I am in awe of technology at the moment as we can do so much (as long as we know how haha!), but at times simplicity is the key. I often wonder if sometimes we can be too technological and too focused on the WOW factor. We have to remember that sensory pupils are learning how to be reactive on their environment and need suitable opportunities to have an impact on the world around them. Sensory pupils may also prefer to take in one colour/ visual/ sound effect at a time, so they can learn to understand what has happened. Put the needs and interests of your pupils first and create individualised technology sessions that really cater for the individual.
So here are some simple ways to bring ICT into every sensory lesson you deliver, that require very little technical skills as I’m stuck in the 90’s 😉
- The Interactive whiteboard (IWB)- I tend to use ours to share videos from you tube that relate to our topic, e.g. this term we are following STOMP (the use of household items to create rhythms) and in this context, I would use it for a whole class session, because, let’s face it, sometimes a group music session is FUN!
- The interactive whiteboard- We can tilt ours/ change the height of it, and this really makes it a useful teacher tool as any child can then access it at their level. Once you find the perfect angle, pupils working at a P1/2 will enjoy tracking activities. I use this program a lot-http://www.northerngrid.org/senswitcher/ . You can change the colour and the images. You can change the setting from experience to cause and effect, so pupils can press the screen to make the shapes move. It’s a really useful resource, as a teacher led activity, or as continuous provision.
- The Interactive whiteboard- 2 Simple software- Have you seen this software http://www.2simple.com/ ? We use 2 Paint to encourage pupils to make marks on the whiteboard. This reinforces cause and effect, and will tick off any mark making objectives for your pupils. While we are on 2 simple software, check out the music programs as they can bring ICT into your creativity/ music sessions.
- Floating switches- thanks to the invention of wireless switches (http://www.inclusive.co.uk/helpkidzlearn-easyswitch-p6315 and adapted plug in switches( http://www.inclusive.co.uk/inclusive-kidtrac-p2408 ) you can make your IWB accessible to those pupils with limited arm movements. They press the floating switch in a position that is accessible to them, and see the effects on screen. The wireless switches are amazing as because you don’t have to worry about stretching the wire too far, you can place the switch by their head/ food/ elbow, wherever you know the child can be most independent.
- The Powerlink http://www.inclusive.co.uk/powerlink-4-uk-p2575 – I just love this!! It’s so simple, yet makes sure every lesson can be related to ICT/ communication (cause and effect). You can plug almost any electrical item into it, add your pupil’s preferred switch and the pupil can turn on the electrical item, finding out about the world and learning about their effects on the environment. The settings can be changed from either a direct on/ off control, to a timed on/ off or a latched setting. I quite often use the fan/ lights (in the dark den/ sensory room)/ massager/ foot spa, as these have a strong effect. I like to see if my P2 pupils can press the switch with greater independence and begin to show anticipation of what is happening.
- The eye gaze http://www.inclusive.co.uk/articles/eye-gaze-say-it-with-your-eyes-a490 – this totally blew my mind when I was first introduced to it 4 years ago. The pupils can control the screen with their eyes!!! The Speech and Language therapy team linked to your school should recommend this for specific pupils. The programmes that we use in class develop pupils understanding of cause and effect, control, anticipation and encourage independence with those how have limited movements. This therefore links to both communication and cognition targets in your classroom.
- The ipad- Has so many options. The two main features I use it for are the apps and the camera. Get your ICT co-ordinator on task in finding lovely cause and effect apps. We like the piano/ xylophone, as the pupils can move their fingers across the screen to make sounds. It is handy if you need to work with another pupil in your group. Ipads are so accessible as you can hold them in the preferred position for your pupil to watch visual movements/ listen to sounds. You can move the ipad, to see if they will track and follow light or sound. They are also small enough to take into the dark den with you! As we like to be on trend in class, who doesn’t enjoy a selfie, or watch themselves back on video to celebrate recorded successes!
As ever, enjoy and please share your easy ICT tips J