Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Journal 9

Journal 9

Getting, S. & Swainey,K. (2012). First graders with ipads?. Learning and leading with technology , 40(1), 24-27. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Store/Product.aspx?ID=2515

Two first grade teachers in Minnesota documented the use of iPads to increase students’ reading.  The students were grouped based on RtI testing.  The teachers found apps to target several areas of reading including sight words, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and literacy.  The teachers found that by using iPads, they were able to address technology standards while targeting reading intervention.

Overall, the teachers noted elevated average gains and higher end-of-year scores for students who used iPads.  In addition to recording data on achievement, the teachers also documented students’ time on task (TOT).  They found that one group increased its TOT by 20%, while another group increased by 15%.

The teachers also discussed how it was essential for them to collaborate with each other.  They met twice a week in order to plan and reflect on their project.  They even provided training for other staff members at their school in order to encourage the use of iPads in other classrooms.  The teachers overcame obstacles of funding and availability of apps for specific reading skills.  Since some of the apps were too noisy, they received funding from the PTA to purchase headphones in order to reduce the noisy disruption.  The teachers enjoyed using the iPads with their students, and found that they made a positive difference in sight word recognition, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary recognition and meaning.

Q1:  Why did students’ time on task increase as a result of using the iPads?

A1:  Students nowadays are used to being entertained by technology, such as television, video games, and computers.  Teachers constantly need to search for ways to engage and stimulate their students.  By using new and exciting interactive apps on iPads, students are more likely to stay on task during a lesson. 

Q2:  How might I go about acquiring the funds to purchase iPads for my classroom? 

A2:  I can search and apply for grants and scholarships.  I can also connect with the teachers who wrote the article through Twitter or email, as they included their contact information.  I also can create fundraisers throughout the community.        

Monday, August 6, 2012

Journal 8 - Adaptive Technology

Adaptive Technology


     AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) is any form of communication (other than oral speech) that is used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas.  It is the supplementation or replacement of natural speech and/or writing using aided and/or unaided symbols.

An example of a low-tech communication device is using PECS (Picture Exchange Cards).  One popular software programs used to make PECS is BoardMaker.  This software contains over 3,000 Picture Communication Symbols and is recognized as a top tool for educators and SLPs (speech and language pathologists) for creating printed classroom materials such as schedules, worksheets, reading and writing activities,
communication boards, and more.   

In my classroom, I use PECS with my students who have difficulty communicating verbally.  My students also benefit from using visuals.  I keep a set of PECS on a key ring that I carry with me at all times.  Sometimes when I need to communicate with a student, I will show him a specific PEC.  I also use PECS to create schedules and other visual resources for my students. 

High-tech AAC devices permit the storage and retrieval of messages, many of which allow the use of speech output.  An example of a high-tech communication device is an iPod touch or iPad.  There are various software programs that can be utilized with an iPod or iPad.   

In my classroom, one of my students uses an iPod touch to communicate.  In order to model the use of the software, I communicate with him in addition to verbal communication.   


An input device is something that is used to put information into a computer.  Examples of input devices are cameras, keyboards, computer mice, and touch screens.

An example of an accessibility option is an iPod touch with Touch Chat software.  TouchChat software enables Apple’s iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad devices to play an important role in providing an alternative voice for individuals who cannot use their natural speech.  There are multiple forms of communication available in the program: sentences, phrases, and individual words.  There are picture icons on each button, with the exception of several core words.      

In my classroom, my student uses TouchChat software on his iPod touch.  This software works great for him because of the predictability grammar feature.  This means that the screens will automatically change when a particular button is selected.  The new page will contain words that will allow a sentence to be formed.  I can edit the pages in order to add new buttons, or change the icon picture.  For example, I can add new buttons under the science button that will correspond to our classroom curriculum.  After the sentence or phrase is constructed, the device will speak, allowing others to understand the message and also give my student a model.  He will then repeat what has been spoken by the device.  

For more AAC devices, see the following blogs:
Noah Barringer  
Amy Dellar