My school is involved in a study with the University of Toronto. The study is examining the effect of using touch technology in classrooms with students who have a developmental disability.
The study is not only examining the effect that using these devices has on students' communication skills, but as well the effect that they have on their social peer relations.
In the fall of 2009 some of the teachers had been excitedly talking about the new iPod Touch and some of the apps we had been hearing about for students who use AAC. When the parents saw what one of teachers was doing in class with her own personal device a dialog was started about using them in more classrooms and collecting data for research. We partnered with the University of Toronto's iSchool (Faculty of Information) and Dr. Rhonda McEwen.
In the winter of 2010 we bought some iPod Touch devices. Using the data collection framework set up by Dr. McEwen the study began. It is the first academic study to look at both quantitative and qualitative data on children with developmental disabilities in a school based setting.
In the fall of 2010 we expanded the study to include the iPad and began data collection on more students. All of our teachers are very committed to the study and the work that goes into supporting it. Our students benefit from being on the cutting edge of education research investigating touch technologies.
I encourage you to watch this video where Dr. McEwen talks about her research and some of her preliminary results.