How iPads, iPhones, Macs are Used in the Special Education Class |  AppleInsider

How iPads, iPhones, Macs are Used in the Special Education Class | AppleInsider

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Using iOS and iPadOS in the classroom opens up low to no cost options for students and teachers after the initial investment. Let a specialist teacher explain to you what it is possible to do with Apple equipment in the field of education.

For teachers, saving time and money is essential. These are soon followed, of course, by saving all classroom and closet space. Indeed, the ability to harness the power of Apple’s devices and software certainly comes in handy in such an attempt at preservation.

Many teachers are turning to technology to help them produce better lessons, save on consumables, and provide more opportunities for student success. Here are some ways teachers are using iPhones and iPads in the classroom, while saving their hard-earned, honed cash.

Physical Flashcards vs Flashcard Apps

Each school year, teachers usually have to pay out of pocket to replace their flashcard packs. Teachers swear this is the pack that will stay perfect; but try as they will, these paper multiplication tables cards are not suitable for any class, any age!

This has led to an increase in the use of flashcard applications. Instead of having to figure out if this year’s set can make it through next September, a new digital bundle is still available on your iPad.

If you’re a teacher and want to make sure you’ve gotten the right set, be sure to check out a few different options before presenting to your students. There are plenty of flashcard apps in the App Store, each ready to help assess a litany of topics. You can even download an app and create your own!

Dedicated voice hardware and apps compared to iOS and iPadOS

Teachers, new and seasoned, quickly learn that the same iPad or iPhone that took over their flashlight and camera has now also become a versatile tool in the classroom. Special education teachers and administrators are no strangers to the ridiculous cost of dedicated hardware and software.

Speech-To-Text or Text-to-Speech (TTS) hardware and software are unnecessarily expensive. Even if teachers just download an app, things can turn out to be more expensive than necessary. For example, NaturalReader has great features and excellent feedback scores, but its freemium options cost between $9.99 and $109.99 for a monthly or annual subscription, respectively.

Better management of the difficult education budget can be the use of a combination of notes and dictation software that is free and already integrated into iOS or iPadOS.

Students who need or require assistive technology to write can use an iPhone or iPad to open a new note and dictate their responses. Then their data can be copied almost anywhere on iOS or iPadOS systems and into your favorite word processor. Even better, these notes can be saved in the cloud and presented later as proof of student progress!

FM units vs AirPods with live listening

FM units allow teachers to amplify or broadcast instructions for the benefit of some hearing impaired or retarded students. Unfortunately, these devices are often built with hardware from the 80s, programmed with software from the 90s, and then sold for twice the price of an AirPods and iPad combination.

FM units may also require a doctor’s note or may need to be included as part of an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This makes them expensive and difficult to obtain without a prescription. Here’s one listed on Amazon for $1863. And, it’s on the low end of the price range.

However, loads and loads of money could be saved with the use of AirPods and LiveListen.

Live Listen is a free built-in accessibility feature for iOS and iPadOS. Almost all types of AirPods and Beats wireless headphones can connect to an iPhone or iPad so that they can use their headphones as a listening device. Similar to an FM unit, the iPhone or iPad becomes the device’s microphone and transmitter, and the AirPods/Beats become the receiver and headphones.

Although it has yet to reach the mainstream, this combination has the potential to save teachers, schools, and entire school districts thousands of dollars.

There are a few cons, but the list is quite limited.

First and foremost, the student must either own both a pair of AirPods and an iPhone or iPad; or, at least, be able to connect their AirPods to their teacher’s device. These devices need to be charged and managed not only for daily use, but also for long-term storage.

Second, AirPods are by no means free. They can be lost or even swallowed so teachers and parents of younger students and/or some students with disabilities may find AirPods Max to be better, and still much cheaper than the alternative.

Again, it bears repeating that the cost of an iPad and AirPods Max combo will always cost less than almost any FM unit option, and not by a bit.

Costing less

Manufacturers and sellers love to charge extra for semi-niche products because, frankly, they can. And the American insurance industry allows them to charge exorbitant prices.

As long as there is little competition, prices remain high. Proprietary technology for education and specifically special education is an expensive business, but there’s nothing surprising about today’s FM units.

Calling FM units glorified walkie-talkies would be too bold a metaphor. These technologies are commonplace and certainly should not cost schools or families exorbitant amounts of money.

It is important to remember that teachers are the professionals and it is not strictly necessary to meet their equipment needs. However, it is equally important to spend time getting familiar with the hardware and applications used in the classroom.

Whether you’re a teacher or a parent of a child with special needs, always know how much money you can save by simply being in the know.

#iPads #iPhones #Macs #Special #Education #Class #AppleInsider

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