UDL and Apps in the Classroom

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udlplayground.wikispaces.com file view UDL Placemat of Core iPad Apps.pdf 488929010 UDL Placemat of Core iPad Apps.pdf

Life just keeps getting better for teachers looking to make accommodations in their classrooms! The use of ‘traditional’ assistive technologies involving specialized programs or devices continues to give way to mainstream commercial technologies, making classroom modifications easier and easier.  Although the advent of the iPad rocked districts (and teachers in general!) across the country for the first few years, even our least tech savvy educators have since learned to master navigation of a tablet.  Note: I say ‘navigate’ rather than use because many of the teachers I meet continue to struggle with how to effectively use the device within the curriculum to support Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Device navigation does not equate integration!

The quest to find appropriate educational apps can be daunting and many are unsure how or where to proceed, leaning on random lists and recommendations of others.  Since the device is only as effective as the apps installed on it, choosing the right mix is the key to success!  While I continually add my favorites under the toolbar on my homepage, I have found a terrific resource that every teacher should have!   UDL Playground, one of my favorite education wikispaces, has created a Placemat of Core Apps designed to support UDL integration with the iPad.

To truly use an iPad as an effective teaching and learning tool, I recommend a range of apps for specific purposes, chosen by their function. I advise teachers to install a mix of apps from three categories:    EDUCATION APPS are designed to provide interactive learning of specific educational concepts and these are often the only apps teachers know to search for.  But, to truly modify the devices to meet the needs of all students, you’ll need more.  PRODUCTIVITY APPS and UTILITY APPS are the real tools we need for providing digital text, annotating and editing documents, organizing our thoughts, creating schedules, facilitating communication, offering specific accessibility features, etc.

The Placemat of Core Apps provides three well organized lists of apps for use with students, arranged according to multi-modal tasks: representation of information, engagement and expression.  You may download as a pdf to share, yet clicking on the App icons offers a brief description of the function and how you could use this with your students.  Adapting the classroom just keeps getting easier!


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Janice Reese

Janice Reese

Director of the AT Center at LTVEC
Assistive Technology Professional
Occupational Therapist

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About Me

My name is Janice Reese and I LOVE assistive technology! I worked as an Occupational Therapist for more than 15 years, earned a Master’s degree in Education Technology, and I’m RESNA certified as an Assistive Technology Profession (ATP).  I have worked in the school system for many years now and I love using technology to enhance the lives of children with disabilities. Since my first love is teaching, I’ve spent just as much time training wonderful teachers everywhere to use these tools in their classrooms.  AT4Kids, llc was founded in 2008 in an effort to provide quality instruction and resources for teachers, therapists, student users and parents who wanted to know more about using AT.

I currently serve as Director of the Center for Assistive Technology, a state-supported program of the Little TN Valley Educational Cooperative.  LTVEC is a non-profit agency whose goal is to provide rehabilitation services and accessibility supports for students with special needs in east Tennessee.  My AT4Kids blog is designed to be as a one-stop resource for ideas and information for those wanting to learn more about the use of AT with children in the special education setting.

I hope to offer helpful hints, program and product reviews, AT recommendations, links to great new finds on the web, and lists of resources for “all things AT”.

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