Laptops Opening Up Worlds

Issaquah School District’s Academy for Community Transition (ACT) has been a vital part of helping prepare individuals with disabilities connect to and integrate into the community following their time in school.

Now, thanks to the district’s 1:1 program, students are getting an even deeper and more authentic experience that connects them to tools and processes vital to the

Whether it is planning a trip to the grocery store, putting together a presentation or creating a poster for your business or event, most of our everyday tasks rely on the use computers and information technology in one way or another. They are also often made easier as a result.

These are the exact kind of things that ACT has tried to prepare students for year in and year out. Until this year and the rollout of ISD’s 1:1 iniative, using technology to support their learning and getting practice with these types of skills, wasn’t always an option. Consequently, things like looking up the price of toothpaste to plan for a shopping trip were much more difficult and required a lot of extra steps.

Thanks to our 1:1 inititiative, the students in ACT now have regular access to laptops and each student is able to have their own device. That consistent access has allowed them to become an integral part of their learning, the students are putting them to good work in engaging these everyday tasks and finding the efficiences that tech tools can bring.

Creating Posters for a Business

Advertising is an integral part of putting together a successful event or business.

Now thanks to a Canva, and their computers, ACT students are able to use their creativity to learn about design and promotion in order to help drum up business for the ACT Cafe. Canva’s set of tools and templates are a great fit for those learning about design and lowers barriers to the process of getting creative ideas onto the canvas.

The ACT Cafe is a coffee and snack shop that is run by ACT students at the district office. Working on every part of the process of running a business, from inventory and pricing to sales and promotions, provides a great opportunity for ACT students to learn and practice these skills.

In previous years, promotion of the store was limited mostly to emails and some signage created by the whole class.

Taking advantage of the power of Canva and consistent access to laptops inspired Ms. Heller to create a design and promotion project for the students. To help them get comfortable with Canva, she decided to have them create posters that would advertise the ACT Cafe. The students then spent time creating their own posters and sharing their creations with the whole group and then used some of the class’ favorites to promote the opening of the ACT Cafe.

Getting To Know You

Being able to organize and share ideas with others through engaging visuals is another authentic skill that is part of many jobs and adult life in general.

Last fall, Ms. Heller used the new year as an opportunity for her students to learn PowerPoint and utilize their new computers to put together All About Me presentations. Students put together a slide deck in which they answered questions such as “where do you live,” what schools did you go to,” “who is in your family,” and they also learned to find creative ways to share about their summers. Through the project and using their laptops they also learned about finding and inserting pictures, color design and applying consistent formatting.

Adapting to Meet Individual Needs

Having regular access to the devices has been important in expanding the curriculum and the student experience.

However, choosing the right device for students has also proven critically important. By providing convertible, touch-screen laptops, the ACT students now have more options to interact with their devices, and more easily work around limitations that may arise from their disability. This removes obstacles to learning and is an important way to help make the learning more accessible.

As the year has progressed, ACT students continue to find new and exciting ways to use their new computers and open up new worlds.

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