Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Supporting Teaching and Learning through ICT

ICT has the potential to transform the educational opportunities and life skills of people whose special educational needs might otherwise marginalise them. Many pupils with a Severe or Profound Learning Disability (SPLD) often rely on technology to enable them to access many areas of the curriculum. Assistive or adaptive technologies (AT) facilitate access to learning and communication for students with SPLD.

ICT is most effective with students when it supports:

  • Active involvement in learning
  • Interest and engagement in learning
  • Differentiated learning
  • Access to the curriculum
  • Assessment of and for learning

Benefits of Using ICT

The ways in which ICT may benefit students with SPLD is dependent on each student’s individual learning needs and abilities:

  • provides motivating and stimulating learning experiences and gives instant feedback to student’s responses
  • enables students to learn fundamental cognitive skills such as contingency awareness (cause and effect) and early problem solving
  • facilitates pupils to develop fundamental communication skills (both receptive and expressive); for some students, technology may be the only way to communicate with the world around them
  • Software programmes can provide exciting and stimulating repetition – often required to consolidate learning
  • can provide a means for pupils to work independently and therefore not continually having to rely on others
  • facilitates the development of motor skills, eye tracking and hand-eye co-ordination.
  • facilitates social interaction and turn taking skills
  • can be used to introduce simple concepts such as choosing, matching and sorting

Examples of ICT Devices used in our school include:

  • Eye Gaze Technology
  • Interactive Plasma Screens
  • iPads
  • Jelly bean switches
  • Variable pressure switches
  • Wobble switch with Sensitrac Angle Arm
  • Bead Curtain switch
  • Grasp switch
  • String switch
  • UV Rod switch
  • Some AT devices can be used to enable and facilitate develop communication skills. These devices can augment a student’s ability to communicate and are often referred to as Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices.

Examples of AAC devices used in our school:

  • BigMack
  • SmallMack
  • 2 or more communicators e.g. GoTalk

    (see NCCA Guidelines, Introduction, Section 4, p. 32)

Software
Software content should be appropriate to students’ ability, preference and age, bearing in mind any additional sensory impairment the student may have. Software should be motivating and rewarding, varying from images of simple colourful shapes and patterns to everyday objects and simple stories with a good sound output. Software should have options for type of switch access, colour choice, timing and number of activities and rewards.

Examples of software used in our school:

  • Cause and Effect – SwitchIt Patterns, Things, Farm, Wildlife, Weather, People, Hygiene, Christmas, Big Bang Patterns, Big Bang Pictures, Touch Balloons
  • Choosing – ChooseIt Maker Series, FaceMaker, Jigsaw Maker, Choose and Tell Nursery Rhymes
  • Personalised Programmes – SwitchIt Maker
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19 2018
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20 2018
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Contact
St. Michael's House
Special National School,
College Street,
Baldoyle,
Dublin,
Ireland

01 832 3043



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