Apps for Autism

A few of you may have some students who are on the autism spectrum. I’m always curious as to how these students operate in a classroom as I’ve never had the opportunity to work with these students). I thought that this little website gave me a bit of a better handle on how to help these students if I ever come across it in my classroom.

Apps for Kids with Autism




The TapToTalk iPhone app gives your nonverbal child a voice, making it a great fit for many autistic children. Using the app, children can explicitly tell parents, siblings and teachers what they’re thinking about and need. TapToTalk is changing lives because it is portable and customizable if you purchase TapToTalk Designer.

Price: Free



Teachers as a Network

This nifty little diagram was found over here on the CEA website.

My favorite part of this article was the example of a teacher with all these connections.

“Consider the following picture: Ms. Linkedin arrives at school by 7:30am for her 8:00am class. She is prepared to answer her students questions on last night’s lesson posted on the class wiki because their homework was to write their questions on a shared Google doc. This took no more than 10 minutes of her time and allowed her to adjust the morning’s lesson to accommodate for their questions. (The lesson was a video she flipped using the TED Edsite.) A departmental meeting is planned for her first spare of the day and as head, she has reduced the meeting time by half by collaborating asynchronistically on a Google doc. During lunch, Ms. Linkedin takes ten minutes to read a few tweets from her #edchat Twitter stream and to contribute a few of her own. The afternoon is smooth partly because of a great idea she gleaned from her Personal Learning Network (PLN) about assigning different roles in group work and now the class is humming with excitement. At the day’s end, Ms. Linkedin leaves deeply satisfied, partly because of her students’ enthusiasm and partly because of a parent’s compliment about the good work she is doing, evident by the open class wiki.”

I keep reading this over and over and it’s totally what I want to be.  But where to start…

Homework will be obsolete?

I read this list a few months back and I honestly thought it was a little scary at first. After thinking about things for a little bit I’m quite excited for these things to come to fruition. Here are a few of my favorites, but the full list can be found here!

    The 21st century does not fit neatly into rows. Neither should your students. Allow the network-based concepts of flow, collaboration, and dynamism help you rearrange your room for authentic 21st century learning.
    The 21st century is a 24/7 environment. And the next decade is going to see the traditional temporal boundaries between home and school disappear. And despite whatever Secretary Duncan might say, we don’t need kids to ‘go to school’ more; we need them to ‘learn’ more. And this will be done 24/7 and on the move (see #3).
    Wikipedia is the greatest democratizing force in the world right now. If you are afraid of letting your students peruse it, it’s time you get over yourself. I still use wikipedia as a base for information gathering.
    Bio scans. ‘Nuff said. We may have to wait a while for this one!
    Ongoing parent-teacher relations in virtual reality will make parent-teacher conference nights seem quaint. Over the next ten years, parents and teachers will become closer than ever as a result of virtual communication opportunities. And parents will drive schools to become ever more tech integrated.
    In ten years’ time, schools will decrease their paper consumption by no less than 90%. And the printing industry and the copier industry and the paper industry itself will either adjust or perish.

Mimio Vote

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting with new technology known as Mimio Vote. It’s the best thing that’s happened to science education since Borax. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but it has worked wonders in my Biology 20 class. The idea behind Mimio Vote is each student has a multiple choice handset, like in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Ask the Audience. This allows you to poll the students with a question at any time during the lesson. It used to be that lessons would consist of 20 minutes of notes followed by work time, or rather, time for motivated students to learn and non-motivated students to stall. Now my lessons take 50 minutes of a few notes with frequent Mimio Vote questions. Students are allowed to have their books open and talk to the people around them before answering. The idea is to get them to think about what they just learned, or to review background about what I am about to teach. Ironically, many of the questions I use for Votes are the same questions I would put on worksheets, only now, students actually want to answer them. It’s also helping immensely with their multiple choice test skills. If kids don’t get it, the results show right away and we can talk about why the answer they picked was wrong. Because the feedback is immediate, we can move on with the lesson knowing that everyone is on the same page. Feedback from the students suggests that they absolutely LOVE learning this way and they don’t mind that the lesson takes longer. It keeps them engaged and thinking during the lesson, instead of just being fed information in the form of notes. I think that a big pull for the kids is the novelty factor and the fact that the buttons on their handsets light up in pretty colours. I wonder if the novelty will wear off over time. In my Bio 20 class, it doesn’t seem to be losing its effect. Sometimes I wonder if this will take a toll on independent learning skills in the long run. It’s almost like they are being forced to work only one way and at one pace. There is very little self-motivation involved. However, their test results are showing huge improvements and retention of information. Mimio Vote: Talk to your administrators about investing in it.

Teach with your iPad

I have been on the hunt for my own iPad for my classroom for a while now. The only thing that has really stopped me is the cost. They are SO expensive. I also should mention that I am not getting one that has a plan either (only if you want 3/4G). Hopefully when I’m a member of a school board I can request one and be able to integrate it into my classroom as part of a PD project.

Ultimately I’d love to be able to have an interactive whiteboard as well as and iPad and be able to control it from where ever in the classroom. Serious dream right there! I’d also love to have a class set kicking around somewhere and have my students use apps in class to highlight activities. It would be so relevent, especially because of the recent trend with parents letting their children (ages 3+) use their own iPads/iPods. Take a look at this.

Here’s a little synopsis of the article:

• 42 percent of children under eight years of age have a TV in their bedrooms

• Half (52%) of all 0- to 8-year-olds have access to a new mobile device such as a smartphone, video iPod, or iPad/tablet.

• In a typical day, one in 10 (11%) 0- to 8-year-olds uses a smartphone, video iPod, iPad, or similar device to play games, watch videos, or use other apps. Those who do such activities spend an average of 43 minutes a day doing so.

Forty Three minutes per day! Can you even imagine?! Here’s something to use those 43 minutes to good use. Teach With Your iPad!


I am really loving all the technology finds. There is so much out there and I have barely even started looking. This is one of my recent finds. With the popularity of iPads and iPods it could be a little difficult to find apps that are useable in class (and have a validity to them). Here’s a handy site that breaks them down for you. There’s even a few sections for elementary classes.