on them. I have already experimented with using these in our Life Skills curriculum which you can read more about here.

3M Camcorder Projector 

Again I first saw this being demonstrated by Carol Allen (@caroljallen) at the Teachmeet SEN held in Leicester in February.   We already use flip cameras in the school which are great as they provide instant feedback for students with simple interface that the majority of our students can use. The great thing about this camcorder projector is that you are able to project a 65” screen onto any surface. This is great for showing groups of students their work instantly without any fiddling about for wires and transferring files to the computer.

Swivl Camera Holder – 

This is a camera holder which takes a flip camera or an iPhone. Originally designed for bloggers to film themselves, the Swivl base automatically follows a receiver to ensure that you are always in the shot.  Since first seeing this in January, more people are seeing a use for it in education. One of the uses we are looking to use it for is assessment as you could attach the receiver to a student and the camera will automatically follow that student and allows you to continue teaching the lesson. Another use could be to film videos for Flipped Classrooms.  They have also created a site dedicated for education http://www.swivl.com/education/

Microsoft Kinect

Having already seen some excellent work from Ceri Williams (@ceriwilliams) on the use of the Kinect in Special Education – http://primaryparper.wordpress.com/ I have been intrigued about the potential for it in the classroom.  A colleague of mine Keith Manville (Linkedin Profile) has done some excellent research into potential uses of the Kinect which include motion capture and augmented reality.  You can view his presentation below –

The use of augmented reality is something that I can see have a huge potential especially with the use of sensory stories. Imagine when a student points the iPad at the a picture in the sensory story and that picture comes alive in front of there eyes. If you want to see for yourself the power of AR have a look at the following websites and download the corresponding apps:

Konstruct: http://apps.augmatic.co.uk/konstruct

String: http://www.poweredbystring.com/product

Microsoft have now released the Windows version of the Kinect and there are developers out there who are creating some interesting applications for the device. KinectEDucation is one site that has a community of developers specifically for education.  This is an area that I am quite excited by and look forward to keeping you posted on this.

I would be very interested in hearing from other professionals who may have already trialled the some of the ideas from this post and hope the post has got you thinking about the potential that new and existing technology can have for SEN teaching.

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