Maria Farriciello, Special Ed Teacher,
Manor Lakes College.
I began to question the way I used my iPads in the classroom and felt that there had to be a
more effective and efficient way. My “Magic Moment” was the instant I integrated them
into my lesson plans as tools for learning, rather than the tool to keep the students quiet,
calm or seated till I got to them. Working in Special Education, many of my students only
used the iPads for entertainment. It took lots of time, patience and re-training to get them
to understand that we were going to use them for learning. It was so worth the effort, the
resulting work, photos, videos the students created have been fantastic! It is also
important to note that the iPads in my room reflect the needs of the individual student. I
differentiate the Apps on each iPad so that they can be completely geared at the level and
needs of the individual.
I used the Aurasma App to bring the Golden Words to life, and the results were incredible,
the students were so engaged and relished the challenge of getting to the next list.
Several of my students use the App Pictello to create stories about things we have done like
Travel Training outings, holiday activities and it is also great for making social stories.
I also decided that technology would be a great way of sharing work with parents. When it
came to report writing time I wanted my Student Comment page to be a reflection of how
ICT has improved my teaching practice. So I created QR codes with videos that brought the
students learning to life. The parents that received these messages were very pleased.
Chris wrote this story
using the App Pictello.
He loves this App as it
reads the story back to
him. It is very easy to
use, his parents now
create their own social
stories and photo
books using Pictello. I
was pleased to see the
skills used and taught
in the classroom also
being used at home.
ICT in a Special Ed setting is challenging! Is it worth the screams and tantrums?
YES..I have had a great time exploring the possibilities of how to best use the
iPads in my classroom.. Am I an expert? NO WAY..
I am a perpetual learner and continue to seek the advice and expertise of those
around me. I have only just begun to tap into the possibilities as much of this year
was about training my students to view the iPad as a learning tool and not a toy. I
would be a complete fraud if I said we never used the iPad for some down time and
enjoyed some of the great games available, but this is time the students now earn as
a result of the great efforts they put into their learning, just like any Regular
classroom around the school.