A curriculum unit using ipads for gifted children with autism
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A Curriculum unit using Ipads ™ for Gifted children with autism. UNIT – THE AMAZING RACE - Using iPad ™ technology & applications. RATIONALE

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A Curriculum unit using Ipads™for Gifted children with autism

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- Using iPad™ technology & applications


I contend that using technology in a gifted classroom with children who have autism can assist in transforming their learning. When the iPad™ was released I believed that this technology could be revolutionary when utilised within the classroom, daily in all curriculum areas.

Consequently, I have designed a unit that can be used for all gifted students (however my example is for gifted learning students who have autism) and can be adapted to tailor their specific abilities, talents and skill set. Primarily the design is for use with an iPad™ but could also be adapted for use with PCs or Laptops.

The unit is based on the television program ,The Amazing Race . The program is a race where teams of two unite to follow prompts, activities and challenges which has them travelling around the world. They can’t move to the next activity until they finish the last & the challenges are varied and unique.

I looked online to see if there were any units similar, surprisingly there was so I have adapted some of the concepts from these units (Fitzroy High School; Royal Children’s Hospital Education Centre; Sebasticook Valley Middle School).

The unit will use an iPad™ and applications to simulate The Amazing Race. I used the following applications: Google Earth, Geocaching, Keynote, Pages, Kidpaint, Google, Strip Design, Pictello, Story Patch, Pictello, My Memoir, Jumbo Calculator, & Numbers.

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The unit integrates a number of VELs Standards & domains within the strands including:

Communication – Listening; viewing; and responding

English – reading; writing; speaking and listening

Mathematics – measurement, chance & data; space

Humanities - Geography; Geospacial skills

ICT – for visualising thinking; creating and communication

Technology & Design – Investigating & designing; producing

Interpersonal Development – Working in teams

Personal Development – Being the individual learner

Thinking Processes – reasoning, processing & inquiry; creativity;

reflection, evaluation & meta cognition

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  • Content:

  • This unit provides a range of experiences:

  • using various applications on the iPad™

  • hands on experiences manipulating a variety of media

  • allows students to move through The Amazing Race unit according to their ability, pace and application to the work

  • where children who are capable of higher order thinking & skills can be extended further

  • where students have a choice of activities and can choose depending on their preference, learning style, ‘intelligence’ and interest.

  • where students can do as much work as they have time to do; so children have lots of opportunities to achieve success

  • opportunities to self evaluate & reflect on their own learning

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Prequisites Skills:

  • Language of spatial concepts in english and maths

  • Geocaching

  • Reading maps & learning about types of maps

  • Intro to GPS, using a compass & language of maps

  • Using Google Earth

  • Using other iPad™ applications and familiarisation of the iPad™

  • Intro to money

  • Thinking skills

  • Self direction skills

Student Preparation & Previous Learning:

  • In this planning stage teachers ask:

  • Where are the children at?

  • What have they done before?

  • What's the main thing I want the children to learn from this unit?

  • How long should this unit go for?

  • What other things could the children learn? (through integration)

  • What resources can I use?

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Unit Outline:

This Unit is based on the television program “The Amazing Race”.

Student simulate the game using an iPad™ and Google Earth.

Students are given a series of questions and clues and from the questions research to find out a location which may be anywhere in the world.

Once they reach the location they will have a series of tasks to choose from and these tasks will be a choice from Gardner’s (1983) Multiple Intelligences.

Students can present their work in a variety of different ways, again reflecting their talents and particular learning style.

Once they complete the task, they can move on to the next clue and set of directions which moves them to a different location.

The unit can be structured so that the activities around and I alter the tasks and ability depending on the age and ability of the students.

The activity can be completely student-centred and the teacher can play the role of facilitator and mentor.

Group Level: 9-10 year old Students with Autism (however this unit can be adapted for any student in the Primary age range).

Students can work individually or in pairs. As most of the students are autistic, one of the areas I may direct is to encourage socialisation skills and team work.

Focus: Geography & Culture

Using iPad™ and applications to navigate around the world

Teamwork & Socialisation

Time Frame: Term Unit – ten weeks. This is an integrated unit, so the lessons will be incorporated daily across all curriculum areas. As previously mentioned, children will go at their own pace,

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  • Unit Aims:

  • To expose students to a wide range of experiences using ICT, the iPad™, the Internet & the game The Amazing Race.

  • For students to explore ‘the world’ according to their own learning style and ‘intelligences’ (Gardner, 1983; Bloom in Tunnicliffe, 2010)

  • To be able to use thinking skills & decision making skills(Bruce-Williams, 2006; Golding, 2005)

  • to develop students’ use and understanding of language and communication skills.

