In my last blog post, I mentioned I wanted to contact more teachers after speaking with Mindy Myttenar about assistive technology. Last year, I had the opportunity to volunteer in a Grade 1 class. I thought the teacher that I volunteered with was a great person to contact and get some more information on assistive technology that is in classrooms today.
I again confirmed with the teacher to make sure that they were comfortable with me using their name, school, and grade in my blog post, out of common courtesy, copyright, and liability.
Miila Pullan is a Grade 1 teacher at Frank Hobbs Elementary School. I contacted her through email and she answered me back answering a couple questions I had. I asked her what types of assistive technology she uses, her thoughts on the pros and cons and how/have if she has personally seen them benefit her students?
At Frank Hobbs, they have both iPad’s and Chromebooks that are available for teachers to use. She mentioned that: “Typically the primaries use the iPads and the intermediates use the Chromebooks”. This is due to the fact that the Chromebooks they have to use need to be set up with a mousepad and they need to log in with their own login. This is a con for primary grades since it can take a decent amount of time and only having 30-minute blocks, it can just end up being a waste of time I did not take this into consideration when speaking with Mindy at Lakehill a simple task such as logging in and setting up a mousepad can be time-consuming for primary students versus intermediate students. A pro then for having iPads is that they have apps such as Book Creator, Ten Frames, and Scratch Jr to support students learning. Though a con is that they do not come with headphones and it can cause a noise problem. Another con is that the iPad’s also require a teacher to look after them so they are always updated, charged and in a portable carrier which is expensive. Then as for a final pro, the iPad’s are an assistive technology device that students love using and for the most part they are very knowledgeable on how to use them.
Then to answer my final question if Miila has seen the assistive technology available at her school benefits students, she said yes. It allows them to work in groups on interactive learning apps. They use the app Ten Frames to demonstrate their learning in math (addition) and use Scratch Jr to teach Grade 1’s coding. She also noted that students like a break from doing the regular worksheets since using the iPad’s are more hands-on and fun.