STEM and Technology Programs at Alpha School
We incorporate STEM Lab along with a variety of technology into all of our classrooms and therapy areas. Touch screens and other adaptive devices are used so that the computer is accessible to everyone.
Our STEM Program
STEM is so much more than just teaching those subjects. It’s about the thought process and the higher-order thinking that goes into solving problems. Incorporating STEM education into the special needs classroom can benefit the students and prepare them for their future. They will be more prepared for the challenges that await them outside the classroom environment.
Here at Alpha School, we integrate various STEM lessons and tools such as Makey Makey, Ozobot, and Gravity Maze. Our very own supervisor of instruction Diane Gray of Alpha School, and Amy Brandon, the supervisor of instruction at Harbor School, presented the benefits of using STEM in the special education classroom.
Augmentative/Alterative Communications (AAC) systems are utilized in order to facilitate interactions. Various devices including dedicated speech generating devices, iPads with AAC applications, VOCAs (Voice Output Communication Aids), PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), PODD (Programmatically Organized Dynamic Display), Tactile Symbol Systems and Sign Language are examples of systems implemented in order for each student to have a voice. Speech therapists are able to recommend evaluations, customize devices and provide direction for implementation within the classroom.
Our computer implementation includes the use of tablets, iPads, and classroom computers. We utilize a wide variety of computer-based learning programs including Brain Pop, Learn 30, Enchanted Learning, Vizzle, Discrete Trial Trainer, Unique hearing systems and other technology based tools that offer students another avenue to meet individual learning needs.
White Board Systems
Each classroom is equipped with a whiteboard, Mimio system and stylus. Students use the interactive white boards to help support them in the learning process. The whiteboards not only display information for students to view, but they become an interactive screen through the use of the Mimio system and stylus. Students are able to move about the classroom and answer questions by simply touching the board in the appropriate area with the stylus. This is just another modality to help students become engaged in their own learning. This white board system works very well with our Vizzle computer program.
Technology is engrained throughout the school day at Alpha School. In any particular classroom, numerous students will be using iPads to help them communicate, answer questions, make requests and socialize with their peers. The various apps on the iPads serve as reinforcement for academic topics being taught in the classroom. In order to stay on top of what’s new and exciting, our technology department sends out weekly notifications for apps that teachers and therapists might find useful.