  • To encourage students to think imaginatively, interpretively and critically;

  • To explore concepts and issues explored in the different cultures, such as language, food, religion, way of life, community etc.

  • To be exposed to issues of humanity, ethics and morality and the world in which we live.

  • To encourage individual and collaborative learning, self-reflection and assessment and peer-assessment.

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  • Skills developed:

  • Language of space and orientation in english and maths

  • Spatial Awarenss & direction skills

  • Mapping skills

  • Literacy – reading, writing & speaking & listening

  • Research skills,

  • Recording data & information

  • Writing a journal/diary/log

  • Use of various iPad™ applications to retrieve information

  • ICT to present and record work

  • Internet to search for information

  • Thinking skills & decision making

  • •Goal setting

  • • Discussion about learning & explaining decisions

  • • Problem solving

  • • Compare & contrast particularly people, cultures & environment

  • • Collaborative, cooperative skills

  • • Reflective practice

  • Presenting ideas, findings and work

  • Further skills will be developed depending upon which activities the students choose – I’ll add these to the activity outline and the skills will b based on the Active Thinking Competencies Table in Tunnicliffe (2010) (Appendix 2).

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  • Make all the resources available within the classroom

  • Ensure all of the applications work on the iPad™ and that you’ve tried them so you can demonstrate if necessary.

  • Ensure websites are available such as YouTube, Google, Wikipedia etc. If they are shut down by the school then seek permission to use this website for the purpose of this work. Students would need to agree to use the websites responsibly.

  • Ask students & parents to contribute to the pool of resources such as boxes, card, cardboard, pictures, music etc.

  • Ensure all art supplies are available. Make sure there is paper, pens, paint, etc as well as clay, play doh, plasticine and other construction materials., (These may need to be included into the budget)

  • Create a space within the classroom that is open-ended so students can move around the room and that they are not stuck in one space.

  • Ask parents to contribute by way of knowledge, assistance in the classroom, providing resources etc.

  • Provide video recorders, cameras, etc as well as other multimedia such as DVDs etc. Again you may need to ask for parents to contribute.

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  • Workshop/brainstorm continents & countries

  • Use Google Earth on Interactive Whiteboard to show students how to navigate to various locations & discover information about that country

  • Show how to use google and other search engines to research information & images

  • Demonstrate use of Pages, Keynote, My Memoir & Pictello for diary writing, journalling & recording their journeys.

  • Demonstrate Kid Paint for sketching important landmarks, plants, etc & show how to use Scrap App as a photo album.

  • Other apps can be demonstrated as they are needed.

  • Show some clips from The Amazing Race so that students understand visually the concept of the game.

  • I will upload on each iPad a keynote with the directions. Children won’t be able to get to the next task until they have completed the first.

  • Establish whether students

  • wish to work alone or in a team.

  • Display map of the world in the

  • room, also have smaller versions laminated for each student.

  • Design a clue box like

  • the one used in the

  • program to keep in the

  • classroom.

  • Students can be a part

  • of the organisation

  • process.

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The tasks as outlined will be uploaded as keynotes on each student’s iPad.


  • Inside the Clue Box are cards with the names of various countries on them. (You can choose to do all the countries, or compile a list from your brainstorming activities, or select countries from one specific continent. I would personally have a list of 10-20 countries as this will make it easier to manage).

  • -Select a card. This will be the country you will be researching for this unit.

  • You can do this unit independently or with another student. (If you choose to work with someone, each person must contribute the same amount of work.

  • Use your iPad™ for all your research, note-taking, journaling & for as much of your presentation as possible.

  • You must complete one task before you move onto the next.

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  • TASK ONE CONTINUED... student’s



  • DETOUR...

  • Once the student has chosen their country they can

  • answer the following questions:

  • Go to Google Earth – locate your country. (literacy & numeracy)

  • What continent is it in? (Draw, locate on map) (geography, literacy)

  • Go to information and discover:

  • Population, language, currency, (write in journal)

  • Capital city, famous geographical locations, (research/literacy/history/geog)

  • What is the weather like? Any geographical challenges? Ie volcano, earthquakes etc. (science)

  • Flag design and colours, (draw and show colours)

  • Favourite cuisine, past times and sports (pictures, describe & sketch)

  • How far away in kilometres is this country? (numeracy)

  • What airport will your arrive in? (geography)

  • Come up with your own facts that are different from those listed above.

  • Extension: Find three facts about your chosen country; three major buildings; three famous people from this country. (history) Present this information in any way you choose.

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  • ROADBLOCK CONTINUED... student’s

  • -Once you’ve explored Google Earth and the internet and

  • discovered as much as you can about your chosen country,

  • record your information in your journal using either:

  • Pages, Keynote or My Memoir or any other appropriate format on your iPad™.

