- A growing number of apps that appear on smartphones, tablets and computers are eliminating the need for some pricey assistive technology devices and allow special education students to work from devices that are no different than those of their peers, District Administration reports.
- Features like voice-to-text capability, eye-gaze technology, virtual reality devices and other apps, and browser extensions are replacing some devices that required special qualifications and funding in the past and offer new ways to help special education students learn and express themselves.
- Learning to program robots is also helping children on the autism spectrum develop collaboration skills and improve their social-emotional competencies.
The opportunities for students with special needs are expanding as a number of new apps can now be used in lieu of more expensive assistive technology devices. From text-to-speech apps to talking calculators, schools can how access these features on devices like those used by other students, drawing less attention to the special needs of the student. New GearVR Apps also allow students to see the world and beyond in ways that engage them in the virtual reality experience.
Robots are gaining more of a foothold in the educational world as robots such as Milo are helping autistic children gain valuable skills. The robot not only encourages students to learn to code, but ia also facially expressive, helping students develop social-emotional skills in a safe environment. Milo and other new educational robots appeared at the most recent ISTE conference.
While these new technology tools are valuable for special education, all educators can benefit from the growing number of educational apps available. Education Closet recently released its list of best STEAM websites and apps and Educational Technology and Mobile Learning shared some of the favorite apps for educators earlier this year. Some strong standbys that have been around for a couple of years are shared by Digital Trends on its list of 21 helpful apps for teachers and educators. Most of these apps are available at reasonable rates and offer low-cost ways to enhance the educational experience. Summer is the perfect time for administrators and teachers to explore these apps, find new favorites, and perhaps have a little fun along the way.