Over the last year, I have looked at developing my knowledge of using switches for ICT with groups of students who are around P3- P7 on the P-Scales. (more info on P-scales found here) I had some basic knowledge of how switches enabled students to access computers but in terms of assessment and planning for progression I needed to do more research.
Thankfully, I came across Inclusive Technologies Switch Progression Road Map, which was written by Ian Bean (@SENICT) whilst he was working there. This free booklet details the different stages of switch acquisition from cause and effect to students scanning the screen and pressing the button at the right time. Also it gives you a suitable progression route for learners to develop their skills and suggestion of activities to use. I found the document invaluable in helping me plan activities for the students that were meaningful for them.
One of the most important lessons that I have learnt using this software and from various webinars I have attended is that the motivation for accessing the activity has to be there. It is no use using the same activity for different students as they may not be motivated by the same things. For example, in my class last year, I had a student at P1ii in terms of baseline assessment of switch skills. He loved spending time with his family, so I created an activity that would play a video of his mum or dad saying hello to him. At first, it took him a while to understand that pressing the switch played the video, but over time he began to link the two together and even after the activity, he would walk to the smartboard to indicate that he wanted more. This was huge progress and we have added in a choice of videos so that he can choose which one he wants by selecting a picture first before using the switch to activate it. In the course of two terms he was now proactively seeking out opportunities to use the switch and had moved to P3ii on the road-map.
Much can be said that motivation for all learners is key and this experience really brought home to me the importance of motivation. especially when working with low-level students. I know from speaking to lots of schools that they already use this road-map, I just wanted to share my experiences in using this.
If you want to use the progression road-map the link is below and I would recommend it to all who use switches with their students in a SEN setting.
Have also attached the Baseline Assessment Sheet which comes with the road-map but have put it into a word document for easily editing.
I am very much looking forward to the Touch Screen Progression Road-map being released as I feel this would really help in terms of planning for and assessing use of tablets with SEN learners on the P scales.