80 functional ways to use technology

  1. Use a language master to take attendance, do the weather, and calendar.
  2. Have students do morning announcements using their communication system.
  3. Post communication systems in the nurse's office, cafeteria, office, and on the bus.
  4. Display the sequence of the day using an object, picture, or symbol schedule.
  5. Have an adapted recreation and leisure day in the spring, and have all classes attend.
  6. Have communication parades for themes and holidays. Must ask/tell 2 people something along the way.
  7. Use environmental controls for cooking, accessing appliances.
  8. Do group computer lessons using Speaking Dynamically as the communication system.
  9. Adapt books by adding communication symbols to match vocabulary.
  10. Use "twirl-o-paint" with a switch for adapted art activities.
  11. Make mini communication boards for themes you teach.
  12. Make stories more hands on by using baby wipe container, Velcro, pictures, and foam backing.
  13. Have students create cards and posters using Kidpix 2 or Bailey's Bookhouse and adapted overlays.
  14. Develop a student council for Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC) users.
  15. Establish a pen pal program with other AAC users.
  16. Create visual cookbooks using symbols/picture recipes.
  17. Cut out red paper hands, place by the computer for a visual reminder for "waiting hands."
  18. Use colored vinyl cut outs (colorforms material) to show where to touch on the touch-window.
  19. Use a communication apron or vest with Velcro for symbols/objects.
  20. Use switch operated scissors for cutting.
  21. Make a communication overlay for all the software you use (use to direct action, describe, and predict).
  22. Have AAC users be greeters at open house and conferences.
  23. Display students' work through the computer. Present their work to parents at conference time.
  24. Have a talent show or skit day using AAC and Assistive Technology.
  25. Create a portfolio or quicktime video of each student. Present it to parents and administrators.
  26. Use communication wallets.
  27. Use remnant books with pieces or parts of activities you have done.
  28. Use items from the $1 store, K-Mart, or garage sales to create age appropriate switches.
  29. Adhere a big button switch to a wooden cutting board with a handle for easy access in group activities.
  30. Put your computer on a lazy susan for viewing at all angles in a group lesson.
  31. Use sound games like sound lotto, tongue twisters on tape recorder. Let student with switch activate the recorder for all to hear.
  32. Use a battery operated fishing game to create a circular scanning device. Use for turn taking, playing games, making choices.
  33. Before Christmas time, put on an adapted toy inservice to parents. Make catalogs available.
  34. Have a visual sequence of events available for all activities of daily living.
  35. Use AAC to deliver messages, valentines, etc. throughout the school.
  36. Put jokes and riddles on the AAC system. Student must tell 3 people.
  37. Set up communication opportunities by omitting one necessary item to complete a task. The student must interact to get what they need.
  38. Put desirable items in sight but out of reach so student must signal to get item.
  39. Record a message on a loop tape for attention getting. Student hits switch and it says, "Hey! Come and talk to me."
  40. Use switch with a fan to blow bubbles, pinwheel, simulate wind and blow out birthday candles.
  41. Use place mats at mealtimes with communication symbols to socialize, request and make choices.
  42. Use a rectangular cutting board with handle (Lechters) to display objects.
  43. Use a clipboard or notebook with a drawer or pocket. Use as an object/picture board and store symbols inside.
  44. Put written instructions on the AAC users system which instructs listeners how to interact with the individual.
  45. Use plexiglass and PVC piping to create an egos system.
  46. Play hide/seek with communication symbols. Use a lightpointer to find them.
  47. Use enlarged communication symbols for reminders of "SH" for quiet, a chair for time to sit down, a book for time to read.
  48. Do a make-it, take-it session for adapting learning materials with parents and staff.
  49. Make a portable communication system by using wallets, purses, key rings and small notebooks.
  50. Use communication system to act out stories, poems, and plays.
  51. Velcro technology is limitless in it's uses.
  52. Use clear shoe pocket holder to keep communication symbols handy/available.
  53. Use symbols for matching, to get to a correct destination. Student carries symbol to area of matching symbol.
  54. Make personalized books about student's favorites (places, foods, friends, etc.). Use photographs and remnants to create a conversation book.
  55. Make a book of communication categories for conversation starters. Provide instructions for "let's talk about, or ask me about."
  56. Cover cardboard with contact paper and add Velcro strips to display communication symbols/sequences.
  57. Make calendar boxes out of large cheese boxes. Add dividers and cover with contact paper. Use for sequencing, making choices, associating objects with activities.
  58. Use texture boards for visually impaired. Associate textures with activities in the day.
  59. Use puffy paints or glitter glue to accent, highlight, or color code overlays.
  60. Record a story on a blank cassette tape. Use a battery device timer and switch so student can hear a story.
  61. Use a switch, light bright and environmental control. Create a colorful scene. Let student activate switch to see it.
  62. Use circles that look like records, put song/music choices on them.
  63. Create monthly communication calendars using themes like greetings, requesting, calling attention, etc. Practice a skill each day.
  64. Use a paint/drawing computer program with stamps. Have students use communication system to dictate a story to go with the picture. Provide vocabulary if necessary.
  65. Use a scanner and quick-take camera with your computer to create live presentations/portfolios of students for parents, to send to a new school.
  66. Put a large button switch on the wall beside the classroom door for students to indicate they want to go for a walk.
  67. Label everything in your classroom with pictures, words, objects, or symbols. This promotes literacy.
  68. Use communication systems in the community as much as possible.
  69. Use external speakers with surround sound for group activities. Reach those with intermittent hearing losses.
  70. Use adaptive keyboards and overlay makers to create all that you can imagine for communication.
  71. Use switch operated squirt guns for all sorts of fun.
  72. Put cutouts of busses with a picture of each driver and a picture of each student on that bus so students can find their bus independently.
  73. Thematic teaching makes using technology much easier (travel places, create units, use student interests).
  74. Have student brainstorming sessions for projects, cooking ideas, places to go for field trips, etc. Provide vocabulary needed to participate.
  75. Don't forget that sensory and reflexive responses can be communication too.
  76. Set up role playing situations that lead to classroom projects such as a bake sale, sponsor a special dinner, set up a lemonade/concession stand.
  77. Let students create their own stickers using Sticker Shop Plus software.
  78. Allow students to have a say in their communication system and planning. They will be much more willing to participate.
  79. Copy public domain software that is educational and promotes interaction. Give it away randomly. It promotes use of technology and everyone likes to get something free.
  80. Use colorforms and colorform books for promoting language for the AAC user. They can manipulate the scene and elements of the story. They can also direct action in the story.

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If you would like more information about any of these ideas, or would like to share some of your creative ideas, please contact me... Lynn Shugars, MA, CCC/SLP