Technology has wide-reaching potential for students with special needs

special-educationHunched over their iPads, the three seventh-graders took turns reading the document displayed on their screens.

One, Sam Seifert, followed along, while her special education teacher Jessica Waterstreet did the talking — Seifert has difficulty reading on her own. Seated near the center of the table, Blake Hanna recited the words softy, rushing through them quickly. Jacob Voracek, opposite Seifert, took the text more slowly, pronouncing each word with precision and care.

The day’s lesson, titled “Ben has good ideas,” focused on Benjamin Franklin and his scientific discoveries and inventions. Accessed via the app Educreations, the curriculum conforms to Mankato Public Schools’ seventh-grade standards but simplifies concepts so Seifert, Hanna and Voracek can understand them.

All three have developmental cognitive disabilities.

(Next page: How educators are using technology to help students with special needs)