The use of technology with children with SEN is increasing, they find it accessible and it can capture their imagination. Although, a lot of their parents are very worried about the level of screen time their child has per day, this great iBook, written by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center (Seasame Street!), discusses how to turn this round into using apps (games, books, creation tools etc) for spending quality time with children, it gives a selection of apps and ideas of how to use them in a family context. A great read for any teacher or parent, I will most certainly be sharing this with parents of our children.
After looking on the Apple Store one evening whilst bored, looking for Christmas presents for myself, I stumbled across two products that looked exciting, Tiggly Shapes and Tiggly Numbers (not for me strictly, but I have played with them!) They struck me as being great for the SEN classroom and for my home!
Tiggly Shapes (£24.99) was the product I went for first, for the simple reason I have a two year old son and the shapes are targeted for 18months upwards , whereas the Numbers are for three up.
The shapes are four brightly coloured rubber coated objects that have small ‘feet’ that the iPad can sense. They are very comfortable to hold and are large enough for those with motor issues to find holding easy.
There are three free apps that are available for the Tiggly Shapes to interact with, these are:
Tiggly Safari – teaches shape names by playing shape ‘snap’.
Tiggly Draw – stamping the Tiggly Shapes on the screen creates animated characters, that are named and can be moved around on screen.
Tiggly Stamp – uses the Tiggly Shapes to stamp a shape on the screen, then use the inbuilt tools to add features to these shapes, creating fun faces, that are animated, creating a larger picture.
Also available is Tiggly Christmas for £1.49, I am yet to try this for the obvious reason of it no longer being Christmas and its price!
The three free apps are great fun and would be an ideal way of teaching shapes, fine and gross motor skills, colours as well as being creative and entertaining.
I can’t wait to get some of these for school (or borrow my sons set!) and try them with those children working in lower P levels and the EYFS. I’m sure the children (and staff) will love them too! It won’t be long before I get a set of the numbers too! Great work Tiggly, on combining the old with the new!!
As a SEN teacher I am always looking for something to ‘hook’ the children into behaving in and out of classroom. Around a year ago I did some work with Trilby, our training partner, Ben and Neil happened to mention the website and App, ClassDojo. During the following weeks I looked at ClassDojo and was immediately struck by the fact that it was visually appealing to me and looked easy to use. Over the coming months I tested it out with my class, to find the best way to integrate ClassDojo into the behaviour reward systems for the children.
This year I hit the ground running with my new class and began using ClassDojo in conjunction with a marble reward system. This works something like this:
We set up ClassDojo with class agreed positive and negative behaviours, we give points at the end of each lesson. At the end of the day we look at the Class Reports generated for each child, a great visual idea of how they have got on for the day, green = good and red = bad, to this end we give a varying quantity of marbles, 3 for 100%, 2 for 90% etc
The children then save their marbles in jars and when full, get a reward, certificate and a sticker for their chart. Upon filling 5 jars they get a super prize!
We gave the children the ownership of the positive and negative behaviours, they were given a login (on a one off) and designed their own avatar for their monster!
The children love using this system, and the behaviour has been exceptional this year thus far (have I just jinxed it!) We have ‘rolled’ ClassDojo out across the school and with bit of work we have managed to get most classes linked with each other, enabling us to give points for those good things you see as your walking the corridors! I can recommend ClassDojo to any SEN or primary teacher, i’m sure you will have as much joy with it as I am having.
Our ClassDojo behaviour reward board:
After using Aurasma to great effect this year, I decided to get the WOW factor into our christmas cards!
Aurasma is an App and website that allows you to create videos and attach them to any trigger image. There are some great guides to using Augmented reality in education in the iBook store:
I also read a few posts by iPadWells around the subject!
The children started off by creating a christmas card design, as in years gone by. We then used YakItKids App (iPhone App, so change your setting when searching!) to create a short video, animating the christmas card design by adding eyes, mouths and the children’s voices. These videos were then exported to Photos for the next step.
The next part of the process involved using Aurasma, we created a new account and channel before hand and allowed the children in the class to follow the process. This involves adding a video (YakItKids video) to a trigger image (our christmas card. then saving it in a public channel so that parents could access the videos on their iOS or Android device. A video explaining the process can be found below:
I placed a small flyer explaining, simply, how to access the videos on the rear of the card, we also told the children to get their parents to access Aurasma and find the channel. With a little practice this is a fun way of making things a little more exciting. Have a go, don’t be scared!
The children loved this process and we all hope that the parents get to see their videos. Happy Christmas!
Here are some images of the card and the video playing when triggered in Aurasma.
As its the final week of term and christmas is fast approaching, we are always looking for exciting new ideas for classroom activities.
Last night I had seen a post from @ICT_MrP, about using some Santa based Augmented Reality (AR). My class are ‘hooked’ with the use of AR, having used Aurasma for a variety of activities, including our class Christmas Cards (post coming!).
Second Sight, an app and website based on AR, have created an animated Santa and have asked classes to produce a winter scene and add the AR Santa to this.
I decided to go ahead today and make a winter scene, in the time before the final Christmas performance, the children produced trees, snowmen, penguins, houses and all things Christmasy! I then downloaded the activity sheet, here, printed it and added the codes to our scene. Now, Santa magically joins our scene, dances, jumps and says ‘Happy Christmas’, when scanned using the iPad app.
The children loved it (the adults in school too!), a great Christmas activity for Primary and SEN children alike!
Here’s some images of the scene, with and without Santa!
