The Lawrence school district has used iPads for a variety of things, from helping with student engagement to providing aid for special needs students. Here are some of the uses for iPads to be purchased with grants from the Lawrence Schools Foundation next year:
Early Bird Coffee Shop
• $1,800 to Free State High School for one iPad, plus supplies
Early Bird Coffee Shop is a program that gives the high school’s autistic students an opportunity to gain job experience and interactive skills by serving coffee before class on Thursdays.
Erin Campbell, who is in charge of the program, says the iPad will be used to make it easier for some of the autistic students to communicate with others. The students can use a speaking app, such as Pro Loquo 2 Go, to communicate. Campbell hopes will break down barriers between them and the rest of the students.
“Hopefully it will teach others that speaking isn’t the only other way to communicate, and to be more understanding of students,” she said. Initially the program will use just one iPad, but if it works Campbell said they will purchase more.
• $2,038 districtwide for two iPads, plus software
The program will provide iPads and software to both of the district’s music therapists. The therapists will use the iPads to increase engagement of special needs children who qualify for music therapy. Shelia Smith, assistant director of special education, said the iPads can be used as a motivator to pay attention and can also be used as a tool to create music.
“They are going to use this as a tool,” she said. “It’s an innovative grant. It’s going above and beyond what is necessary to increase their learning and engagement. It will hopefully increase engagement.”
Sixty-five students in the Lawrence school district qualify for music therapy.
• $3,000 to Kennedy School for four iPads, plus software
Speech and language teachers will use the iPads to help preschoolers with communication disorders. Meaghan Goodman, speech-language pathologist and grant writer, hopes this will help increase the communication abilities of nonverbal students by engaging them with educational applications.
“It’s really great because it allows you to work with the whole spectrum of speech disorders,” she said.