Integrate mLearning into your Class

5 great iPad apps for students with special needs

Middle School Confidential 2: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind - Price: $2.99

In many cases, students with special needs require help outside the traditional curriculum material, i.e., Math, Science, etc. What often trips them up is the hidden curriculum, which is the unspoken rules or norms within a school. In this app, students navigate through a series of scenarios that helps students identify appropriate responses to social situations from a variety of perspectives, for example bullying and when to ask an adult for help. This is beneficial in addition to going over class rules and appropriate ways to socialize as a class discussion.
Middle school confidential 2. Real Friends vs. the Other Kind

App #2: Clicker Sentences Price: $28.99

Clicksoft is a company that is well-known for learning apps as well as full-fledged software for special education. Clicker sentences is an app designed for mLearning as it allows the student to work on sentence construction with a variety of difficulty and through multiple means of representation. This means that there is content that is visual, verbal, or auditory so that the student has as few barriers as possible. For students with phonological awareness problems or expressive language issues, this could be very beneficial to help them develop context and vocabularly in Language Arts through creation of sentences from a variety of choices within the app. A great function of this app is that Teacher's can create their own lessons that students can access. For example, a teacher could create an exemplar that the student uses as a model, and then is asked to add to the sentence, or even reconstruct one with a different topic.
Apps - Clicker Sentences
With the policy of inclusive education becoming more prominent in Alberta's schools, as preservice teachers, it is prudent to expect that we will be teaching non-verbal learners, such as those students with Autism, who are high functioning intellectually, but need another way to communicate with their classmates and their teachers. Avaz is just that app. This mLearning app can benefit classroom instruction by giving a voice to those who need it. A good example is during a lecture where a teacher is giving a lesson on Algebra. A non-verbal learner might need clarification but it would be hard to do so in the middle of a lecture. By having this app, a student could communicate to the teacher by asking a question, or reflecting on a concept.
Avaz for Autism
How many times have you asked, or been asked if a concept was clear and if there were any questions, only to have 10 seconds of silence? If you have had my experience, then too many to count! Enter Top Hat, a polling app. This is a fantastically easy app for students to jump onto, and anonymously answer a poll, or write a comment that the teacher could pull up onto the SMART board, class computer, or another iPad. Questions are easy to make and a quick response means little to no downtime with students at the completion of a concept. For example, after a lesson on Pythagoram's Theorem, the teacher can create a quick yes/no poll, or have a question asking if students need further explanation of the main concepts, with the selection being a multiple of choices. If the majority of the students are getting it, then the concept is clear and the teacher can move on, and if not, can further elaborate without students becoming embarassed for admitting to the class they aren't getting it. Best of all, this app is free to use.

See why Teachers love this App

Student Engagement and Top Hat
Mathboard is great for students who either need additional means of content representation, such as text to speech, or extra work with immediate feedback for a variety of math concepts. This app is very helpful for students with special needs as it allows the teacher to personalize the app's lessons, as well as quizzes. Another fantastic function of this app is that it keeps track of performance history so that a teacher can accurately assess student learning. This would be very helpful in cases on inclusive classrooms where students have their own individual Individualized Program Plan, or IPP. For example, if a student was practicing questions on short division, they could have many attempts through repetition and feedback if they were completing the steps in the right order. If they were struggling, the app has components built in to show them where the error is and help them make necessary changes.
MathBoard (Mac) - AppleUpdatez