Human Rights in the Classroom: iPad Applications for Students With Disabilities

Human Rights in the Classroom: iPad Applications for Students With Disabilities

Julia Bennett Grise
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6939-8.ch003
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Inclusion, including students with disabilities in the general education classroom, has become the norm in the United States due to Public Law 94-142 (P.L. 94-142). The requirements of P.L. 94-142, now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), are explained in this chapter. Additionally, school districts are required to provide students with disabilities assistive technologies. Twenty-first century classrooms are now using Apple's iPad on a regular basis, with all students, in place of other assistive technologies. Apple's App Store offers numerous applications that can be used by students with disabilities. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a review of special education laws in the United States, while offering educators, parents, and specialists an overview of applications that have been developed for a variety of disabilities. Each application is categorized and briefly explained. The cost and compatibility with Apple devices is also provided.
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General educators in the past have been required to teach students content knowledge, ensure that students were in a safe environment, and develop positive and trusting relationships with the faculty, staff, and parents within the community. In the past, direct instruction was the main means of delivering content material to students. Today, general educators’ daily responsibilities and the way to deliver instruction continuously changes with societal shifts and mandated laws. General educators teach in inclusive classrooms, using differentiated instruction, to reach the learning needs of all students. The transition to inclusion has been a direct result of one of the main special education laws in the United States: Public Law 94-142 also known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Congress, 1975). This law, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), and its progression over the past 40 years, has merged general and special education in hopes of providing a successful and appropriate education for all students, regardless of disability. Now that students with disabilities are included in the general education classroom, on a regular basis, it is the general educators’ responsibility to provide instruction, curriculum, and assessments that meet each learner’s individual needs while preventing students with disabilities from feeling stigmatized.

As technology continues to improve, the opportunities that educators have to differentiate instruction, curriculum, and assessments for all students grows and can prevent students from feeling uncomfortable or branded by their disability. The current mobile devices that are being used in classrooms worldwide have features that are specifically designed to assist students with different learning needs; therefore, both general and special educators should take advantage of technology in an effort of providing every learner with the best educational experience possible.

Although multiple mobile devices and different assistive technologies exist, Apple’s iPad has become the dominant device used in classrooms. Apple consistently provides updates and applications that are designed specifically for general and special educational settings (Apple Inc., 2017). The applications available provide educators with the opportunity to individualize learning.

The purpose of this chapter is to discuss human rights for students with disabilities, contribute to existing literature on mobile learning and device use for students with disabilities, and provide educators with a resource on how to improve learning for students using an iPad. This chapter will provide a look into how an iPad, and its multiple features and applications, can be used by educators and students in an inclusive environment. It will also provide applications that can be used by parents, therapists, and specialists. Objectives of the chapter include:

  • 1.

    P.L. 94-142 and Technology: Providing a brief literature review on the progression of public laws related to special education, inclusion, and technology.

  • 2.

    Mobile Learning and Students with Disabilities: Providing a brief review on mobile learning and the existing literature related to technology and students with disabilities.

  • 3.

    Apple iOS and Special Education: Explaining how to access the education and special education section of Apple’s App Store and describing how Apple Inc. has changed to assist students with different learning abilities.

  • 4.

    Specific Applications and Application Advantages: Providing descriptions of applications that the literature has found successful for students with learning disabilities and providing multiple advantages of using the iPad and special education applications instead of other assistive technologies. The applications are broken into the following categories: Communication and Language Development, Seeing and Hearing, Life Skills and Tracker/Reward, Motor and Visual Perception, and Emotional Development.

  • 5.

    Limitations of Current Research and Future Recommendations: Explaining current research and technological limitations and providing researchers with recommendations on how to contribute to the literature surrounding mobile learning and students with disabilities.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Individualized Education Program (IEP): A document for a public school student with a disability, created by parents, students, and educators, which describes how the student learns, lists modifications and adaptations, and states student short and long-term educational goals.

App Store: Created by Apple Inc., the App Store is a place for users to find and purchase applications available on Apple’s iOS operating system.

Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA): Formerly known as Public Law 94-142, IDEIA is a special education law in the United States that requires free public education and appropriate adaptations and resources for any child with a disability.

Mobile Learning: Developing a set of skills or increasing knowledge through the use of any mobile device.

Assistive Technology (AT): Any item or device that assists a person with a disability perform specific tasks.

Differentiated Instruction: A teaching philosophy, coined by Carol Ann Tomlinson, which requires educators to differentiated instruction and assessment based on student differences.

Inclusion: Included students with disabilities in the general education classroom.

Least Restrictive Environment: Educating students who have disabilities, with their nondisabled peers, for the maximum amount of time possible.

Applications or Apps: Software downloads, free or available for purchase, found in the Apple App Store.

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