Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Laying the Groundwork for Interactive Video Activities for Students with Special Needs: Community Places Road Trip

Followers of this blog know that I've been experimenting with videos set to calming music for teachers to use with students who have significant special needs, including severe autism.  

One of the schools I serve as a school psychologist has interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in every classroom, including the room that I use with students.   Since most of our IWBs are new SMARTboards that provide good screen resolution and a decent sound system,  I use high-definition video for my projects.

Many of the students are learning about the community- community places, community and safety/road signs, community workers, community helpers, and so forth.    On a recent weekend afternoon, I went for a ride with my husband in his convertible car, with the top down, around part of the countryside of Union County, NC, and then up and down the main drag, I-74, between Indian Trail and Monroe.   I was able to capture just about every sign we passed.   I edited the video to about 12 minutes.  I used more upbeat music for this video, selected from the collection in iMovie.   

The video, as it stands, can be used on an IWB, and stopped at any point for a discussion about the scene.  I was amazed that the students paid attention to the entire clip.  They especially enjoyed it when I stopped the video at a scene of about a dozen shiny new trucks - we counted all of the trucks.  This particular class has a field trip planned to visit Target soon, so we stopped the clip to look at Target.

My plan is to transform this video (or a similar clip) into an interactive video, and create hot spots that students can touch to obtain additional information or activities that tie into various scenes.

For now, "low tech" activities will be OK. One idea I had was to provide the students pictures of the various signs in the video, and have them go on a virtual treasure hunt.  One student could be in control of the video and stop it when requested by another student who "spies" the sign.

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