How the iPad changed our Class this Year

by Guest Blogger Vicki Windman

As school winds down for students, it is a time of reflection for teachers.Technology has been a tool that has enhanced the learning of my developmentally disabled students. It was the computer first, then the Smart Board -- but it's the iPad that has made the most dramatic change.Three reasons: first, it connects with the whiteboard; second, groups can be broken down by level, and finally, apps can be individualized for each student to improve their learning skills.

As a class each student voted their favorite app and how it has helped them with spelling, math, memory, social skills, etc.

Park Math (opens in new tab) ($1.99) *2011 Parents’ Choice Silver Award winner - Parents’ Choice Foundation *2010 Best Kids' iPhone/iPod App of the Year Award - iLounge * Children’s Technology Review Editor’s Choice Award for Excellence in Design.

Counting, addition with visual, See Saw greater than/ less than, subtraction with visuals, pattern, sorting.Allows the class to break down based on skill level and gives students an opportunity to work on their own needs.

Think big (opens in new tab) ($.99) How to differentiate biggest number and smallest number.Rewards, motivations and challenges to increase skill level.

Logic (opens in new tab) ($.99) Includes 5 languages. Helps students sort letters, numbers, shapes, colors and figures. Good for students who have fine motor difficulty.ABC Photo Touch (opens in new tab) (Free). Learn the ABCs by sight, sound, and touch.

Come, Learn, Spelling (opens in new tab) (Free). Simple flash cards teach how to spell the days of the week, months, body parts, foods and other common words.

Dexteria (opens in new tab) ($4.99) therapeutic hand exercises that improve fine motor skills.

After Me (opens in new tab) ($1.99) App of Simon says game that helps to improve memory skills and basic words that kids should know.

Talking Gina (opens in new tab) Free -- and this year’s class favorite. It let us hear what we sound like when we speak and made us laugh.

The iPad has brought my class to a new level of learning.As I search for apps, the goal is to make learning fun and innovative while meeting the academic needs of my students. I will continue to be on the look out for the best educational apps that bring creativity and excitement to the learning process.

Vicki Windman is a special education teacher at Clarkstown High School South.