iPad Helps Special Education Students Learn, Communicate

In another example of special education teachers using iPads and other tablets to help their students express themselves in the classroom, one New York teacher has tested around 900 apps to teach her students a variety of skills.

Vicki Windman, who teaches intellectually disabled students between the ages of 14 and 21, wrote in a post on EdSurge about her experience incorporating technology into her special education classroom at Clarkstown High School South in New York. The process required innovation. Most of her students read at a K-2 level. Because of visual-motor problems, many had trouble

switching between looking at a computer’s keyboard and the screen.

But the effectiveness of these technology lessons has become dramatically more apparent in recent years as tablets like the iPad have made their way into the classroom. The first app Windman tried with her student was Proloquo2Go. With its extensive library of preloaded images and phrases, such as “I want…”, the app allowed nonverbal students to communicate and interact with others in ways that their teacher and their parents had never seen before. The app could be personalized with names and personal favorites to fit the vocabulary of individual students. It was immediately successful, and Wideman went to the district to seek their support.

Her district readily agreed, and in the two years since then, almost every special education student has been provided with an iPad filled with apps that work towards the students’ individual goals. Wideman writes that she has spent thousands of hours evaluating educational apps, especially focusing on ones that promote literacy, given the difficulties some of her students have reading. Like other educators, she hasn’t found many apps that comprehensively address reading comprehension, writing and spelling, especially for special needs students. To remedy that, she usually employs a variety of apps. She has begun compiling a list, which is below.

Claire Perlman

Claire Perlman is a senior at UC Berkeley who covers Technapex's higher education beat. She is majoring in English literature and worked at her college’s student newspaper, The Daily Californian, for two years as a science reporter and news editor. She is currently working at UC Berkeley’s Mark Twain Project transcribing Twain’s letters and unpublished manuscripts.

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About Claire Perlman

Claire Perlman is a senior at UC Berkeley who covers Technapex's higher education beat. She is majoring in English literature and worked at her college’s student newspaper, The Daily Californian, for two years as a science reporter and news editor. She is currently working at UC Berkeley’s Mark Twain Project transcribing Twain’s letters and unpublished manuscripts.