Sure, technology is important to all of us—it’s difficult to envision life without our smart phones, tablets, and numerous other gadgets. But for ACCESS staff and students, technology is less about making life easier and more about making learning possible. Who better to attest to this than ACCESS’ very own Technology Resource Coordinator and Speech Language Pathologist, Janice Edmonson? When asked about the role technology plays at ACCESS, she observes, “On average, each ipad offers students 25 different apps designed to enhance cursive writing skills, memory and study skills, written expression, and encourage creativity. But this technology isn’t just about skill development—it’s about opening the lines of communication.” Surrounded by stacks of ipads that she’s been programming amidst her countless other duties, Janice smiles and continues, “In the immediate future, we want to implement ipad technology that will allow non-verbal students to express themselves…and that’s part of what makes the ACCESS curriculum truly amazing.”
Fundraising and grants have allowed ACCESS to purchase 156 ipads for its two campuses and Project Search®. Eighty of these ipads were obtained for ACCESS Academy students to use this year. Additionally, ACCESS was able to equip each classroom with a smartboard, teacher laptop, and document camera for projection. Soon ACCESS will be able to implement compensatory technology that will help students utilize word prediction, text-to-speech, and graphic organizers to compensate for written expression deficits.
As ACCESS continues to grow and evolve, so too will its technological needs. It strives to provide 1:1 technology for every school-age student—something it seeks to do in the Early Childhood program, including small, break-out session ipad labs in the classroom, focused on creating stories and illustrating ideas. These labs can assist in development of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. ACCESS will continue to implement its curriculum through technology and seek to incorporate audio books. For this reason, the annual giving campaign plays a critical role in securing the technology needed to support ACCESS’ mission of “expanding individual potential though innovative instruction.”
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