When the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board began its pilot program, integrating iPads into two primary/junior classrooms, Prof. Carmen Hall and Dr. Kimberly Maich identified a unique opportunity for a research project. With joint funding from Fanshawe College and Brock University, researchers developed an investigation into the impact of iPad integration in elementary school classrooms. Researchers were also able to look specifically at the effects of iPad infusion on a student identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Teachers and Educational Assistants commonly use laminated paper visuals as a tool to facilitate transitions from one activity to the next for children with ASD. For 15 weeks in the spring of 2013, investigators tracked the transitions of a student with ASD, conducted a focus group with teachers, and measured when and what the iPads were being used for.
With limited knowledge on the role of iPads in the classroom, and almost non-existent knowledge on how students with ASD may benefit from this new classroom technology, the researchers from Fanshawe and Brock were able to add considerable insight to the field of study. This project has garnered a lot of national and international attention, spawning numerous papers, presentations and reports. Prof. Hall and Dr. Maich are planning to continue their study and knowledge gathering to inform practices and policies of interested parties.
"Our institution had the privilege of teaming up with Carmen Hall and her Autism and Behavioural Science (ABA) students, along with Dr. Kimberly Maich from Brock University to support the work of our school staff and students in implementing iPads in an inclusive junior classroom. The support of the ABA student in collaborating with our school team in implementing the app schedule and helping to build positive peer relationships between one of our students with ASD and her peers during recesses was a complete success. We look forward as a school community to continue to work with both Fanshawe College and Brock University to enhance the school experience we provide for our students!"
Principal of Partner School
"The positive results of this project have allowed us many collaborative opportunities for research dissemination, school collaboration, and most importantly, having a role in helping to support the development of skills in a student with an exceptionality-and that student's peers."
Dr. Kimberly Maich
Department of Teacher Education