This week, I had the opportunity to attend an Apple educational showcase event. It was titled “Engaging, enhancing and inspiring – Breaking down barriers to learning”. Within the half-day format, I believe that it was indeed engaging, enhancing and inspiring.
Although hosted by Apple, the three presenters were from across Canada and Europe. We were treated to: a school program from Ontario, a post-secondary blind student and a software programmer/company founder.
Twentieth Street School has regular and inclusive special education programming. Sabir, the principal spoke about the school context and about her excitement in receiving an iDevice. Enter, Andre, a former CA, now second year teacher, who took the iPod Touch and some apps (like Proloquo2Go, Google, Weather, Dragon Dictation, Voice Memos.)
Andre’s well planned presentation run from his iPodTouch (gotta get me that app!), showed how he used this device in his inclusive specialized classroom for information and communication. His students would search, use online encyclopedias, local weather, how-to videos. They also worked on expanding their communication with others
through using pics and symbols, creating digital stories, making movies and developing oral fluency. Challenges for
Andre have been ensuring that his students use the
equipment safely and knowing how to effectively and purposefully use the technology without creating any anxiety for a student. Benefits are that the iPod touch is lightweight, apps have been easy to use, all learning styles can be
accommodated, students enjoy the tool since it is at their fingertips (where the active learning happens). Andre had some wonderful student video clips to show how students were using the iPod.
Jessica Rathwell is a creative writing and digital studies student who is blind. She walked up to the front of the room with her seeing eye dog and iPad. She spoke confidently and clearly about how, since June 2009, her whole world has been opened to many opportunities that ‘seeing’ people already have. The date is significant since this is when Apple brought out accessibility settings as part of their iPhone. Now these settings are part of all Apple products. Jessica pointed out features such as voiceover, zoom, contrast switching, monoaudio, Bluetooth Braille, apps like Pages.
I tweeted that: AssistiveWare’s David saying his products r made 4 universal access- ppl ONLY ltd by creativity n talent not by impairment…
Other tweets during the morning and afternoon –
Great vision to push for fuller or more complete access for all instead of pushing a single app – assistiveware from @jonathankonrad
AssistiveWare’s tech is impressive and liberating for all those with impairments. Tech IS the great equalizer! from @MultiMediaGrrl
Proloque2go can be demo-ed at any Apple Store from @MrAaronBall
I am really impressed with assistiveware.com, and the tech solutions they develop for special ed from @danielespejo
The switchX demo was cool. Also would benefit from a doc cam showing the iPad under click control from @jonathankonrad
Below you see the links shared by David via @agauld (Allan, Apple Ed Acct Exec):
Mac products http://bit.ly/AWMac
AssistiveWare Videos http://bit.ly/hRl6iB
AssistiveWare Site www.assistiveware.com
AssistiveWare FAQ http://bit.ly/AWSP
iPad Case http://www.amdi.net/iadapter/
Overall, it is important for school personnel to be exposed to as much information, resources, and successful teaching strategies that are available in this digital era.
What an exciting time for our students!
Further links shared by @agauld:
Special Education Sign LanguageApps