Apps for children with learning difficulties
Maggie Green is a part-time research student at Letterkenny IT, who is working on developing a game for children with speech and language impairments, and is also a professional development service for teachers (PDST) technology tutor and a tutor for Hibernia College. As a resource teacher, she works with children who have special educational needs, particularly autism and emotional and behavioural difficulties.
“I work with children who have communication difficulties, and I noticed when I gave them tasks to complete using technology, there was an increase in their retention of information, including letters and vocabulary. They were more motivated too.”
Green says there are a number of apps she finds particularly useful for children with autism, including Tintastic and Comic Life.
“When children set up a story with Tintastic, I can see how the child’s conversation skills are developing and where they might need extra support.”
But, she says, a lot of the most useful apps are already installed on an iPad, such as a camera and the internet browser Safari. These allow her to work with students on projects. EduCreations, meanwhile, is an interactive whiteboard that facilitates conversation.
“The best apps are content-generating rather than content consuming. There are so many available now, and people are getting their tablets and filling them with pages and pages of apps. But you can do a lot with very few apps. Look for those that are collaborative and engage problem-solving, critical thinking and information-gathering. The best ones should support inquiry-based learning, with the teacher as a guide.”
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