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iPods & iPads are Innovative Tech Tools for Special Education

The iPod Touch and iPad, are great innovative technology tools for educators and students to use in the classroom.  There are many applications and features of these tools that may potentially increase learning outcomes and motivation for learning in the classroom.  While not all schools or students may have access to these tech tools, it is time to add these innovative devices as a wish-list request for next school year!

Functional Skills System for the iPod Touch

The Conover Company has a great package for special education classrooms that includes a classroom set of iPod Touches pre-loaded with age-appropriate videos setup into a functional skills system.  This system allows the students to learn functional skills to gain more independence in society.  The videos include an instructional phase, review phase, and generalization phase for life, literacy, math, social, and work skills. Some of the topics for the videos are learning about money, safety signs, tools for work, manners, social skills, describing words, clothing, entertainment, transportation, restaurants, shopping, labels, hygiene, grooming, and groceries.

The advantage of the iPod system is that the students can travel with the functional skills system to assist them in their day-to-day lives.  The touch screen capability of the iPod allows access to this system for students who may have limited hand movement or motion.  There is also a feature to modify the iPod into a single switch compatibility mode.  The videos include high-quality audio which used in conjunction with the vision impaired features of the iPod, allows access for students with low vision to utilize the functional skills program.  Closed-captioning is also available for the videos for students with hearing impairments.  This system can also be used on the computer instead of using iPod, but it would limit the use of the program outside of the classroom.  Another addition to the program is that there are print exercises that accompany this software for students to learn the functional skills in the classroom without the technology.

Videos of Special Education Students using iPods in the Classroom

Click Here to view a great video about how iPods can be used by teachers, students, and parents in the special education classroom.    In this video the teacher and sign language interpreter use the iPod as a communication device between the teacher, student, and parents.  The teachers also created videos of vocabulary in sign language and student accomplishments.  The parents can then see what the students are learning in class and become more involved at home.  The voice memo feature of the iPod is used to send information back and forth from families to teachers.  They have expanded the roll of the iPod in the classroom by video taping the stories that are being covered in class including audio, sign language, and photos from the books.  The stories can then be read at home to increase reading comprehension.

This video shows hearing impaired students utilizing the iPad for science education.  The teacher has the students completely engaged in their lesson combing the use of the iPad with sign language.  The video shows that the iPad is an innovative tool where the students can interact with each other in conjunction with their online textbook.  The features of the iPad that the students felt were helpful include the flip the screen, easy ability to scroll, enlarge images, search the net, and load their textbook.

Article by Laura Ketcham

Photo by FHKE

Free Teacher Resources | Special Education by MangoMon



iPads in Special Education Classrooms

Apple has added many features to the iPad to improve universal accessibility. The accessibility features include VoiceOver, MonoAudio, Zoom, Closed-caption, White on Black, and Triple-click Home.


The VoiceOver feature allows for individuals with visual impairments to touch the screen and then hear a description of what is being selected. The user can then use the commands to double-click, tap, drag, or flick to control iPad. This feature works with all of the applications built into iPad, and other software developers can also create applications that work with this feature. Another additional feature of VoiceOver is that it has the ability to accept some voice input. It also includes 21 languages and is compatible with iBooks that have the VoiceOver feature.


MonoAudio allows all channels of audio to be routed to one bud in the headphone. This feature is very useful for individuals who have lost hearing in just one ear. The Zoom feature allows the user to magnify the entire screen. This feature even works with all applications on the iPad, including applications downloaded from the App Store. Closed-Caption on the iPad displays subtitles for movies and podcasts. The White on Black feature allows for the iPad to be viewed at a higher contrast. This feature works with all applications on the iPad. The Triple-click Home feature is very useful. With the touch of one button, you can instantly turn feature of VoiceOver, White on Black, or Zoom on or off.

Post by Laura Ketcham

Photo by Curiouslee

Free Teacher Resources | Special Education by Learning Today


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