Technology Integration In K12 Education/Technology in a Special Education Setting
Smartboards in special ed classroom
Technology is needed in every classroom regardless what type of classroom it is. From gym to special education all of these types of classes use some sort of technology to advance their students knowledge and speed up the learning process. I believe that technology is used more in a special education classroom than in any other classroom or class setting because of all the different types of students and their needs that need to be met to make their education the best it can possibly be. I will focus on the use of SMARTboards in the typical special ed. classroom; first I will inform you on what a SMARTboard are exactly, then how it is useful in special ed. classrooms, and lastly how the students react to the SMARTboard. Technology is a necessity in today’s classrooms without it our students would not be as advanced and would be stuck in the times if not exposed to the new innovative technology that has been presented to them.
First of all the SMARTboard is an interactive white board that was invented by SMART Technologies in 1991. SMARTboard users must also have a projector to project the image of the computer screen onto the SMARTboard. Usually the SMARTboard is mounted to the wall or is put on a wheeling cart. This way the SMARTboard is out of the way or it is movable and can be transferred from room to room making it more useful for a school that can not afford one in every room. The SMARTboard does not use keyboards or a mouse, but it uses the touch of your hand or one of the tools that come along with the SMARTboard. The tools that come with the Smart board consist of 3 pens where you can switch the colors or even change one into a highlighter to highlight important information on the board and an eraser so a teacher or student can erase the writing with out a mess. The SMARTboard pens creat a digital line when being used on the SMARTboard as if one was using the program paint and made a line with the free draw tool. The SMARTboard also helps with handwriting. When a students or teacher writes a letter on the board it transforms it into the actual letter in the default font. If a student writes anything similar enough to a letter the SMARTboard will try its best to make it a letter. This means that the SMARTboard can depict some of the toughest hand writing. The SMARTboard can do more than this but these are some of the general things that most teachers use in their classrooms.
The SMARTboard is great in any kind of special education classroom. Whether the classroom is inclusive with a few students with disabilities or if it is strictly just a special education classroom the SMARTboard can be put to great use to get the student up and involved in the classroom. First off the SMARTboard is new technology and all students love new things that can do things that we not done before. Students will be more likely to volunteer and come up to the board just to try writing and erasing on the new piece of equipment. The SMARTBoard also allows teachers to address different learning styles. These learning styles consist of visual, auditory and kinesthetic. The SMARTboard technology engages all types of students and facilitates differentiated instruction, which in special education is needed because each disability is different and each student has different needs that need to be met. As an educator its is out responsibility to maximize the students fullest potential and by differentiated instruction and individualized instruction through the SMARTboard this will be able to occur. SMARTboards help with many types of disabilities with social skills and being part of a team. Team projects and collaboration can occur when students would have to put together a project. Students will learn how to become leaders and also to listen better to their fellow peers to create and finish the project. The project could have a deadline so it would be as if it was a real word business project. The mouse and keyboard of a computer may be very hard for a student to use and maneuver. The SMARTboard allows students to draw or write just like they do on paper to represent their ideas on the computer. Typing will be something that may come easier for them now if they can just write their letters on the SMARTboard and have them transformed into the font they choose. To me the SMARTboard evens the playing field for all students with or without a disability. Lastly teachers love SMARTboards to create presentations and lessons on PowerPoint or on the computer that are exciting and interactive. These lessons keep the students engaged and keep them from getting sidetracked and off task. An example would be if a PowerPoint was made with interactive buttons for a multiple choice quiz. Students could volunteer and come to the board to select a button on the touch screen and test their knowledge on the recent lesson. SMARTboards provide many tools for students of all skills and needs and soon every classroom will have one.
