SPED 300 Children and Youth With Exceptionalities - Kirk Street Ellis

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About This Article

This article describes how mobile computing, specifically tablets, was piloted in Professors Jim Kirk, Steve Street, and Troy Ellis's SPED 300 Children and Youth With Exceptionalities to transform teaching and learning.

Intended Audience

WSU instructors interested in past faculty experience with tablet devices in the classroom.

Spring 2013 iPad Pilot

Students in this course had access to an iPad tablet to use throughout the Spring 2013 and following semesters along with several apps selected by the professors for use in class.

How the iPads are Used in SPED 300

iPads were provided to students in SPED 300 to aid in their investigation and understanding of assistive technology. Students were assigned to investigative groups with each group looking at different applications that could be used to assist people in communicating. As results were discovered, applications were documented in a Wiki so all students had access to all reviewed applications.

The major objective of this pilot was:

  • Build familiarity with tablets as assistive devices. As students selected and tested new applications and listened to the results of other students' testing, they became more comfortable with how tablets can be used as communication tools in an assistive capacity.


Changes in the classroom

  • Students looked at tablets in a new way. By examining the various applications and assistive techniques, the students developed an understanding of how tablets are valuable educational tools.
  • Students developed a better feel for assistive technology. The introduction of tablets to the class expanded the student view of assistive technology. Hands-on exercises were valuable.


  • Examine the assistive features built into the device itself. Apple has included various assistive technologies into the iPad, including text to speech, voice over, color and contrast controls, captioning, assistive touch, and more. Beyond looking at just third-party applications, these built-in features are worth investigating as well.

iPad Applications Employed in SPED 300

Professors Kirk, Street, and Ellis used the following applications in their SPED 300 iPad pilot:

  • Tap to Talk
  • Dragon Dictate
  • Proloquo2go
  • Alpha Writer
  • Articulation Station

Descriptions, pricing, and links to iTunes for each of these applications is available on the iPad Pilot Applications page.

More Information

Related Wiki Topics