Twelve students, two teachers, twelve educational assistants and two side-by-side resource rooms. Add technology to the mix and there has been an explosion of powerful and positive student gains.
Several students in Tina Gunn and Sharon Power’s Surrey classrooms have received equipment and training support from SET-BC. Four students use iPads with the Touch Chat app to facilitate their communication, another student uses a PC laptop with the Clicker 6 application to aid in literacy and language development, and still another uses the Clicker Docs and Clicker Books app.
With support from the Surrey AAC consultant and workshops presented by SET-BC, they have introduced communication using the Touch Chat app with much success. Byron uses his communication device daily. He can make full sentence requests and independently navigate through pages to give information and answer questions. With encouragement to repeat the technologically-produced language, he is becoming increasingly more verbal. Lack of communication had led to frustration. Acting out behaviors have diminished substantially and he is now able to participate more fully in academics. Literacy and numeracy skills have improved consistently since the introduction of an accessible communication system.
JD was also a Touch Chat user and his verbal abilities have soared. Not wanting to pass the time learning to locate the words in the app, JD moved swiftly to willingly speak on his own. Now, he uses the Clicker Docs and Clickers Books apps to journal, create stories, sequence and describe pictures and record his own voice to read what he has written! On this particular day, he enthusiastically read aloud his story about swimming. JD is now included in the Grade 6/7 class for journal writing and adapted Grade 6 Science lessons. Along with major academic gains for JD, there have also been a significant decrease in problem behaviors.
Michael struggled with focus and resisted completing schoolwork of any kind – most especially reading and writing. The team implemented a laptop with Clicker 6 to support Michael’s language and literacy development. Now, like JD, he participates in the adapted Grade 6/7 lessons and will actually choose to write stories in “Choice Time” using Clicker 6. With a huge smile, he happily navigates various Clicker activities and is far less resistant to participate in all sorts of learning activities.
A team approach to learning and using technology has been embraced in these classrooms and the results have been impressive. By providing every teacher and educational assistant who works with these students the opportunity to train in using the technology, they have created an inclusive environment that effectively supports many various and unique learning challenges. Triumphant results from teamwork, dedication and training in technology!