Omantribune
Oman Tribune
Omantribune
Omantribune Search News
Web Oman
    Google Search Button
      Tribune
- Oman
- Soccer World Cup
- Other Top Stories
- Middle East
- Business
- Sports
- India
- Pakistan
- Asia
- Europe
- Americas
- Columnists
- Editorial
- Oman Mirror
- Special Features
- Cinema
- PDF Pages
- Weather
- Travel
- Currency Rate
- Hospitals
- Pharmacies
- Services
- Flight Timings
- Museum Timings
Omantribune Home Omantribune About Us Omantribune Advertising Information Omantribune Archives Omantribune Subscribe-Form Omantribune Jobs Omantribune Contact Us
Sunday, October 26, 2014  
Tablet for better learning
iPads go a great way in helping children with learning disabilities, writes Mari-Jane Williams

At an Alexandria, Virginia, USA, elementary school, a second-grader who has autism is using an iPad to communicate to his teachers that he is hungry, and would like pizza and chicken nuggets for lunch.

Students in an 11th-grade English class at the Lab School of Washington, a private school for students with learning disabilities, are dissecting TS Eliot’s The Waste Land this spring, using an iPad application that provides notes on the text, editing notes from Ezra Pound, video interviews with scholars and interpretive readings.

At a Prince George’s County middle school, students recently used iPads to make a video call to a maths teacher in another room for a refresher on how to find the average distance a toy car travelled in five trials. Seventy per cent of the students in that class have a learning disability.

Two years after Apple introduced the iPad, the tablet is becoming increasingly popular with educators of students with special needs, especially learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. These teachers and administrators are repeatedly turning to iPads, which cost between $300 and $800, and other tablets to improve communication, reading and maths skills, to virtually dissect animals or to give students an easier way to take notes.

Results, they say, are promising. “I feel like it’s a much more powerful day” for students, said Katherine Schantz, head of the Lab School, which has about 100 iPads for approximately 350 students. “We’ve reduced the number of minutes that are spent in frustration.”

At the Auburn School for students with social and communication difficulties in Herndon, Virginia, the “kids enjoy being able to sit in a beanbag or walk around,” said Linnea Nelson, head of the private school. “The portability of a tablet allows that. They’re also not having to look over a computer at a teacher or their peers while they are having a discussion, so using a tablet doesn’t impede eye contact.”

With touch screens instead of pen and paper or a point-and-click mouse, tablets can be much easier to use by students with fine motor difficulties. They also help disorganised students by consolidating calendars, memos and notes all in one device.

Bryce Ballard, 13, a ninth-grader at Auburn School, has found his Samsung Galaxy helpful in taking notes and keeping track of assignments. “I can’t even read my own handwriting,” Ballard said. “That doesn’t help the whole note-taking process. [The tablet] promotes great learning for me and helps keep me interested.”

Educators also think these hard-to-motivate students are excited about using something that is a hip piece of technology, so that interests them more than traditional learning methods. “The iPads are engaging because there’s instant feedback,” said Jennifer Durham, Lab School’s elementary curriculum coordinator. “It’s easy to operate, it can read to them if they need it to read to them, you can make it bigger, you can make it smaller.”

Prince George’s County Public Schools bought iPads for every student at four low-income middle schools as part of a pilot programme, totaling more than 3,000 devices.

“Sometimes in a traditional classroom, where teachers are asking questions, the ones that are getting it are answering, and the ones who may take a little longer to process it may not have the time to respond,” said Eric Wood, who was the principal at Charles Carroll Middle School when the tablet programme launched in October.

Wood says the school is using an app called eClicker “to level the playing field.” With eClicker, science teacher Joy Long posts a question to the class on the iPads, then sees individual students’ responses as they click on their tablets in real time. She knows who is getting the answers right, and who needs more help, without everyone else in the class knowing.

“They can use this tool much easier than they can paper and pencil,” Long said of students who struggle with fine motor skills. “I just see this as meeting them where they are in order to increase their skills and abilities and even their participation.”

