It has been a fair while since I posted on here last so let’s make it a good one to get things back underway!
Last year I loaned a set of five iPod Touches to a student on the Graduate Teacher Programme, Lauren. She was working in a school where children have a huge range of specialist needs. She felt that the iPods would give her the opportunity to engage with the children in a different way. And…er… they certainly did! Lauren immediately found that children were keen to talk about what they could do with the devices, exploring the range of apps that we had put on there. We had very consciously decided to put fairly open ended “productive” apps on there as Lauren felt that it would allow the children to create really amazing “products” as long as they were engaged to do so.
They certainly were.
The video shows some of the range of activities that they used the pods for during a train journey (something many of the children had never experienced before). They took films that allowed them to reconnect with the experience back in class, they took notes on Mental Note to record thoughts and ideas while in the situation, again to discus when back in class and then they even used animation and the Green Screen apps in conjunction to record the short sequences at the end.
Lauren’s reflection on the children’s use of the devices suggest that it was mainly pupils that would not engage or refuse to engage with literacy or weren’t able to easily (because of their low level writing skills) were all of a sudden enthusiastic about their ideas when given the chance to record their work, ideas and act out things as characters in animation etc. There was an enhanced desire to create work, to add to what the class was doing, and the technology enabled them to make really “professional” looking results, furthering their self esteem. The only real downside was that she had to explain to them that they had to give them back at the end of the loan period.
The picture below shows some more of the work produced and some description for parents:
There was some fear at first that the small interface of the iPod Touch would be unsuitable for children who had issues with motor control anyway but that was quickly dispelled as the desire to use the device to communicate their ideas took them beyond that and all of the children were able to use them successfully.
Lauren has agreed to present at a conference that we are organising in the Autumn Term with more detail of how this type of technology specifically supported children with a range of needs.