27 March 2015

Switch On Learning at Scarborough Village P.S. - Alternative Access Project

Switch On Learning at Scarborough Village

Recently, Miriam Taylor, Special Education Teacher at Scarborough Village Public School, hosted an observation classroom at her school to demonstrate how to use Alternative Access Devices with her students. Ms. Taylor is involved in the Alternative Access Pilot Project this year. She, along with teachers across the TDSB, has been attending Learning Community Sessions to learn how to incorporate Alternative Access Devices into their classrooms to allow students to participate in classroom lessons and activities and to demonstrate their learning and understanding. Through this project she had the opportunity to Co-Plan and Co-Teach a lesson with an Itinerant Resource Teacher with Assistive Technology.

During the Co-Planning session, a music sound effects activity was created for one of her Low Incidence classes that provided the opportunity for the students to use “switches” to access the Promethean Board.  The students used the “switch” to click on the musical instrument image to make the image move in some way, for example, get larger, turn, etc. They then used their “switch” to click on the sound icon to hear the musical instrument play. Afterwards, they were given the actual musical instrument to play on their own. Finally, they used their “switch” to click on the next page arrow to turn to the next page. There was one page created for each student in the class. Once everyone had their turn, all the students played their instruments. Switch accessible interactive music websites were visited after the “musical performance” where the students could create more music.
The students were engaged and learning the cause and effect aspect of using Alternative Access Devices. The visiting teachers were excited to see how the students responded to the switches and left with many ideas to incorporate back in their own classes. 


Two students using the BIG Mack Communicator Switch to have a pre-recorded welcome message read to the visiting teachers.
(left) Example of one of the lesson activity pages. (right) The Jelly Beamer switch used by the students for this activity.

Ms. Taylor showed how she adapted the n-ABLER Joystick for one of her students to focus on only one button (red – left click). The traditional joystick handle was also replaced with the “T bar” to allow for better grip. More buttons will be revealed when the student is ready.

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