According to Ministry of Education Singapore, assistive technology has shown to be effective in helping students with special needs at Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) School learn better.
The school, with 250 students of seven to 18 years old, uses a range of technology, depending on the child’s needs.
According to the Head of Department for ICT, the technology - whether simple or advance - has helped to enhance learning.
With a 3D screen and motion sensors, teachers create interactive and fun scenarios to engage students. For example, students can take on the role of a dolphin trainer. The motion sensors pick up hand signals from the student as he or she attempts to ‘train’ the dolphin.
The activity, when done in groups, improves the students’ social behaviour and communication skills.
The Principal of AWWA School Ruby Seah said that technology gives the students a voice.
As more social networking and communication happen online, students with autism or disability might feel lonely and detached from their peers.
Teachers at AWWA School help a student with cerebral palsy engage with his friends on social media. Wearing a head gear with an attached jaw pointer (pictured), the student was able to connect with his peers and teachers on Facebook.
Outside of school, parents continue to help students learn using educational applications on tablets. AWWA School runs workshops to update parents on the school’s curriculum so they can help their children at home and during the school holidays.
Last month, the Minister of State, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Communications and Information Sim Ann announced an Additional Training Vote of S$400 (US$319) for each registered Special Education teacher.
This is on top of the S$1,100 (US$877) allowance each teacher is currently given for professional development or to buy learning and teaching resources.
AWWA School plans to invest in more tablets and digital cameras to enhance students’ learning, as well as to track and share their progress with parents.