Unlocking Human Potential
Effective use of technology can provide purpose and meaning in building essential pre-requisite skills. For example, understanding cause and effect is the pre-requisite skill for students in realizing that they can create an action and it has an outcome. As they repeat these actions, students begin to remember and learn how to make interesting things happen and last (http://bit.ly/Flovocab
or http://bit.ly/LessonCause .
This issue of the newsletter highlights technology supports that can provide options to students for building pre-requisite skills such as cause and effect, and sequencing.
For many of our students the daily challenges they face in the classroom without these basic skills can be quite daunting and as a result students become disengaged in the learning process. Instructional best practices and technology can provide flexibility and customization that allow students to focus on essential prerequisite skills needed for an academic task.
Teaching students with disabilities to participate in activities that promote communication involves a variety of supports and requires more than one way to teach needed pre-requisite skills. Students are often asked to complete tasks that are too cognitive demanding or they have yet to develop the pre-requisite skills to be successful. Other times, the task is broken into too many discrete parts that leave the student unmotivated and without meaning to participate. Either scenario results in students not achieving the desired skill.
The PCEye Explore bundle is intended to build skills through an engaging and fun gaming environment. This entry level, peripheral eye tracker is intended
to use prior
to an eye gaze Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system. Using the Look to Learn software, students interact with over 40 games of their choice to practice pre-requisite skills such as cause and effect, sequencing, and control through gaze interaction. Five pre-requisite skill areas are highlighted:
- Sensory-teaches cause and effect
- Explore-encourages engagement with the entire screen
- Target- improves accuracy of eye gaze access
- Choice- develops choice making skills
- Control- improves eye control
Data collection couldn't be easier with the included Tobii Dynavox Gaze Viewer software that records real eye tracking data from any application. Such data provides the evidence needed in understanding students' physical capabilities, cognitive understanding, and use of an eye tracker.
Researchers at the University of Kentucky and CAST are examining the role of computers in increasing access to large scale assessments for students with disabilities. (
One area of research is to determine what skills students demonstrate and what skills must be acquired prior to taking the assessment. Pre-requisite mouse skills are essential. Mouse skills needed for taking assessments on the computer include:
- Move a mouse pointer on screen
- Use a mouse to single-click
- Use a mouse to double-click
- Use a mouse to highlight text
- Use a mouse to click and drag
The TinyMouse is perfect for building such skills.
It is half the size of a standard mouse and features two distinguishing colors for teaching right-click and left-click. It offers a scroll wheel to easily move the mouse on the screen and to assist in highlighting, dragging and dropping. The TinyMouse is compatible with Windows 98SE, 2000, ME, XP, Vista, and MAC OS 10.1.5 and higher.
Pretty Poodle Switch Toy
Switches and switch toys provide students with a variety of ways
to practice essential pre-requisite skills needed to use a switch
for accessing technology or learning abstract
For a switch to be used successfully, a student needs to work towards consistent physical control of the switch and the many perceptual and cognitive skills required when scanning.
The following skills can be achieved with a switch:
- Control of the environment
- An effective method of communication
- Access to learning
- Access to leisure opportunities
- Independent mobility
The switch user needs to be able to:
- understand what a switch press can achieve.
- perform a movement to activate switch(es).
- activate the switch at the right time.
- hit the switch when they want to perform an action.
- not hit the switch when they don't want to an action
- repeat switch press time after time as needed.
- sustain attention: maintain attention on what they are controlling.
- use the switch without causing physical harm.
Students should have the opportunity to use a switch to engage in a
range of activities to practice the same skill or concept. For example, Pretty Pony can motivate students to learn core vocabulary such as
and more abstract concepts such as
For comprehensive guides
to switch use and other ideas see
Table Top Suction Mount with Universal Mounting Plates
The Table Top Suction Mount with Universal Mounting Plates, allow teachers to mount almost any switch or small dedicated speech generating device (SGD) to a smooth surface like a table or desktop for students to use. Two lock and release suction cups secure the mount to a smooth surface while the pivoting arm allows easy positioning of the switch or SGD for the user.
Indi with Snap + Core First
Communication is an essential life skill. It is important to provide students with a multi-modal approach to discovering what is needed to learn and to express themselves. Multi-modal communication system allows students to use a variety of modes to communicate on their own and in conjunction with one another including speech, vocalizations, facial expression, body language, gestures, signs, pointing, light tech AAC, high tech AAC.
The Indi with Snap + Core First is an all-in-one speech tablet for symbol based communicators. The Snap + Core First platform is based on Core Word framework, topics, quick phrases, behavior supports, word lists, and keyboards that take advantage of motor learning.
The Indi also includes the Accessible Literacy Learning (ALL) Reading Program, Snap Scene and Boardmaker Student Center software to engage students in the following pre-requisite literacy skills:
Indi also has outward facing, built-in speakers with a durable case, handle, kickstand, mounting plate and shoulder strap. This integrated AAC tablet includes an Environmental Control Unit, infrared, email and texting capabilities.
- Sound-Blending - build words by blending sounds
- Phoneme Segmentation - break words into individual sounds
- Letter-Sound Correspondence - recognize sounds represented by each of the letters
- Single Word Decoding - apply knowledge of letter-sound correspondences and sound blending skills to "sound out" words
- Sight Word Recognition - recognize a word without sounding it out (e.g., light, dinosaur)
- Shared Reading - decode or recognize each word in sequence, access the meaning of the words/sentences and relate it to prior knowledge or experiences
Tips and Tricks for Getting Your Order Faster
Just ask any experienced AT & UDL Loan Library user and they will tell you that just a little pre-planning before placing your orders can assure that you will get your order faster!
Before ordering a Mobile Device such as an iPad be sure to :
- Select the device
- Select the apps to be installed if any are needed
- Select a case (be sure the case fits your specified device)
Select any needed accessories ( i.e. switch, switch interface, and/or mounting systems)
Before ordering a Software:
- Select the laptop ( Mac or Windows)
- Select the software to be installed
- Select any needed accessories (i.e. switch, switch interface, and/or mounting systems)
Before ordering a Mounting system
- Select the Mounting system
- Select the AAC device(if needed)
- Request needed Mounting plate for the specific AAC device
Make sure that you have everything you need in your cart and the correct quantities before checking out!
This newsletter was developed by the Technology & Learning Connections Team, a part of the Problem Solving/Response to Intervention Project, and funded by the Florida Department of Education Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services through federal assistance under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Part B funds. The information included does not reflect any specific endorsement by any parties involved. Please em
ail Tara Jeffs
for further information.