Topic: Current Generation of Tablet Computers and Deaf-Blindness

Date 01/27/2011

By Cristi Saylor

Subject iPad experiments with students

Over the past few weeks I've begun experimenting with the iPad and my students who range from hard of heraing to deaf to special Ed to general Ed. (I'm a DHH itinerant teacher).
So far I've seen that each student has been interested in using it - I've used two baby apps to teach iPad skills plus two communication apps - Verbal Victor ($7) and Tap to Talk (free). Sound quality, picture quality, glare and dexterity are all playing a role in how well a student uses it for communication. As for ease of use I'm liking Verbal Victor especially for emerging communicators. For students who can handle sets and subsets Tap to Talk is a quick and easy app or a more complicated and well designed app is Touch chat($145).
Still with all the drawbacks I can see using this for kids in more capacities than communication. For example it was one of the few things that held a young pupil's attention for longer than one minute. Now the challenge is to create apps that address the needs of a wide variety of people and can contribute to everyone's quality of life - one such innovation is the device that allows one to swipe in the air and the iPad screen responds. As I continue to experiment I'll post comments and / or write articles. And I hope everyone else does too. There's so much to be learned from each others' experiences.