With July quickly coming to an end, school is just around the corner! That means that teachers of students with special needs are hard at work with IEP goals and objectives, updating student schedules and lesson plans, and meeting new parents. With only a few weeks left before the first day of school, it’s understandable for teachers to become overwhelmed – especially for those that aren’t technologically savvy. As interactive technology is becoming increasingly common in special needs classrooms, it is crucial that teachers get a head start and familiarize themselves with their classroom’s interactive software. That’s why Vizzle suggests these five tips to help teachers prepare for a high-tech school year.
1. Communicate with Parents
By now, every special education teacher knows that no two students are alike. Students will be at different learning levels, have unique needs, or prefer a different learning style than their peers. Communicating with parents before school starts is one way to stay ahead of the curve. Asking your student’s parents about their child’s individual learning needs, styles, and preferences will help you create customized lesson plans and activities for each of your students. Tailoring lessons to cater to the needs of your students will help them stay engaged and ensures that they have access to quality content.
2. Set Student Logins
In this day and age, technology is present in just about every aspect of our lives. This is especially true in the classroom where assistive technology can serve as an integral learning tool for students with special needs. However, this technology takeover isn’t void of glitches and malfunctions. One way to stay on top of the technology takeover is to get a handle on your student’s login information before the school year starts. Not only will this ensure that your students are ready to go on the very first day of school, it also gives you a chance to get parents familiar with the software before the year starts!
3. Set a Schedule
It can be difficult to create a schedule for an entire class – especially before identifying the needs of your classroom. However, creating a schedule of technology use for your students can help minimize anxiety for students with special needs. For example, decide when and for how long students will use iPads for individual work or how often students will work in groups on an activity. While this schedule will likely change as you become more attuned to classroom needs, a predetermined schedule will help you keep your class on task during the early weeks of the school year.
So far, we’ve covered a few basic steps to help you prepare for a high-tech school year no matter what gadgets you decide to use in your classroom. While we hope these tips are helpful to all teachers, the next two tips are especially for those that are heading back to school with Vizzle!
4. Play Around
Special education teachers never take a break – not even during the summer! That’s why it’s important to find time to play! While Vizzle games and activities can be tailored to meet every student’s needs, it’s essential that teachers take time to explore the different activities and lessons that their students will use. Playing lessons will give teachers an idea of what types of activities will best fit their curriculum and support student IEP goals and objectives! Additionally, playing lessons will give teachers a chance to navigate and familiarize themselves with the site before the classroom gets to hectic.
5. Find Support
You’ve taken all the steps to make sure your classroom technology is ready for the school year – you’ve set student logins and introduced the software to parents. You’ve even tried the app on different devices just in case the computer crashes again. But for whatever reason, you can’t seem to figure out how to add the new student to your roster. That’s why learning where to find support is vital to successfully integrating technology into the classroom. Whether it’s watching a tutorial on Youtube, calling the 24-hour help desk, or contacting your account manager to schedule a training for your district, knowing where to find assistance can make or break your transition back into the classroom.
The start of the school year can be an exciting time for many teachers as they enthusiastically welcome new students and try new learning tactics. It’s also an exciting time for Vizzle as many teachers are saying goodbye to Vizzle Classic and heading back to school with NextGen, the latest iteration of the Vizzle platform. With a game-changing makeover and all new features and play preferences, NextGen is the perfect way to start the school year. To see the new changes, simply login to the site using your same username and password and start exploring!