Students love to use SMARTboards because it gets them up out of their seat and moving keeping them engaged in the activity. The students do not realize they are learning while having fun. Keeping lessons fun for students will help them learn better and also give them something to be excited about. Huge strides have been made by students with special needs because of technology and SMARTboards have a huge affect on that. They used SMARTboards in one of the special education classrooms in my high school and the students all felt like they got a great gift from the school because they could watch youtube clips on their free time on there and also do things they could not do before. SMARTboards were made for the educational purposes but if the students have some free time they found ways to use the SMARTboard for entertainment as well, which is still improving social skills because they are talking to other students about what is fun and how to work the new equipment. Hopefully every classroom, not just special education classrooms, will have a SMARTboard so they too can watch their students learn and grow at a faster rate.
Proloquo2Go is an ap, just like any other ap, on iPads, iPods (iTouch) and iPhones. The only difference is that this ap allows children, adults, anyone to communicate with others when they may otherwise be unable to. Users need to press pictures or type out a message to communicate a thought. It it has a default of over 7000 items! It is often used as a great solution for children and adults with cerebral palsey, autism, apraxia, down syndrome or developmental disabilities. It also can be used for adults who have acquired disabilities, like those who have suffered from a stroke or traumatic brain injury.
One advantage of Proloque2Go is the inexpensive price. You can find iPads for $499, iTouch for $229 and iPhones for $99 (with contract). The ap itself costs $189. Compared to other Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ACC) devices, which are in the thousands, these devices are incredibly inexpensive. It is compatible if not better then these thousand dollar devices, and must more portable. Because of its low costs, therapists and special educators are jumping at the idea of buying these devices. Another advantage is its portability and design. By using these Apple devices as a medium, they are extremely portable. All of them can fit in a pocket and have many accessories to personalize it. These devices are also a common thing to be carried around. Teenagers may like that it is not a noticeable thing to be carrying; many people carry apple devices around. They are not the big plastic squares like other ACC devices. Easy to use is a really big advantage for Proloque2Go. There is an easy to follow tutorial that gives you the main rundown of the ap (http://www.proloquo2go.com/resources/article/introductory-videos) . You can either type out what you want to say and it will speak it or put it in pictures or you can pick out PECS and have the device read them as words or as a full sentence. It also has a memory on there, so previous statements you have made on Proloque2Go are saved on there. You can take these previous stated items and save them to your device for future use.
One disadvantage is that users with motor control difficulties may have problems using the device. On the iPod and iPhone the 3.5 inch touch screen makes is not an appropriate size for those with motor impairments. The program does not allow changes to screen sensitivity, which is something very common on other ACC devices to adjust to tremors or accidental activations.
“I love this app for a lot of reasons. Let’s start with what I consider the best reason to use this iPhone and iPad app. What could be cooler than using an ipad instead of a bulky communication device? As a therapist, one of my primary goals is considered to be establishing the least restrictive environment. Adaptive equipment traditionally is big and cumbersome and screams DISABILITY. It commands unwanted attention and can bring embarrassment to the user. Obviously I like Proloquo2Go because it can be used on the iPhone or iPad. To quote the Proloquo2Go rep “It is one thing to have a solution that assists you in completing a task or taking part in an activity; it is something else if that solution presents itself just like any mainstream consumer product and treats its user like any regular member of society.” -Milestone Mom “I just download this yesterday. It took me 15 mins. to get it up and running. Programming and making changes in 20 min. I had purchase a DYNAVOX for my son a few years ago. It was hard to make changes, not parent friendly, very hard to program on the spot. My son became very discourage. So I was told about your product my a wonderful man, name Brian Friedlander. He has been my mentor on assistive technology for a long time. Well, He hit this one on the nose. My son thinks it is GREAT! Today in 10 min I added a few more thinks that we needed. AS a MOM how can I every thank you so very much for this wonderful product. You do not have to spend $thousands like Dynavox and it is up and running. GREAT PRODUCT!!!! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!!” - Debra Moorer
This easy to use, inexpensive program is becoming more and more popular through parents, therapists and special educators. Its portability and design are perfect for not sticking out of the crowd. By having the ability to use both text and pictures, it brings a new learning experience for children to connect the two while communicating.