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Supporting diverse learners using Switch it! Maker 2 and Choose it! Maker 2

Tags: Cross-curricular | Diverse learners | Assistive technologies | Utilities/tools/gadgets | Lower primary | Lower secondary | Middle primary | Primary | Secondary | Upper primary | Upper secondary |

Switch it! Maker 2 and Choose it! Maker 2 were used to help a non-verbal, high needs student make activity choices with a single press head-switch.

"In our school we review how well e-learning creates inclusive pathways for all learners." 
eLPF 2014  

Making Choices using a head switch

Focus

A teacher at Kaka Street Special School, used Switch it! Maker 2 and Choose it! Maker 2 to create activities for a 10 year old, non-verbal, high needs student who was working below level one of The New Zealand Curriculum. Switch it! Maker 2 and Choose it! Maker 2 enabled the student to make activity choices with a single press head-switch.

Teaching and Learning

One of the student’s goals, taken from their Individual Education Programme (IEP), was to be able to choose an activity from a choice of two.

Creating the choice activities

The teacher wanted to provide activities that included such phrases as:

  • choose a favourite food from a choice of two food items
  • choose a favourite wrestler from a choice of two photos.

The teacher chose and uploaded images that had meaning for the student into Switch it! Maker 2 and Choose it Maker 2 . These included photos of the student and his classmates and others that reflected his key interests.

She then added written instructions and, using the in-built sound recorder, added oral instructions.

Doing the activities

The teacher then set up the interactive whiteboard and positioned the student so he was able to see the whole screen. He was geared up with a head switch and USB switch interface so he could operate the software independently by using the switch and scanning.

Scanning is the term used to describe how a highlighted box moves across icons, pictures, or words and when a switch is pressed it chooses the highlighted section.

The student was shown how to press the switch when the red box highlighted the correct answer.

Student outcomes

The student showed he understood the instructions in the activities. He became very animated when he saw the photographs reflecting his interests. He was able to answer the questions correctly the first time he used the programme.

The student gained confidence in using the switch to scan to make simple choices.

Where to next

The teacher intended to create further activities which would allow the student to make choices about his daily routine.

These activities would allow him to become more independent throughout his daily routine and could include choosing:

  • his morning tea or lunch
  • his physiotherapy equipment
  • where he would like to spend his playtime
  • stories
  • computer games.

Future goals

The student’s IEP goal could be developed to increase the number of choices or for the student to make more choices through his day.

With the student being able to use the head switch a number of exciting opportunities could be possible, for example, operating an electronic communication device or a motorised wheelchair.

Online discussions

Join the Virtual Learning Network (VLN) and participate in these discussions.

Universal design for learning  – creating learning options that cater for everyone, planning for diverse needs.
Special Education Online (SE Online) – is an open group in the VLN for teachers of children and young people with special education needs.
Assistive technologies and the challenge of inclusion  – this blog post discusses inclusive education, and how technology can support inclusion.

Software types

Find out more about the software types used in this snapshot.

Assistive technologies
Utilities/tools/gadgets


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