The ‘magic’ had some of the children attempting to grab Santa!
iBooks is a great resource to find books on most topics. It can be especially useful to find resources and well authored work. Recently Apple Education have released a series of iBooks with Lesson Plans for a variety of Apps, some real favourites inside our classrooms! The link to the Apple Education iBooks is here.
These lessons will need adapting for the SEN classroom and some you will be able take ideas from, still some great FREE content!
Also, download the iBooks app, if you haven’t already and have a look at the feature rich texts that are available!
Since the introduction of iPads in 2010 there was a raft of accessibility features built into the operating system (iOS). These features enabled users with a variety of additional needs to make effective use of this new innovative technology. In each update to the iOS, Apple have invested heavily in allowing their technology to be accessed by as many users as possible. In the latest update, iOS 8, Apple have added even more excellent features to the accessibility menu. This means that the iPad is a user friendly teaching tool for any classroom but especially inside an SEN one.
How to find the Accessibility features:
Useful tools for the Visually impaired (but not limited to) include:
Invert colours – useful for some that struggle to see white
Greyscale – takes colours off menu makes less fussy
Speech (Sub Menu) (great tools for the SEN classroom)
Speak selection – highlight text pop up menu will say speak
Speak screen – swipe two fingers down and will speak all text on screen, menu allows options
Speaking rate – change speed of speech
Highlight content – highlights the words being spoken
A run down of how these Speech Accessibility features operate:
The second sub-menu for the visually impaired include:
NB Some excellent features here for any SEN classroom.
Larger text – choose the size of text in most Apple apps
Button shapes – adds an outline to the main buttons to go back through menus; makes them more button like.
Increase contrast (Sub Menu)
Reduce transparency – takes away the see through nature of some parts of the iOS ecosystem, making them clearer to read
Reduce white point – makes whites and other bright colours less bright and glaring
Reduce motion – stops the ‘whoosh’ of apps when they open or close. Stops the movement of the background behind the menus, lots report stops feeling sick when using. Highly recommended to do this to class set of iPads.
On/off switches – gives buttons a 1 and 0, making it clearer for on/off
A run through of these Accessibility features:
The next sub menu is that of Hearing. I personally have very little experience of using this area of the Accessibility menu, although knowing how user friendly iOS devices are i’m sure it would be a simple process to make use of these features in the classroom.
Hearing Aids – allows connection via Bluetooth directly to some brands and models of Hearing Aids.
Mono audio – changes headphones output and speaker to one channel, can change the level for L or R.
A look at Mono Audio feature:
Next, comes the Guided Access function. This is the function that is potentially the most requested by all teachers, but especially those working within the SEN sector! Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the world of…
Guided access – when turned on allows you to lock to an app. Also allows to disable areas of apps, such as buttons, adverts etc. Make sure to set a memorable passcode (the same for all being used in a classroom)-once locked in guided access very difficult to get out of without loosing all data. Also allows to set time limits for children to be inside app, great to use for rewards with TEACCH system.
Lastly, a great tool for those children that have poor motor skills. Inside the Interaction menu, we have..
Home-click speed – allows you to adjust the speed of double and triple clicks on the home button. Three settings. Very useful for those children who struggle to press buttons quickly.
Have a play and a try with some of these in your classroom, some really great, free functions!
It is a well know fact that children learn and take in videos and can respond and do the tasks asked, with much greater effect once they have seen a video of the task. This is why, when interactive whiteboards came out, they were the goto classroom tool.
When using iPads in the classroom, displaying the iPad screen, is the most valuable way of explaining to children what to do, especially in the SEN classroom, it also allows you to be dynamic, being able to walk around the classroom and present from anywhere. To this end you can use the projector, that is no doubt in your classroom, to display an exact ‘mirror’ of what is on your iPad display.
There are three main options, dependant on the equipment in your classroom/school, two app/program based and one hardware based.
If you want to use your available hardware; laptop or computer connected to a projector or display, the two available options are programs that run on the computer, these are Reflector and AirServer. These both retail at around £10 per licence (each machine) and work in the same way, connecting to your iOS device using the WiFi and Local network, both offer the ability to record your iPad’s screen. I personally use AirServer, but have experienced both. As an institution we had to invest heavily with the infrastructure on site to allow this system to work well, new Wifi network, switches etc BUT this has helped with the use of iPads within the school and would no doubt have had to take place at some point.
The other, more expensive, option is to use Apple TV, a piece of hardware, made by Apple. It links to an iOS device wirelessly but without the need to be on a WiFi network, connecting via Bluetooth or WiFi (newer models only). This can have its advantages, but at
£80 £59 each it can be an expensive option, the output is also HDMI, so if using older projectors (VGA connections) an adaptor would also need to be purchased.
Connecting your iOS device to any of the three systems is child’s play, using the inbuilt AirPlay function in your iOS device. Below is a video explaining the basics of this functionality:
Sometimes this mirroring technology can ‘drop out’, losing the video link, but more often than not, simple reconnection will get it working again quickly.
If you decide that you don’t want to use any of these wireless options (or as a backup, just in case) you could always hardwire your iOS device to your projector using the available connecting wires. This IS the most reliable method, but does ‘tie’ you to the front of classroom, making the whole teaching process much less dynamic (they are also quite expensive!)
Welcome to sen-iPads.com
This is the home of Dame Ellen Pinsent RTC and the trainers, Stuart Hammersley and Claire Caley.
Here you will find ideas of using iPads and other technology to support pupils, especially in the SEN sector but across education in general. There will also be links and posts with regards to Apple Regional Training Centre courses, ran by our team.