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Teaching and Learning Highlight: iPad Pilot Project

Monday's Teaching and Learning Highlight featured the “iPad Pilot Project.”

At Monday night’s School Committee Meeting the Teaching and Learning Highlight featured the “iPad Pilot Project” that is currently taking place under the direction of Dr. Arlene Grubert, Foxborough Public School’s Director of Special Education. The project seeks to remove barriers for students with disabilities so they can access and participate in their home community with independence and success.

Dr. Grubert was joined by teachers Mrs. Renee Muirhead and Karen Chmielinski, 8th grade student Eliza Alden, friend of a student using an iPad, and Mrs. Kathy McLaughlin, parent of a student benefitting from the iPad Pilot Project. The group highlighted the exciting success students are having with particular applications (apps) on the iPad as part of this pilot project. 

One application that Foxborough students particularly enjoy is Proloquo2Go. It is an assistive technology iPad application that is specifically designed for students with Autism.  One of the greatest challenges with Autism is the limitations in communication. Visual prompts within the Proloquo2Go app has helped assist students with communication and vocabulary.   Foxborough student Erin McLaughlin was featured as part of the pilot project. Teachers shared the success that Erin has had and spoke to how she has learned to organize topics and conversations. As a result, her "language has exploded." The excitement regarding the progress that she has made in regards to language and communication was evident from what was shared by teachers, her friend and her Mother.  The iPad Pilot Project helped move Erin’s language from written scripts to a place where she is now able to use the app for more generalizations.  The group shared a brief video clip that illustrated how the visual prompts on the iPad helps Erin to put more sentences together than before.

As part of the pilot project many other applications are being explored, specifically in respect to how they may fit with students’ Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals.  The iPad has proved effective in recent studies in opening new doors for our students in both communication and learning and has opened new doors for students in the Foxborough Public Schools; the possibilities are endless and very exciting.

*The following was submitted by Amy Berdos, Assistant Superintendent of Schools

Buck Farack January 11, 2012 at 03:12 PM
It's amazing how prices for these programs and devices have dropped and the functionality/flexibility has increased. A few short years ago if a child required an augmentative communication device it would cost several thousand Dollars. Now it can be done for the price of an iPad or even an iPod/iPhone and under $200 for the software.
Dennis Naughton January 11, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Great to see Foxborough's special education program being so progressive!
Janet Sroczynski January 11, 2012 at 03:41 PM
The television segment that aired on Sunday night, October 23, 2011 on "60-Minutes" -the iPad by Apple Computer/Steve Jobs interview with "Proloquo2Go" - product. The tablet/iPad with special applications are helping autistic people to communicate, some for the very first time. The link is found at: 1) http://www.CBSNews.com/8301-18560_162-20124225/apps-for-autism-communicating-on-the-iPad/. To the woman who sat next to me and chatted with me some time ago, and who lives in the greater New Bedford, Massachusetts area.....I do so hope that someone from UMASS-Dartmouth receives a copy of this email, and that a program like this...utilizing the iPad, will be of benefit to you. My warmest regards to you. And thank you, for that conversation. Separately, the information above with regard to the iPad product "Proloquo2Go" was shared back on October 25, 2011 with a member of the Easton School department. Nice to see Foxboro using it as well. Hopefully, other people who watched the "60-Minutes" television segment, are also interested in the product...and perhaps will find it useful.

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