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iPad Apps for Accommodations

I often see posts from teachers and parents alike asking for the “best apps” for such-and-such age group, but I lament what is missing from those questions: what can the apps be used for?
The iPad is such a great accommodation tool, less noticeable and more functional (in my experience) than a Chromebook.  Yes, apps facilitate learning, but they can’t replace an experience or learning opportunity. When you have apps like the ones below, you can accommodate so many different learning differences! Let’s think of it this way:

App or Function:
 Who it helps
How it helps
 Siri and/or recording functions
Helps students with 

  • dysgraphia, 
  • executive functioning differences, 
  • ADHD, 
  • dyslexia 
  • and more

Allows students to 

  • get their thoughts out of their head or 
  • replay instructions back (especially those unwritten expectations!)
  • help with spelling

Digital binders like Notability

(Google Drive and its associated apps can also be used for a digital binder, but it requires a higher level of organizational/executive functioning skills than Notability (unless the teacher or parent controls the organization for the student))
Helps students with 

  • executive functioning differences, 
  • ADHD, 
  • dyslexia, 
  • FASD,
  • or anyone who has difficulty keeping track of their papers (automatic save function is fabulous!)

Allows students to

  • touch/write anywhere on the page that makes sense to them with  their finger, a stylus or type, or even Siri to keep up with class notes
  • take pictures or add scans of examples, notes on the board, experiment steps and so many more…
  • use strategies without being as obvious – like a multiplication chart, dictionary app, or a visual reminder or schedule
  • complete the same or differentiated worksheets or assignments without drawing attention to the difference
  • add complexity to an assignment by simplifying the executive management skills needed to organize and complete a project, like adding a webpage directly into their notes to help them remember or put information into their own words

 KindleVoice Dream and others

Helps students with

  • who are auditory or can process more fully when their work is audible,
  •  who have difficulty with reading comprehension and 
  • sometimes processing speed and/or working memory, 
  • or students whose impulsivity makes it difficult to attend to the words

Allows students

  • an opportunity to listen to what they are reading while following along with the words
  • while Audible can take away the stress of interpreting the print

Khan AcademyEdPuzzle and others

Helps students with

  • Helps students with writing or reading learning differences, 
  • any student with processing and/or working memory differences, 
  • any student needing the reinforcement of a concept or 
  • allowing students to advance or deepen their ideas on a topic if they enjoy or excel at it

Allows students

  • a visual opportunity to learn and practice - very different from our worksheet-based practice

Allows teachers
  • an opportunity to flip their lesson and differentiate during class time

Helps students with

  • dyslexia, 
  • dysgraphia, 
  • executive functioning differences, 
  • sometimes ADHD, 
  • who refuse to write, 
  • it can also reduce anxiety that may surround writing

Allows students

  • to express themselves more creatively
  • to excel in writing process and structure
  • represent information in different ways
  • practice 21st century presentation skills

Helps students with

  • anxiety, 
  • any learning difficulty especially checking for comprehension

Allows students

  • understanding what is going on
  • doesn't single students out for their answers or the question that they received 

Dr. Ross Greene says kids do well when they can and when they don't, it is a lack of skills.  Well, by helping a student who has difficulty without drawing undue attention to their student or requiring too much from a teacher, we can make up for some of those lacking skills and allow them to participate more fully.  The iPad has a place in the classroom and it is more than as a centre or a time-passing app that practices a particular skill. The iPad is a powerful accommodation!

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