Sal McKeown and Angela McGlashon do teachers a favour by sharing best practice, says John Galloway
Teachers are using ICT to enrich learning in their classrooms, and engage more children more of the time. This works for all children, but especially those with the whole gamut of learning difficulties.
Brilliant Ideas for Using ICT in the Inclusive Classroom, by Sal McKeown and Angela McGlashon (published by David Fulton/nasen, 2012), is a book that shows you how.
It also shows how creative and imaginative teachers are – and how generous – as they share their ideas for the benefit of all. Teachers in a range of situations have contributed, making this not so much an instruction manual, as a selection of short case studies to whet the appetite and get the creative juices flowing. (Author Sal McKeown will be at BETT 2013 to share insights from the book – see details below.)
Brilliant ideas is a book of two halves. The first part gives examples from practice of the use of ICT in the widest sense – Satnavs, dance mats, and games consoles sit alongside more conventional equipment such as interactive whiteboards and laptops. Throughout the book there are ideas for using GPS, mobile phones, visualisers, various electronic toys, along with films and videos, animations and computer games, and specialist devices such as the Skoog.
Brilliant Idea 18, for instance, is about how they use the Wii at Dorin Park School in Chester. Apart from games playing, it has been used for developing motor skills, as a means of engaging pupils in counting and for creative expression through choosing the attributes of avatars. As well as this snapshot, the authors give ideas for other uses. Here they suggest using spreadsheets to chart performance over time, or filming sessions so pupils can comment on their performances, either using a voice-over, or with symbols.
It’s not just the technology, it’s also what it enables. Brilliant Idea 28 is about the communication-friendly environments developed in schools in Fife using Mayer-Johnson software to create materials using symbols. This is not just worksheets and activities, but also posters explaining class rules or messages about the school day. The benefits have been felt across the schools, and not just for the pupils who struggle with text, by creating a means by which any one can understand what is happening around the establishment.
Part two gives brief overviews of a host of resources, with ideas to start using them. Like the first section there is a mixture of resources we might recognise, and some that could be new to the reader. These include getting to grips with the less used aspects of PowerPoint, such as adding sound or hyperlinks, creating music with Garageband, and recording interviews for podcasts with Easispeak microphones.
Although with the pace of change some of the technology included here may not be with us for long, with new innovations arriving regularly, the creative and imaginative approaches to using it exemplified here will always be with us, along with teachers willingness to share them.
Brilliant Ideas for Using ICT in the Inclusive Classroom
By Sal McKeown and Angela McGlashon, published by David Fulton/nasen, £23.99
John Galloway works as advisory teacher for ICT/SEN and inclusion in Tower Hamlets, London, and as a freelance writer and consultant. He is the author of Harnessing Technology for Every Child Matters and Personalised Learning and runs his own blog.
Sally McKeown will be sharing some of the ideas from the book at BETT 2013, on Thursday January 31, from 13.15 to 14.00 in the SEN Theatre in a session entitled “Art, music, storytelling, video, animation and green screening in the inclusive classroom”.
SEN seminars at BETT 2013