Students often have particular learning needs that are difficult to manage in a classroom setting. Every child has a different learning style, and it can be challenging for teachers to support each of their students' individual needs. This is especially important in Special Education, where a teacher may have to accommodate many different learning disabilities - often whilst teaching a class full of students at the same time. With this in mind, Microsoft has carefully designed products and software to make it easier for teachers in the classroom.
We'd like to share some stories of U.S. teachers who are using technology in innovative ways to teach students with varying learning styles and disabilities.
Instructing students with disabilities
Robin Lowell is a distance learning teacher who teaches mathematics to students who are blind or visually impaired. Robin has come up with a way to use Microsoft Lync and Yammer to communicate with her students at the Washington State School for the Blind, 180 miles away from where Robin lives and teaches from home.
Michio Inaba, a deaf teacher at Osaka's Ikuno School for the Deaf uses Surface and OneNote every day to teach his deaf and hearing impaired students. Using these technologies, Michio is able to encourage the true potential of his students, in a society that he himself struggled in as a deaf person.
Flexibility to choose a stylus, touch, mouse or keyboard with Windows 8
Windows 8 enables students to adjust use their device the way that they want to. Windows allows students to personalise their device so that they can access their schoolwork in their own way, according to their abilities and needs. Some students prefer touch screen while others rather a mouse. Some may like a traditional keyboard for typing, while others may learn best by writing, so Windows 8's powerful handwriting recognition and stylus input may be the best option. Sonja Delafosse demonstrates how Windows 8 ink features work in the classroom.
Special Education apps for Windows
There are many education apps for Windows which enable students of all abilities to learn in different ways. Here's a few special education apps designed for students with disabilities:
- Tap to Talk turns any Windows 8 device into an affordable augmentative communication device, providing a non-verbal child or adult a voice
- Visolve is an assistive software for people with colour blindness. Visolve can apply some colour transformations, and simulations to an image taken by camera, saved in the file, or copied in clipboard.
- Talkingtiles is an assistive care app that can be used for communication (‘AAC’), learning, daily living and social skills for individuals with a special need, disability, or a behavioural health disorder. It can be personalized to suit the needs of both children and adults, making it an effective care and learning tool to enhance an individual’s quality of life.
If you've got an inspiring story of how you use Microsoft technologies for Special Education, we would love to hear! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and get in touch!