Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Check out this #iPadEd App: Essential Skeleton


I remember that I was not very motivated to learn about the human body as a seventh grade science student. If you know me, you know that I am a hands-on learner. This particular course was difficult because we were all expected to learn skeletal system the same way, by using a one-size-fits all graphic organizer. This was an academic barrier for me for several reasons:
  1. I couldn't actually manipulate an actual skeleton, which is how I learn best. I had to write down the names on a piece of paper. 
  2. Even after I wrote down the names, I couldn't pronounce them well enough to remember them!
If my teacher's curriculum would have been Universally Designed, it could have addressed potential barriers in learning for students like myself. If I was a student sitting in class today, I would have needed the free Essential Skeleton App to access the curriculum and better understand the skeletal system. 

Addressing Barrier # 1: The Need for Hands-On Learning

Students in today's classrooms can use the Essential Skeleton to gain a better understanding of the skeletal system in this 360 degree model. It is an easy-to-use and user-friendly application, providing a highlighted outline of the bone (when you click on it), the actual name, and Latin name.

Perhaps students need to research the location of a specific bone or a certain set of bones. The search feature can help locate what they are looking for. Students can add customized notes and drawings, while using the drawing tools feature. When they are finished, they can share it via email, social media, or add to their camera roll. 

The Quiz feature helps test what learner knows through several types of quiz formats, such as drag and drop or multiple choice. Students can quiz themselves on a variety of information, such as a specific system or the entire skeletal system.  If students get a specific question wrong, the App helps identify the correct part.

Addressing Barrier # 2: Pronouncing the Names

Part of remembering the location of specific bones is understanding how to pronounce the name of the bone. Many of our students become frustrated with not being able to pronounce it correctly or remember how it is pronounced. Essential Skeleton has a built in audio feature that provides the proper pronunciation of the bone, alleviating this burden from our students. 

Conclusion:

Technology is creating opportunities for students to create customized learning experiences, which provide access to learning for all students. By identifying potential barriers to learning and providing tools to address these barriers, a curriculum can provide access to learning for all students. 

Want to learn more about Universal Design for Learning? Click here

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