Sunday, October 9, 2016

High Tech Schedules

"High Tech" Schedules

I am very fortunate to work in a school district where most of my students have unlimited access to high tech electronic devices. At the middle school and high school level almost every student has either a personal iPod, iPad, or iPhone purchased by their family....or a district provided device. 

These devices allow my students to develop a variety of new skills that will likely prove essential to their future. 

Enter INDIVIDUALIZED SCHEDULES ON iDevices. This is one of my favorite skills to teach my students. 

The use of devices for individual schedules is amazing for a few reasons: 

1. They are super portable. 
 We know many of our kiddos thrive from the structure that schedules provide. Furthermore, schedules can help introduce changes ahead of time...which is a huge antecedent behavior strategy that works for many.  
Smaller electronic devices fit in our pocket and can go everywhere with the student. This helps ensure they are with the learner when they need to be. Amazing!

2. They are discreet. 
I cannot tell you how many times I am observing my students in community settings and realize they look completely TYPICAL looking at their schedules compared to others around them also on their phones. I know my students are running their individual motivational system or using their device to access a prompt they need..... but everyone else just sees another teenager checking their text messages or email. Devices help our students stay achieve independence completing various life skills AND they help them blend with others in their environment..... WIN-WIN!

3. They are age appropriate!
This is one of my favorite reasons. It is so important to help our older students with age appropriateness....not always easy when you have students who exclusively wear Blues Clues backpacks and quote Sesame Street. There may be a place for allowing access to baby TV shows as reinforcement....however, the place for these things is not in the middle school classroom. 
Many adolescents have personal phones, tablets, or iPods. The devices keep them connected to their friends, family, and the world.....and this can also be true for our students. 

4. They are motivating. 
This likely does not come as a suprise to many of you that tablets and iDevices are super motivating to our learners....just as they are to typical kids. Besides schedules...students can access reinforcement on their devices. There are so many options!

My FAVORITE schedule apps:
Re-Do (Repeatable To-Do) --> Great age appropriate schedules for older learners who know how to read and do not need visual supports. 

Pros: Allows for creation of multiple schedules. Schedules are easy to follow/view multiple steps at once. Allows you to put extra information in "notes" sections. I use this for shopping lists and embedded prompts. Excellent low price. 
Cons: Does not have ability to embed pictures or videos

FTVS HD- First Then Visual Schedule --> Great schedule for non-readers or those who need extra visual/behavioral supports. 

Pros: Allows you to embed pictures, videos, and token economies to support students. 
Cons: More expensive than Re-Do. 

I know it may not be possible for everyone to have a personal device, but if it is an option.....start teaching your students as soon as you can--- these skills are irreplaceable. 

Ideas if your students do not have access ?:
- bring your own device from home to use in the classroom
- ask for donations of outdated/unused phones from other can still charge and use an old phone for apps without their being a data plan. You just need WIFI
- ask your PTO, principal, etc. You may be surprised what you can get for your students once you ask. 

Good Luck! :)

-- AU-some Adolescents

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