Tablets, according to school officials, allow students to work at their own pace and with a level of privacy formerly unheard of in the classroom. That can help remove the stigma that often comes with being a special-education student.

“If you’re in high school and you’re reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid because that’s what you can read, and I’m reading Pride and Prejudice because that’s what I can read, it would be embarrassing, if we were both sitting there with our hard-covered books,” Lab School’s Durham said. “. . . It evens the playing field because it puts them in a private space.”

Even with the new technology, progress still requires hard work, and lots of it, with an experienced teacher or therapist and committed parents leading the way. “There’s no magical tool,” said Rosemary Genuario, a special education teacher at Belle View Elementary in Alexandria. “But it’s certainly a fabulous tool.”

Washington Post-Bloomberg
NEWS UPDATES
Oman
Tokyo meet showcases scope for investment in ports, infrastructure
Forum to discuss competitiveness
ISAS students go bird watching in Qurum
ISG tops national quiz
Sultanate takes part in China youth forum
Other Top Stories
WHO eyes mass Ebola vaccines by mid-2015
Militants will target Tunisia election: PM
Mali tries to calm fears over Ebola
Gulf states will face budget shortfall, warns IMF
Kurds retake north Iraqi town
India
$13.1b defence projects cleared
BJP, Sena hold back-channel talks on tie-up
Modi reaches out to media, vows direct interaction
Netaji’s deputy, Nehru aide Nambiar was ‘Soviet spy’
RSS distances itself from article on Nehru
Tharoor joins ‘Clean India’ drive
Pakistan
Sea of people will attend Nov. 30 rally, says Imran
Key suspect in Edhi Centre robbery held in Karachi
Pak sectarian attacks killed 4,900 over 25 years
73 Pakistani shrines violate loudspeaker ban
Middle East
Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian teen in W. Bank
Libyan troops, allies seize control of largest rebel camp in Benghazi
Russia has not agreed to train Iraq troops: Lavrov
Lebanese troops, gunmen clash in Tripoli market
Iran acid attack suspects freed
Iran rebuffs pleas, executes woman convicted of killing rapist
Asia
North Korea has capability to build N-warhead: US general
Scaled-down war games to continue in Thailand: US
Business
Call to lower GCC spending
Commercial banks’ assets rise 11% to 24b rials in Aug.
Iraq oil exports rise in Oct. despite crisis
Egypt set to tap global markets to raise $1.5b
Positive signals helped MSM gain 2% last week
Pichai to head major Google products
25 banks fail ECB stress test, 10 more remain in trouble
India’s growth pace to pick up in 2 years as reforms draw investments
Kuwait to cut bad loans to 2%
Amazon’s ‘fairy tale’ ride on Wall Street runs into rough weather
Europe
Ukraine goes to polls today amid rebel uprising in east
Kiev oligarch’s factory is rebels’ tank workshop
Kin troubles prompt mom to kill kids with acid in UK
Picasso Museum reopens after five-year renovation in Paris
Setback for UK’s Labour as leader in Scotland quits
Russia set to turn back clocks to permanent winter time
Sports
Pakistan push Aussies to the wall
Marquez grabs record 13th pole in Malaysia
Six-wicket Shakib skittles Zimbabwe for paltry 240
Advani emerges World champion
Serena fights back to down Wozniacki
WTA mulls new team event
Juric goal gives Wanderers edge over Al Hilal in final
Ray of hope for Ranchi as Dhoni becomes co-owner
India-Lanka first ODI in Cuttack
West Ham hand City shock defeat
West Indies walk-out a ‘collapse of governance’
Americas
2 students killed in Washington school shooting
Medical worker quarantined in New Jersey after new Ebola safeguards
Hatchet attack on NY police officers is a ‘terrorist act’
Two sheriff deputies killed in California shooting spree
Canada to toughen laws against terror
‘Highway of Heroes’ bears slain soldier home

Sports


International

© 2013 Oman Tribune. All rights reserved. Best viewed in 800 X 600 resolution