The Problem: Finding a Solution to Support a Diverse Group of Students
As the Supervisor of Instruction at Alpha School, Anne Marie Hall is constantly looking for new tools, devices or services to help improve the lives and instruction of children with special needs. With access to a computer or iPad in every classroom, Alpha School regularly evaluates software products or programs designed to help both students and teachers within the classroom. However, finding programs that can serve both the diverse group of educators on staff and students with wide-ranging special needs can pose a significant challenge. “It is my job to go out and find new tools that are going to work for our students,” said Hall.
Located in Ocean County, New Jersey, Alpha School is a private special needs school providing education, therapy and support services to students with learning, social, language and behavioral challenges between the ages of 8 to 21 years old. After learning about Vizzle, an interactive visual learning software, Hall was eager to have the teachers and students put the program to the test. “My memory of the other products we were using at the time is that you couldn’t customize them,” said Hall. “With Vizzle, what appealed to me was how you could really individualize the activity, especially the reinforcers.”
Number of students
Teachers use Vizzle to automatically and objectively collect data in demonstrating progress on IEP goals and objectives.
Using Vizzle in the in the classroom has become a staple part of my daily teaching routine.Jessica Perricane
The Solution: Provide an Easy-to-Use, Dynamic Resource to Teachers
In addition to the highly-customizable student environment, Vizzle’s growing lesson library, ease-of-use and automatic data collection was a huge hit with Alpha School’s diverse group of educators. With about 70 students spread across 9 classrooms, the teachers at Alpha School are especially focused on providing support and educational programs to help each student reach their individual learning goals and objectives.
Prior to using Vizzle, teachers would spend a significant amount of time in planning classroom activities. For each of their students’, a teacher would have to search for icons or images and build out an interactive lesson or activity to reinforce concepts previously taught. “It was a time-consuming process to put the lessons together,” said Hall. “But with Vizzle that process was simplified.” With a robust lesson library, Vizzle makes it easy for teachers to differentiate lessons among students based on individual needs and learning goals. And finding quality content is easy as all lessons, games and activities are mapped to state learning standards. Teachers can search the library by topic, theme or skill to quickly find and then assign lessons to students.
Additionally, teachers at Alpha School use Vizzle to automatically and objectively collect student data and to show progress on IEP goals and objectives. As students work through teacher-selected lessons and activities, Vizzle collects data on how many times and how long a lesson is played, plus how the student scored. A teacher can quickly evaluate a student’s mastery of a goal or objective, then determine the need for additional lessons or readiness to begin working on the next skill. For the educators at Alpha School, the availability of student data has been extremely useful in demonstrating student achievement and proficiency for alternate assessments. “To show documentation of data collection and progress for students’ individual education plans, teachers have been using Vizzle,” said Hall.
The Result: Enhanced Learning Experience with Personalized, Interactive Lessons
Implementing Vizzle into the school has been extremely valuable, as it is used by students and teachers on a daily basis both in and outside of the classroom, according to Hall. “Vizzle has proven to be a great program for my students with special needs,” said Jessica Perricane, a teacher at Alpha School. “The resources available give children the opportunity to be introduced to new topics or reinforce prior skills in a way that is motivating and fun.” The response from students has also been positive. “We have students with multiple disabilities, so they may not verbalize, ‘I really like this!’ However they gravitate toward Vizzle and use it easily,” said Hall.
Introducing parents to Vizzle at the beginning of the school year or at parent-teacher conferences has also proven beneficial. Alpha School is able to strengthen communication with parents by showing what students are working on and objectively reporting progress. “Parents are made aware of Vizzle and how it helps individualize their child’s work. This is a product that helps us meet IEP goals as we individualize instruction,” said Hall.
For Alpha School to best support the individual learning needs of the students, it starts with providing educators with quality and easy-to-use resources. By using Vizzle, Alpha School staff are able to reinforce concepts and skills in a fun, engaging manner, while assessing an individual’s need for additional instruction and support.
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