  • - Use your journal to keep notes, write ideas, store information etc.

  • Use Clipish to find pictures related to your country to add to your

  • journal.

  • You may sketch ideas or drawings of your information in Kidpaint

  • Use Youtube to store videos, music, recordings etc.

  • Do one page on your thoughts about the country you are researching. Would you like to live there? If so why, or why not?

  • Is there somewhere in this country that you MUST visit before you die....ie is this on your bucket list? Why?

  • Is there an activity you must do in this country that is on your bucket list?

  • Use Strip Design to add pictures of yourself to photographs of your favourite locations.

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  • TASK TWO student’s

  • You may choose one activity from the following

  • list using your Country as a guide:

  • Where in the world are we?

  • Draw a map of your country & include capital city & other

  • major cities. Colour your map and code the various aspects of

  • the map different colours, ie rivers can be coloured blue.

  • -Make a model of a famous building from your country. You

  • can do this using construction, or using Blocks or Home 3D on

  • your iPad™ (Visual-spatial/Logical-mathematics)

  • Extension: Make a diorama of a famous landmark, city, scene in

  • history from your country.

  • Our home is girt by sea!

  • What is your country’s national anthem?

  • -Find a recording of it on the internet (Youtube). If the anthem is in a different language, find the meaning of one verse and the chorus. (You can try ‘google’ to search for language interpretation programs eg. Babel Fish)

  • -What is the purpose of a National Anthem? – write the answer in your journal

  • -What other music is prevalent in this country? Using this information, create a Keynote to present your findings. Add video or sound files. (Musical)

  • Extension: Write your own national anthem. - what sort of message should an anthem convey? Use the Garage Band appon your iPad™ to achieve this.

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  • TASK TWO cont... student’s

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Find a famous artist from your country – they can be modern or

  • from the past.

  • What type of artist are they? How do they work?

  • Paint, drawing, pastel etc? Write about the history of your artist

  • and find pictures on the internet of their significant work. You can

  • use any of the ‘writing’ programs on the iPad™ or you may like to

  • try Strip Design. (Visual-Spatial)

  • Extension: Use one significant piece of work by your artist and

  • recreate it, or reinterpret it. You can use any medium you would like,

  • including Kidpaint on your iPad™.

  • Money, money, money...

  • Find out what currency is used in your country.

  • -Using Google, or other search engines and using your math’s skills find prices

  • For: plane fare, hotels, food for your period of stay, incidentals etc.

  • -Present this on a spreadsheet using Numbers & calculate how much it will cost to take a holiday to this country for 10 days. (Logical-mathematical)

  • Extension: Compare the Australian dollar to this country’s currency. How much will the trip cost in $ AUS & in your country’s currency?

  • - What is the average income for this country? How much does it cost for food, rent, gas/electricity etc? Present your findings in a spreadsheet using Numbers.

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  • TASK TWO cont... student’s

  • Dead Poet’s Society

  • Look up famous authors or poets that were born in your country.

  • -Do a timeline of their life and works.

  • -Research the books or poems they wrote.

  • -Choose one that you like.

  • Using Pages write a book report about this book. (linguistic)

  • Write an alternative ending to this book or write another poetry verse.

  • Extension: Choose one of the characters and use Story Patch or

  • Pictelloto write & tell the story of their life.

  • Write your own poem/story in a similar style to this author.

  • Ready, Set, Go

  • Sport– what are favourite past times?

  • What is the popular sport in this country?

  • -Research the sport and find the rules. Are there teams? What colours do they wear? What happens at a particular game? Eg. How does the crowd behave? In AFL people dress in colours etc.

  • Record a video to explain/demonstrate this skill. (body-kinesthetic)

  • Extension: Find a video of a piece of ‘play’ from this game/sport. Analyse the ‘plays’ and recreate in the video showing techniques or improvements. For example, Australian Rules – Show a footballer kicking for goal. What are the techniques? What could be improved? Display video on your iPad™.

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  • TASK TWO cont... student’s

  • So you think you can dance

  • -Are there any famous actors/artists? Choose one and do a Keynote about their life. You could also use Pictelloto create a story with sound, pictures and your own voice.

  • -Is there anything that this country is famous for culturally? Eg. Ballet, Cirque De Sole, Circus, Theatre etc.

  • -Do a drama skit portraying a cultural event? This can be a dance, a circus performance, or a mini play. (Body-kinesthetic)

  • Extension: Design a dance, or drama performance that reflects the culture of your country. Record using video & present on iPad™

  • If I could talk to the animals/how does your garden grow?

  • What does your country look like? If I could talk to the animals who would they be?

  • -Find out what is the natural flora and fauna of this country. Create a list with descriptions.

