The Watson Institute’s special education teachers and instructional aides create high-quality learning environments in the classrooms, adapting daily activities to meet each students’ needs. One of the many ways Watson staff adapt to the students’ needs is through utilization of special education technology in the classrooms – such as smart boards, iPads, and iPad apps.
SMART Board as a Special Education Technology Tool
Special education teachers and aides in Life Skills classrooms at the Education Center Sewickley incorporate SMART Boards into their daily schedules. SMART Boards are the technical equivalent of a dry-erase or chalk board and they enable users to project images, videos, and software programs onto the screen, and are also enabled for interactive use through touch sensors.
Teachers at Watson in Life Skills classrooms use their SMART Boards as an interactive technology in special education to run their daily morning meetings. During morning meeting, students –many of whom have an Autism Spectrum Disorder- participate in activities which help them to work on turn taking, interactive learning and engagement, as well as fine motor skills such as touch training, writing, and cause and effect.
Throughout morning meeting, students are encouraged to participate in each activity, raising their hands to be called on for a trip to the SMART Board. Activities include selecting the correct month, day, and date, choosing what the weather is like outside, and also selecting what season it is.
“The kids love to come up to the board. Each student’s sign-in screen is different based on the goals they are working towards. One student may be working on writing, another may be working on arranging the letters of his name in the proper order. Everything is done with an educational goal in mind.” said Michelle Ritton, a special education teacher at the Education Center.
Teachers and aides work with each student individually and adapt the meetings to ensure each student is working towards their own individualized education goals.
For information on special education classrooms and technology, check out the Watson Institute’s special education resources.
Be sure to check back, because our next special education technology piece is how our teachers use iPads and iPad apps for children with special needs.