So last week my school district bought iPads for all of the special education teachers it employs. This was pretty exciting for me since my wife has a first generation iPad, and I have been watching her play with it in envy. We had a great training on all the features, as well as educational apps. Let's just say I was very impressed with the features that allow blind, or otherwise impaired individuals use it.
I began thinking of classroom applications for the iPad, and even used some of my special education funds to buy a pair of iPod touches to use with my students who have learning disabilities in reading. Audio books will be used next year with my eighth grade students who read on a 1st or 2nd grade level. With books like The Adventures of Tom Sayer, and The Diary of Anne Frank on their reading list those students would otherwise struggle to keep up. They would probably not learn much.
One of the other teachers in my school is responsible for the students with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of Autism. She has been using an iPad with her students all year with great success. They are able to dictate essays they would have otherwise been unable to write. They have been able to enjoy online educational content. They have even been able to address their sensory needs. Impressive.
Now I am not trying to say that audio books, or other technology will replace good old fashioned paper books anytime soon. What I will say is that I believe that this technology will make books more accessible to people who would have passed on reading in the past. For writers this is great news. News that I feel strongly enough to share on my writing blog. It is helpful to have a foot in the educational realm, especially when I spend a good portion of my time with my target audience for my YA stories. Hopefully you find this information helpful too.