"Apples To Apples”
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

"Apples To Apples”

Getting to the Core of Special Education

"Apples To Apples”

Apple technology is constantly updating. With each update comes new and improved features. Aside from the negative aspects of operating system updates (the redundant popups asking for the user to update the device) the OS X software offers dozens of features that help students succeed in the classrooms.

The well-known, historical tradition of students bringing apples to their teachers has been revamped. The tradition has died off for the most part. As it turns out, it is the teachers who should be giving the "Apple" to the student. Specifically, students with learning disabilities. Apple's OS X and iOS Software have not only been designed for the ease and efficiency of the users, but have advanced software that caters to students who require Special Education. The software comes with many features and applications that are proving to be extremely beneficial to Special Education Students and students with disabilities.

Every Apple product comes equipped with technology that has the ability to improve literacy, vision, hearing and motor skills. The power of OS X go way beyond bug improvements and fast performances. Assistive Technologies and features such as FaceTime, advanced screen reader and Dictation assist disabled learners in coping with impairments. The Mac, for example, has many features that were designed to “help students with cognitive and learning disabilities get organized, stay focused, and learn in ways that fit their unique capabilities” (Apple 2016) and that is something they do very efficiently.

The Apple Software offers a new approach to learning through the Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod. Students who struggle with ADD or ADHD can benefit tremendously through some of the features that Apple products have to offer.Students who have difficulty expressing themselves in the classrooms can create anything from music tracks to short films using the iLife software.

A student whose public speaking abilities might be hindered by their learning disability, for example, has the option to pre-record presentations with an incorporation of images, videos and other graphics (just like a standard classroom presentation might have). Reading can be difficult for students with learning disabilities, but with features such as Summarize, pages of material can be condensed into shorter paragraphs to help maintain the attention span and focus of the reader. Additionally, the Safari Reader feature hides advertisements and other distractions for readers who get easily distracted or overwhelmed by the mass amount of information on the page.

In addition to the many features that help enhance literacy and learning, Apple's Operating Systems support applications such as BeeLine Reader, which helps students who battle with reading difficulties such as Dyslexia.

Although the aforementioned features have proven to be very helpful, the Text to Speech mode is one of the most convenient ways for students to enhance poor reading comprehension skills. As the student reads the words off the screen, they are able to listen to the words as they are being read out loud. The OS X feature of The Alex Voice goes hand in hand with Text to Speech. Alex is a computer voice designed to speak in a human-like, natural tone. With pauses between breaths and the ability to analyze text by paragraphs, Alex resembles real, live voices, making passages easier to understand. Students have the option to choose a male/female voice and the speed (slow, medium, fast) at which the voice speaks in one of its 20 languages (Apple).

The Apple software even provides features for students who have vision and hearing disabilities. The Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired even has an entire Youtube Channel dedicated to instructional videos through iFocus (tips for using the vision accessibility features in iOS) and how to take advantage of the incredible features that Apple products have to offer.

Apps such as VoiceOver assist students who struggle with vision impairments by allowing them to hear a verbal description of what appears on the screen. VoiceOver tells the user what's on the screen and talks users through actions, scrolls through menu options and activates buttons via the keyboard or trackpad. This way, users have total control of the mac without having to see the screen. According to the Apple Website, VoiceOver has 20 languages on a Mac and 30 languages on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (Apple 2016).

Mac OS X can even flash the screen to let the user know that there is a notification, and to grab their attention. Additionally, the iPhone's flashlight option can be set to flash multiple times when there is a notification. If a user has trouble hearing in one ear, the iPhone feature Mono audio combines the audio from both the left and right headphones by channeling into both ears, allowing for access to total audio.

As a feature of VoiceOver, OS X also has the technology to support Braille Displays.

"To help sighted users like teachers, parents, and coworkers who work alongside braille users, VoiceOver includes an onscreen braille panel. It displays both braille and a plain-text version of the descriptions spoken by VoiceOver, so sighted users can follow along."

Apple has come up with many ways to make their products easier to use for students with motor skill disabilities. For example, Mouse Keys allows students to use a numeric keypad as a control center for the pointer of the mouse, switching windows, scrolling through menus,etc. Slow Keys, designed for students who have trouble typing, avoids some user error by slowing down the time it takes for each key press to be processed.

These features, along with many others were extremely well designed and thought out to help give students with disabilities opportunities to succeed and learn at a faster rate. These features have the potential to work for people of all ages and educational backgrounds but are especially great tools for Special Education students. The well-designed features are great resources and should be utilized in classrooms across the United States.


Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

A Beginner's Wine Appreciation Course

While I most certainly do not know everything, I feel like I know more than the average 21-year-old about vino, so I wrote this beginner's wine appreciate course to help YOU navigate the wine world and drink like a pro.

White wine being poured into a glass

Keep Reading...Show less
Types of ice cream

Who doesn't love ice cream? People from all over the world enjoy the frozen dessert, but different countries have their own twists on the classic treat.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

100 Reasons to Choose Happiness

Happy Moments to Brighten Your Day!

A man with a white beard and mustache wearing a hat

As any other person on this planet, it sometimes can be hard to find the good in things. However, as I have always tried my hardest to find happiness in any and every moment and just generally always try to find the best in every situation, I have realized that your own happiness is much more important than people often think. Finding the good in any situation can help you to find happiness in some of the simplest and unexpected places.

Keep Reading...Show less

Remember The True Meaning of Christmas

“Where are you Christmas? Why can’t I find you?”

A painting of the virgin Mary, the baby Jesus, and the wise men

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year. Christmastime is a celebration, but have we forgotten what we are supposed to be celebrating? There is a reason the holiday is called Christmas. Not presentmas. Not Santamas. Not Swiftmas. Christmas.

boy standing in front of man wearing santa claus costume Photo by __ drz __ on Unsplash

What many people forget is that there is no Christmas without Christ. Not only is this a time to spend with your family and loved ones, it is a time to reflect on the blessings we have gotten from Jesus. After all, it is His birthday.

Keep Reading...Show less
Golden retriever sat on the sand with ocean in the background
Photo by Justin Aikin on Unsplash

Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore my dog. I am constantly talking about my love for her. I attribute many of my dog's amazing qualities to her breed. She is a purebred Golden Retriever, and because of this I am a self-proclaimed expert on why these are the best pets a family could have. Here are 11 reasons why Goldens are the undisputed best dog breed in the world.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments