Thursday, October 23, 2014

iCan Make an iMovie

      I was recently approached by a colleague who was struggling with encouraging co-workers to incorporate technology into their Special Education classroom. In similar instances, my favorite quote to share is this, “For people without disabilities, technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible” (IBM training manual, 1991). Technology can be overwhelming but the opportunities that it has to offer are limitless. This brings me in to my student’s latest accomplishment: creating an iMovie. At the end of the year, for a few months, my Instructional Director in our district, +Shannon Soger would come to our classroom once a week to help take on this challenge.We worked one on one, and sometimes two on one with each of my students to help them create their own personalized iMovie. This took time and patience but in the end it was absolutely worth it. Check out one of the iMovies that was created by a student with an Intellectual disability on his favorite movie, Lion King:  

                                                          Lion King iMovie

Below you will find a quick “How to” for creating an iMovie with students in a self-contained classroom: 

1. Shannon and I sat down and selected an iMovie topic for each student based on their interests. (Dora, Stars, Birthday parties, dinosaurs, etc). 

2. We created a table of tasks that needed to be accomplished We checked off each student's  box each time they completed a task. Here is the checklist we used: 

                                                           iMovie Checklist

3. We completed this whole activity one step at a time. Shannon would come in and her and i would sit with a student and go through step 1 of making an iMovie: having students select pictures. We googled their topic and and students chose or hand over hand selected 3-5 pictures they liked. We did this for each student 2:1 before moving on to the next step. Then we went on to the next step of importing pictures into the iMovie program. We helped students label each picture and had students who are verbal describe each picture using the voice over feature. Finally, we had the students select music for the iMovie. The results were fantastic! 

If you are still hesitant to take this challenge to your classroom, view this short video created by +Shannon Soger on the impact this student’s Lion King iMovie had on his mother.

                                                        Redefining Mobile Learning 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Guided Access on the iPad

     What is it? Guided Access is a setting that keeps the iPad locked into a single application. Guided Access also allows you to control which features in a particular app are available or disabled. 
     I am an avid user of Guided Access in my classroom. There are many reasons why I use it when teaching my students. As a Special Education teacher, I know how intelligent and at times, "sneaky" the students in my classroom can be. I assign students to particular academic apps to work on in hopes that they will remain on the app given and not slip off to a game that is more appealing or even accidentally exit the app. Often, that is not the case.  This accessibility feature can lock my students into a particular app that I have planned for that center or station and not allow them to exit the app unless they have a 4-digit code that I am able to keep from them. Guided Access prevents students from performing specific actions that are not aligned with set tasks as well as preventing them from exiting an educational app. Students are not allowed to alter settings when Guided Access is on.  
     Below I have two videos that show one of the students in my classroom using the iPad app with Guided Access turned off and the other with Guided Access turned on. 

Follow the link below for a screen cast by my District’s Instructional Director, +Shannon Soger , to learn how set up and use Guided Access in your classroom!

Guided Access How to Video

Thursday, February 13, 2014

App Slam!

Over the weekend I was approached by +Shannon Soger  to complete a video of my top 3 apps I use on the iPads in my classroom. You can check out my video and see some favorite apps that my students  use at school!

My App Slam Video

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Skype me!

       My new favorite activity to use in the classroom is Skype! Skype is a FREE, yes I said FREE program you can download to make telephone and video calls via your computer. Your computer must have a webcam, internet connection and a microphone in order to use the program. Check out their website to learn more at
     Our Speech and Language Pathologist, +Elizabeth Arenas  has incorporated using Skype into our Speech group sessions. We have partnered with the middle school Special Education classroom in our district. This has been an extra special activity for our classroom because many of these students graduated from our elementary school last year. We have set aside Friday mornings to Skype our middle school friends.  We start our Speech group practicing introductions and saying good morning. Our students who are non verbal use communication devices such as the Big Mac or the programs on the iPad such as ProLoQuo2Go to help them communicate. Our next lesson will be sharing an activity, craft or something we learned about at school during the week. Skype-ing is a fun, motivating and easy activity to help students work on communication, listening and overall speech skills. Last week our Principal, +Jeremy Majeski  joined in our Skype session! Check out our photos below! 

The girls saying hi on Skype for the first time! 

Our Principal, +Jeremy Majeski  joined in! 

Waving hi to our friends in the middle school!