A unique educational approach using Grid
Beit Issie Shapiro is one of Israel’s leading organisations providing services for people with special needs. Their Special Education School based near Tel Aviv caters for students aged 6 – 12 with multiple complex disabilities. More than half of the pupils at the school use high-tech AAC.
Over the last 5 years the school has developed a unique educational approach, known as IssieEd, which combines the use of Grid AAC software with interactive learning activities to support engagement in lessons.
IssieEd uses lesson templates created in Grid that cover learning units on various topics. Each template includes a presentation, a short passage of text, links to internet-based content (photos or videos) and learning tasks.
The learning units may take place over several lessons and are accompanied by a variety of interactive activities to help students apply what they learn.
Winter Olympics lesson template
How IssieEd supports AAC users
For emergent readers or those with difficulties acquiring reading skills, the IssieEd approach helps with motivation, participation and literacy. By combining accessible content with creative and engaging activities, students are able to connect with topics they may not otherwise have been able to.
“Grid helps students participate in a very active way.”
The school has used these templates to teach a broad range of topics, including historical events, local elections and the Paralympics. The templates can be quickly adapted to any subject, giving teachers an efficient tool to suit their curriculum that can also be tailored to individual students’ needs.
The consistency of the template design helps students become familiar with the lesson format, encouraging independent learning and building their confidence.
The school has seen a big improvement in student literacy and participation. They have also seen students become more confident building relationships and participating in school and home life.
Vanessa and Dana from Beit Issie Shapiro’s Technology Center, tell us more about the approach and the role Grid plays…
Students with special education needs require a modified curriculum and learning materials adapted to their needs. The learning environment and teaching approach needs to be considered and adjusted to maximise the potential of each student. Using technology and apps in education is common practice in today’s learning environment in both mainstream and special education. They provide wonderful opportunities for impactful learning and active participation, especially for students with complex needs. Using Grid as a teaching tool allows us to create learning materials that benefit all our students and encourages an active learning experience.
Grid allows teachers to easily adapt materials for each student’s needs, and students are able to share their knowledge and participate in a very active way in lessons, contributing to their self confidence and sense of capability.
My motto is that every student deserves the right to learn and my job as a teacher is to make sure that happens. I can say that, in our school, using Grid as a teaching tool has allowed us to make that happen.
Grid provides the perfect platform for the IssieEd lesson templates. Firstly, the symbol support and speech generation help us make all of our learning materials accessible. Students who can’t yet read or write are able to engage in literacy activities with their peers, using the symbol support to recognise words and the speech generation to aid in self-correction.
Secondly, the flexibility and versatility of the platform make it easy for the teachers to plan lessons. The wide variety of Grid Commands allow teachers to create varied and interesting activities, and the ease with which grids can be replicated and shared has allowed us to create a library of lesson templates. With this library our teachers have a wealth of materials at their fingertips that they can easily adapt.
Astronaut lesson template
Find out more at Communication Matters
Dana from Beit Issie Shapiro will be presenting the IssieEd approach at this year’s Communication Matters.
Find her in the Michael Sadler room on Tuesday 13 September at 9am.
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