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  • Writer's pictureJohn Roberts

Specialist School Pioneer Programme Up and Running

The Show Me ICT Programme is now firmly under way with 11 specialist schools across the UK.

The programme aims to develop common methodologies for the use of touchscreen devices and apps in the education of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Our plans include providing resources, recommendations and guides for teachers, parents and carers to help in the education of SEND children.

The pioneer group comprises outstanding and leading specialist schools in SEND education, including:

  • Ashfield Academy - Leicester

  • Beatrice Tate School - Mile End, London

  • The Bridge School - Islington, London

  • Hadrian School - Newcastle Upon-Tyne

  • James Rennie School - Carlisle

  • JFK Special School - Stratford, London

  • Melland High School - Manchester

  • Oak Grove College - Worthing

  • Priory Woods School - Middlesbrough

  • St Ann’s School - Hanwell, London

  • Sunningdale School – Sunderland

The ideas being developed by the group stem from the fact that many children with SEND are highly motivated by touchscreen devices, as they are intuitive to use and provide a gateway for exploration and entertainment. And yet, there is no common framework for the use of such a motivational tool in education. Consequently, the ICT Programme group is exploring the what, when, how and why of the use of apps and devices, initially for the classroom, and with the aim of sharing the resources for everyone through the Show Me wider project.

For the past two months, the group has held weekly calls to set out the initial priorities for the programme, including:

  • starting to create a short list of recommended apps for use with SEND kids, by device operating system,

  • developing methodologies for their use, initially in the classroom,

  • determining which apps to use with which cohort and when,

  • ideas for observing and measuring both intended and unintended outcomes of the activities,

  • sharing a common approach to test the ideas within classrooms early in the next stage of the project.

We have also been discussing the introduction of neuro-scientific research and associated methodologies into the early stages of the project. Not least, the sessions have enabled networking between specialist schools and teaching staff exploring new and fascinating ways to engage children with SEND in educational activities.

For the next stage of the project, we are interested in engaging device manufacturers and app developers in order to communicate directly product requirements and updates to best support the programmes. We would also like to discuss:

  • with device manufacturers, how to best implement a common device approach across the trial specialist school classrooms;

  • with app developers, product enhancements and built-in activity tracking to align with the trial activities and results.

If you’re interested in joining in, or contributing to, the Show Me Pioneer School Programme, please get in touch via our website contact form.

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