  • -Does this country have a floral symbol? What is it? Sketch it in your journal using Kidpaint.

  • -Create a Zoo booklet describing the native animals in your zoo. You may use keynote or pictello , include pictures, sketches, animal sounds etc. (Naturalist)

  • Extension: Find out the scientific name of your flora and fauna.

  • - Create a book describing the natural wonders of your country. You may include pictures, video, sketches, commentary. You need to use the scientific names in your book. Choose the application you wish to use for presentation. Iekeynote, pictello, story patch, pages, numbers etc.

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  • TASK TWO cont... student’s

  • A Day in the Life

  • -Imagine you're a famous person from this country? Or

  • Imagine you are a mum, dad, child, teacher, student from this country.

  • -What is your life like? How do you live? What kind of house do you live in? What sort of work do you or your parents do? Or if you are a famous person, what are you famous for?

  • -If you are a person from history, is there anything you did in your life that you would change? Why?

  • -Create a Keynote or use Scrap App or My Scrap Life to share what their life is like. Use Pictelloto create a story with sound, pictures and your own voice.

  • -Write this as a story, report, journal or interview. You can also present as a video or a picture story using the various art/photography applications. (interpersonal/intrapersonal/linguistic/visual-spatial)

  • Extension: Design a dance, or drama performance that reflects the culture of your country. Record using video & present on iPad™

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  • TASK TWO cont... student’s

  • Comic Book Capers

  • -Using Strip Design create any story using pictures, speech bubbles etc. Make your own Comic Book based on your story.

  • -Your story can be:

  • a story of your life

  • about an action hero like Superman, Batman etc (it will be better if you make up your own Superhero)

  • an adventure story

  • -You must ‘mask’ at least one photograph using the function in Strip Design

  • Use speech bubbles for your text, so you need to think about how your characters will talk

  • Think about the ‘message’ of your comic; the talent your super hero has & what are values they stand for. (interpersonal/intrapersonal/linguistic/visual-spatial)

  • Extension: Use Kidpaintto draw your superhero. Then mask it out to create a series of comic books. The books need to have a theme and link together. Add other characters to make the story interesting.

  • How are you going to make your story exciting?

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  • TASK THREE student’s

  • U-TURN

  • If you finish early you can go back to the Detour and choose another activity.

  • Or, you can make a proposal to the teacher about an activity you would like to do.

  • Other areas you can research:

  • Is there any significant events or celebrations your country is famous for? Research & report using keynote.

  • Compare the price of airline tickets to your destination? What do you need to consider when looking for tickets? Display findings in Numbers

  • What inventions originated from your chosen country?

  • What agriculture/farming is significant in this country? How do they achieve this? Use your choice of writing application to show your findings.

  • Fashion/Dress/Costumes – sketch & design your own.

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  • PIT STOP student’s

  • The pit stop is the final leg for this part of the race.

  • This is where you present your findings & and show your work to the teacher.

  • How would you assess your work?

  • What did you learn?

Go back over your work and make an assessment about its worth.

Is there something you can improve?

Is there something you want to change/add/delete?

Don’t be afraid to redo something.... it doesn’t

mean it is wrong, it just means you are improving

the original.

Ask one of your peers to read/view your work.

Is there something in the unit you would like to


Write your thoughts in your journal.

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Assessment will be based on children approach the task; how independently they move through the activities; their level of creativity, wisdom, intuitiveness and astuteness; the pieces of work they produce; and their own self assessment of their processes and work.

Teacher Assessment


Project Title:

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Name: independently they move through the activities; their level of creativity, wisdom, intuitiveness and astuteness; the pieces of work they produce; and their own self assessment of their processes and work.

Project Title:

Student Assessment

Fill out & make comments

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Reflective Assessment independently they move through the activities; their level of creativity, wisdom, intuitiveness and astuteness; the pieces of work they produce; and their own self assessment of their processes and work.

You can reflect upon the learning experience & write reflective comments about each student. For example...

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CONCLUSION independently they move through the activities; their level of creativity, wisdom, intuitiveness and astuteness; the pieces of work they produce; and their own self assessment of their processes and work.

The Amazing Race is one unit of work that can be utilised using Technology Assisted Learning using iPads™ for gifted students, including gifted students with learning disabilities.

Technology is a perfect vehicle to design unites that facilitate a student centred approach that focuses on a child’s individual talents, learning style and interests. Using this technology students become designers of their own curriculum & teachers become facilitators & mentors. Students also learn to become self assessing through reflection and from this ‘space’ learn how to learn.

The best gift we can gift any student is to give them the ability to know how to learn, to develop thinking skills and be able to reflect upon their own work. Building this sense of independence, grows and evolves children to become the best they can be and reach their potential.