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Making choices using Switch it! Maker 2 and Choose it! Maker 2

Tags: Cross-curricular | 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 10 year old student, who was non-verbal, communicate activity choices with a single press head-switch at Kaka Street Special School.

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

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 built-in 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 throughout 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.

Centre for Assistive Technology  – this group is facilitated by the Centre for Assistive Technology Advisor with the Ministry of Education, who provide advice on the use of technology to enable students to access the New Zealand Curriculum.

Assistive Technology – share and discuss assistive technology options and the ways that both specialised assistive technology and standard technologies can be used to support students in this group.

Special Education Online (SE Online) – is an open group for teachers of children and young people with special education needs.