Moriah is a keen, creative and delightful grade 4 student attending school on the west coast of Vancouver Island. She has cerebral palsy and cortical visual impairment and has found technology to be extremely helpful in completing school work. Moriah’s technology facilitates her independent visual and physical access to her curriculum and includes a larger screen laptop with Zoom Text (magnifying software), Word Q (word prediction software), Clicker 5, Classroom Suite 4 and Kurzweil 3000. The computer has also been set up and customized with Windows’ built in accessibility features and short cuts. Sticky keys, filter keys, and mouse/cursor enhancements are have proven to be very helpful Windows accessibility features.
The school team (special education teacher, teachers and EA) are skilled at including Moriah and her technology in all classroom tasks. Many of her social studies, science and math tasks are completed using Clicker 5 and Classroom Suite 4 with activities downloaded from curriculumSET. The curriculumSET activities parallel the regular curriculum but can be quickly customized to a level that works well for Moriah. The Including Students in the Curriculum document in the SET-BC Learning Center lists activities available in curriculumSET at different grade levels and helps the team plan ahead to meet Moriah’s curricular needs.
Moriah and her team have also used many resources downloaded from SET-BC’s website and from ARC-BC. These include Accessible Books and etext (alternate format) textbooks, novels, as well as materials scanned for Kurzweil 3000. These materials and formats are easily adapted to the size and access method that allow Moriah to be independent. Using Accessible Books and Kurzweil 3000 in this way eliminates the need to enlarge materials at a photocopier and saves her team a great deal of time. By scanning classroom materials directly into Kurzweil 3000, Moriah is also able to write (type) by using text boxes or to dictate (speak) into voice notes to respond to questions allowing her to express her thoughts and knowledge independently. She no longer has to rely on a scribe to write for her.
When it comes to creative written output, Moriah presently uses Classroom Suite 4 (a software program that can be customized with word banks, picture support and text to speech). She uses Classroom Suite 4 with its built-in word prediction enabled, and everything is enlarged and set at a high color contrast with text-to-speech for the prediction buttons turned on. By using the software in this way she is able to complete classroom assignments and be creative, just like everyone else. Using her software, Moriah wrote a story about Sleepy Bears for a Fairy Tale Unit the class was doing.
By using parallel and electronic activities, the teacher and EA have been able to use the technology not only to support Moriah but other students in the classroom as well. The technology is used in both small group and full class settings. They use a Smart Board to project the curriculumSet activities and both Moriah and the other students can physically access the activities via the Smart Board.
This team is exceptional at including students in the curriculum at a level that works for all students. Their dedication, belief in kids and flexibility in making the curriculum accessible is to be commended. Moriah’s determination and charm helps everyone embrace the power of technology for her and her classmates.