Tips2012: Using iPads to support students with diverse learning needs

iPads are an excellent way to provide individualized learning materials and re-inforcement for students with a wide range of learning abilities.

Differentiating Instruction

  • The iPads provide a way for teachers to provide each learner with activities suited to their learning needs.Teachers can use Dropbox to send documents and links to individual students’ folders, which contain their individualized learning materials.
  • They can also be used to provide extension activities for students who need higher-order thinking challenges. These can take the form of webquests, quizzes and polling (Socrative), treasure hunts with QR Codes (QRafter), and geocaching.
Scaffolding Learning
  • iPads can be used to scaffold learning for students who need additional support. The screen-casting apps (ShowMe, Explain Everything, Educreations) and video creation apps (iMovie, Reel Director, Camera) allow teachers and students to produce screencasts and short instructional videos to provide “just in time” support for students.
  • The use of instructional video for learning provides support that is emotionally neutral, and can be viewed repeatedly until the student feels the concepts have been clearly demonstrated and understood.
Sensory Learning
  • The use of the iPad touch surface reinforces learning using the sense of touch, which is a very powerful way of learning for many students (Toddler SandboxSkitch)
  • The audio feedback included in many apps is another way to support learning. Many eBooks and iBooks include an audio track which reads the print while highlighting the words. This multi-sensory mode uses the senses to provide stimulus and feedback for the learner.
Supporting Learning
  • Students who need support taking notes will find “AudioNote” useful. AudioNote will record the speaker while the student types notes, creating an audio recording of the lesson to review learning.

Supporting Communication

  • There are a wide selection of apps, eg. SOSH, to support students who have difficulty communicating. The Special Needs links in the TIPS 2012 sidebar contain lots of excellent examples of apps designed to support learners with diverse needs.
Do you have a favourite app for supporting students with diverse learning needs? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below! 

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #18: GoodReader

GoodReader is a good file management app. You can use it to save, organise, and read PDF files, MS Office & Apple iWork documents, Pages, Keynote, Numbers), images, webpages, audio, and video → all in one application on your iPad. You can then project these files on your IWB using the VGA connect kit (approx $30).

GoodReader can handle files in excess of 1GB, and allows users to easily transfer files via USB (here’s how), internal school WiFi networks, Internet, or email. It seamlessly integrates with Google Docs, Dropbox, Box.net, and WebDAV servers, and comes with built-in security options.

While setting up WiFi and school server connections can be a little technical, this app is highly recommended for iPad classrooms! It is a fantastic app for reducing paper-use in schools and classrooms – just make sure you read the User Manual first!

For: Students, Teachers

Cost: Around $5 (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Yes (for syncing)

Educational Applications

  • Annotate running records
  • complete observation surveys and  assessment checklists
  • Store important documents e.g. professional learning resources
  • Store and manage eBooks, textbooks, and worksheets
  • Annotate PDF files (note-taking)
  • Reduce paper use!

Further Reading

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #2: Dropbox

Dropbox is a desktop and mobile app which enables users to quickly and easily sync and share files between multiple computers and mobile devices. All you need is an Internet connection. No manuals. No fuss. It’s fast, simple, and secure.

Dropbox (for PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, etc) has many educational applications, and can be used by students, teachers, and administrators alike. New users get 2GB free storage, which can be increased via paid subscription, or by promoting Dropbox.

In many cases, Dropbox can be used to remove teachers’ & students’ work off iPads – many apps allow users to “Export to Dropbox”, eliminating the need to constantly sync with iTunes.

For: Students, Teachers, Administrators

Cost: 2GB Free (Desktop Download, iTunes Download)

Requires WiFi?: Yes

Educational Applications

    • Access and share your planning documents, worksheets, and files anywhere, anytime, on any device. No need to worry about losing your USB.
    • Share documents and resources for project collaboration
    • Share files (e.g. movies, podcasts) that are too large to email
    • Students can submit homework, projects etc via shared Dropbox folders

 

Recommended Reading

To get started with Dropbox, we recommend reading the ‘User Guide’ from StaffHacker, and explore Jeff Thomas’s “The Complete Dropbox for Educators