Through the use of innovative technology and an educational partnership, we have improved the learning environment of elementary students with special needs. Molloy College graduate educations students undertook a virtual case study of fourth and fifth grade students at St. Agnes Cathedral School who receive resource room support with the aim of designing an array of educational iPad apps to target their areas of need. The elementary school students had the use of their own iPad2 with these apps to support their learning goals both in and outside of the classroom. The goal for this project was to demonstrate measurable improvement for these students academically, emotionally, and socially.
This was a pilot program, begun with a small population of special needs students on one or two grade levels (fourth and fifth graders) and the project will expand to all grade levels and the general population of the school once a successful operational method and assessment procedure has been established. We plan to seek partnerships with other elementary and secondary schools in our geographic area. We know how much the iPad and the myriad array of educational apps available have changed what we can offer in the form of individualized educational experiences and feel that the use of this technology will motivate both teachers and students who are often hard to reach through conventional means.