Thursday, February 9, 2017

3 Life-saving tips for using iPads in special needs classrooms

Technology is HUGE in most classrooms and most students love any tech time. I've found a few life-saving tips for making iPad time more meaningful for my kiddos and less stressful for staff.


1) Buy iPad stands
I have a few kiddos who want to run around the classroom with the iPad in their hands and a few students who have physical disabilities that keep them from holding the iPad. iPad stands that clamp to tables/ counter tops have been SO awesome to help all of our students be more independent when using the iPad.


A few tips for when picking a stand:
-Get one that attaches to the table with a c-clamp. The suction cups don't stick well, kids can pull them right off!
-Find one that has little clamps/hooks for the corner of the iPad.
We have this stand and LOVE it. Here are a few other affordable options:
$20 option 
$27 option 

2) Use the accessibility/ guided access to your advantage!
I'm not sure how many people know about the accessibility options with iPads, but they're awesome! I use guided access to "lock" my kiddos into a specific app or to keep them from clicking on certain parts of apps. Guided access can keep kiddos from stimming by changing or closing/opening apps, from opening ads, from going into game apps when they should be in academic apps, etc.

To turn on guided access: Click on settings > general > accessibility >  guided access. Then turn guided access on and set a passcode. Last, turn "accessibility shortcut" on. Your accessibility settings screen should look like this:

Now you'll be able to open an app, triple click the home button and then circle what parts of the screen you don't want kiddos to be able to access/ use and then click "resume."  If you don't circle spots on the screen that you don't want students to be able to use, then the iPad is just locked into the app (the home button won't work).


To get out of guided access, you just have to (quickly) click the home button three times, put in your passcode and click "end".

3) Set volume limits!
I have a few kiddos who refuse to wear headphones and always want to turn the volume up all the way. Some teachers might be okay with this, but when it's free choice time and 3 kids are in different apps with the volume maxed out, I go a little crazy. There are some volume limit settings within the iPad settings, but I quickly realized that it only works with certain apps. We got tired of prompting kids to turn it down so I found the app, Volume Sanity. It's only $3.99 and it let's you set a max volume for the entire iPad. It's seriously life changing.


Do you have any awesome tips for using iPads in special ed classrooms? I always love to hear other ideas!

Check out my Facebook page for more ideas and tips!


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