What does Ohio State mean to teaching with technology?
Sixteen-year-old Molly is fun-loving with many friends. She also has a severe intellectual disability. With graduation ahead, Molly and her family are thinking about how she can learn vocational and independent living skills.
Helen Malone and Joe Wheaton, special education faculty, know that one challenge to educating Molly and others with disabilities is having enough class time to teach and reinforce tasks. In response, they created inPromptu, an app for the iPod Touch.
“We targeted people with intellectual disabilities ages 16-21 because, as a small segment of the population, they’re underserved,” Malone said. “They struggle with these skills, so they often end up unemployed.”
The app uses video prompting, a proven approach in special education, to teach new skills. Each task, such as sweeping floors or cooking food, is broken into small steps illustrated by video clips. Teachers from the Franklin County (Ohio) Board of Developmental Disabilities identified the tasks.
“The app is a more efficient way to train, and it’s mobile, so it can be used on the job,” Wheaton said. “The iPod Touch is less expensive than a computer, plus it gives young people independence and use of the same cool tool as their peers.”
The free app can be downloaded to any iOS device from Apple’s App Store.
In the next phase, Malone and Wheaton will improve inPromptu’s user interface to make it more visually appealing and improve usability for people with other disabilities, such as autism.