Albany schools acquires iPads for use in teaching students with autism
ALBANY, Ore. (KMTR) - Teachers may have unlocked the secret to helping children with autism get through school.
A new grant has allowed for iPads in the hands of more than a dozens kids and they’re already making a huge difference.
Albany schools rolled out the 14 new iPads in late January for a special communications classroom at Liberty Elementary. On Friday, the devices helped kids who typically have a more difficult time learning.
Debra Redpath told NewsSource 16 that she uses the iPads in her third to fifth grade classrooms. Her students have various diagnosed forms of autism – some struggling with reading, motor skills, writing, social skills and some social rules like sharing or taking turns – so with the iPads, they stay on task and are better learners due to individual attention.
“The progress has been faster because of the visuals, because of the immediate feedback and because it looks like its in game format, so that's been highly motivating for the students, which has kept them on task,” she said.
The district’s technology coach, Tim Haag, helped get the ipads. He said while he knows there is criticism out there that the iPads can be seen as a toy, the district is using the devices for a specific and focused use.
"It is a personal learning partner. If you play to the technology's strength, than its going to pay off and the strength is audio, video, playback and rehearsal and practice,” Haag said.
Kids were using the ipads while NewsSource 16 was there Friday to learn fractions. Redpath said using the iPad for that subject, so far, has had kids learning the subject faster than they ever have before.
Albany School District said it’s too early to tell if they’ll purchase more iPads for student use but they plan on finding new uses for the device as they continue to use them. They’d also like to find new learning “apps.”