When the Mendham, NJ, Rotary Club donated two iPads to Matheny, the primary purpose was to enhance the communications ability of students who were restricted to their homes or hospital rooms due to illness. Videoconferencing technology permits children to attend class remotely, even when they are sick or avoiding contagion.
The iPads are especially valuable to Matheny students because they are less cumbersome to hold than laptop computers, can be used with inexpensive apps designed specifically for people with disabilities and offer touch screens that provide greater accessibility for those with little or no fine motor control.
When the iPads are not needed for ill students, however, they don’t sit dormant. They are used in the classroom for a variety of enriched learning experiences. One recent example was during a lesson on “perimeters.” The classroom teacher, Karen Dakak, was able to use rubber bands to help the students make different shapes on the iPad screen. “We could make as many shapes as we wanted,” she says, “and then find the perimeter of the shapes.”
This is but one example of how the Matheny School uses technology to help its students reach their highest level of academic achievement while also obtaining maximum independence.