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