Education specialists demonstrate using iPads for schoolwork
3 Nov 2020
By Aphiwe Bulo
IStore has sponsored Think Ahead Education Solutions’ first virtual summit for educators on how to reach learners with special needs because of visual, hearing and physical impairment using iPads.
On October 15, Think Ahead hosted the iPad Education Accessibility Summit, a public paid-for webinar to raise funds for the iSchool Inclusion programme. The programme uses the built-in iPad features as learning solutions for children with disabilities.
Local and international speakers discussed and demonstrated how teachers and learners from remedial and special needs schools are using built-in accessibility features in iPads, apps and other Apple resources to personalise learning for students.
The iSchool Inclusion Programme works in partnership with corporates such as Think Ahead and iStore to deliver iPads that have been donated to urban and rural schools nationwide. The programme provides learning solutions to students with disabilities such as autism, visual impairments, deafness and dyslexia.
Since 2009, it has helped more than 240 schools.
Think Ahead was communicating with audience members on WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using #IPadAccessibility and tagging Think Ahead and iSchool Africa. More than 100 people attended the summit.
To accommodate the online audience and speakers, subtitles and South African Sign Language (SASL) interpreters were used throughout the summit. Four presentations were split into two break-away sessions, an accessible group and an inclusive group that explained their teaching methods.
Sabashan Gnanam , a special needs teacher from the United Arab Emirates, uses Keynote, an app that can write and draw mind maps and diagrams. Colour coding recognises different subjects according to the graphics used. Teachers can insert audio recordings, direct video recordings or websites, as links to activities when students select subjects.
Nancy Kajwa, an educator at a children’s hospital in Peru uses GarageBand to create accessible learning through music and support with children who have hearing impairments. The learners can record their voices, add sound effects to boost their voice then share it on YouTube as podcasts or on any social media page.
Kurt Klynenen, a learning experience designer at Joy of Professional Learning shared how teachers and learners use the word processing app, Pages, to design accessible and interactive books for all disabilities.
Teachers add images, audio, graphs and shapes when they give students homework. Textbooks can also be converted to digital audio books for children with reading and writing disabilities, to create multisensory learning at schools.
Mainstream special needs schools in South Africa are using Apple’s Coding Curriculum to give students (who are deaf or have learning disabilities) the ability to create their own language and understand computer literacy. Teachers also use Swift Playgrounds fun, interactive puzzles with robots that understand codes or commands. Learners at Soshanguve School hosted a street race, created model cars and raced with them using iPads.
“When technology is designed for everyone, it lets everyone do what they love,” said Sandy Paulsen, an Apple distinguished educator who has cerebral palsy.