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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 09/26/12
Special Ed teacher outlines
benefits of kids using iPads
by KIMBERLY SCHERERWhile the Romeo Community School District has been taking steps to add more cutting-edge technology into the classrooms for their students and staff, one teacher had the opportunity to take the iPad for a test run with her students.
Observer Special Writer
Special education teacher Janet Austin, who also oversees the resource room at Hevel Elementary, was able to test out 10 iPads for nine weeks during the last school year. She presented her experience to the Romeo Community Schools Board of Education during its Sept. 17 meeting.
"My goal was to see how this technology could be utilized for my students . . . to make sure they're successful," Austin said.
For her special education students, the iPad was customized with certain applications tailored to the specific need of each student. For example, one of her students had trouble understanding the lessons when they were first presented. With the aid of an app, he recorded the teacher's lecture while taking notes. When studying at home, he was able to review the recording to get a better grasp of the material.
In the resource room, Austin said students were able to make their book reports come alive. She also saw a student who consistently got 60 percent marks on her spelling tests improve to 81 percent. On her final, she achieved 100 percent on the test. This was all thanks to an app geared to help with spelling. She said it motivated the student so much that she even stayed inside during recess to practice.
In another noteworthy instance in the resource room, Austin said she was with a fourth grade class learning about the constellations and stars. With the help of an app, she and her students all laid on their backs and held the iPads up to see what was above them.
"Lying down on the job came with a new meaning," she said.
One student exclaimed "I just found Jupiter."
The technology with the iPad was not just limited to the students. Austin said she was able to collect data, observe students and email results to parents. She said the technology is worth the cost and does hold merit in the classroom.
"I saw a positive growth in their academics, their effort, their enthusiasm and their behavior," Austin said.