One subject dear to my heart is special educational needs in school. Helping students overcome barriers to learning is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Since teaching with an iPad I have new options available to me that are helping the students in my class. Here are a few ways they help:
Slow writers: some students get lost in a time warp while the class are breezing through your board work. By using ‘Paper‘ to write my board work, I am able to freeze my screen and pop the ipad in front of the student to go back a few pages. It’s been greatly appreciated by my students and a simple solution.
Dyslexia: in an education system geared up around the written word, being dyslexic hinders progress in lessons. I try to avoid marking all the spelling mistakes and instead give my students iPads with ‘Pages’ loaded up. Every time my students go to write difficult words they either speak it or type it. I also encourage them to speak their work out to check spellings after they have finished.
Screen colours: a classic piece of advice when learning about dyslexia is that the colour of your paper and backgrounds greatly affects the easy at which students can read. By using ‘Paper‘ you can easily drag any colour from the pallet on to the screen and tailor the colours to your audience.
Mind maps: my favourite teaching moment this term was showing two dyslexic students how they can quickly mind map their coursework and with a press of a button turn it into an essay structure. The app I used is called ‘Inspiration‘ and comes with a series of templates built in. Their faces showed a eureka moment and they flew with it.
Spoken work: as teachers we can often think that work = writing. Now we have the option for work to be spoken and written. A great app for this is ‘Explain everything‘. Allowing students to explain what they know helps them move on without writing blocking progress to higher learning skills.
Apps: there are a number of specialised SEN apps. A great starting place is a great Pinterest board run by Carol Caldwell.