I teach and support students in a rural community. Our students range in grade from 5th-8th grade and are in middle school. These students are primarily taught in a special education setting with support from an occupational therapist, speech therapist, and paraprofessionals. Many of our students experience learning disabilities, significant cognitive delays, motor challenges, reading challenges, and speech and language delays. The majority of our students come from supportive households, while others come from households who struggle to meet the everyday needs of their families. Although our students are supported by special education, our students are also included in regular education throughout much of their day. They have the extra challenge of keeping up with their same-age and typically developing peers.
Our students are hardworking and willing to learn and think “outside the box”.
They are proficient and fearless when it comes to using technology in the classroom. Our students are creative, flexible and eager to learn with their same-age peers. Students in our classroom need technology and opportunities to support their learning so that they can succeed in the school environment and to be prepared for gainful employment in their future lives.
Students learn in a number of ways. Students often gravitate to technology as ways to help support their learning. When students experience learning disabilities, cognitive challenges, or physical disabilities, their access to education can be limited.
Many of our students are included in regular education.
Our school follows an inclusive model to help students be included in regular education opportunities to the greatest extent possible. This model provides students with many opportunities to access their education, but when they are experiencing learning challenges that make it difficult for them to complete regular classroom assignments, technology can often help bridge that gap.
We are requesting money to purchase two iPads and one wireless keyboards. These iPads will allow opportunities for students to access valuable apps that will support their learning on an hourly basis. Specifically, we would like to allow students to access an app that will support their reading and writing. Many of our students struggle to read and produce written work. Additionally, many of our students have difficulty with executive functioning and organizational skills.
We would like to provide students with access to an app that will take photos of worksheets and convert the worksheets into PDFs. From there, students can type directly on the worksheet with additional support of word prediction, speech to text, and text to speech.
As educators and therapists, we have successfully used this technology and app with other students and we are confident in our ability to support additional students. Our students already have shown increased abilities with using this technology, which has shown to improve their success and independence in the classroom. This project will only help enrich their confidence, learning and experiences with the printed word.
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