ECLC’s schools take advantage of the latest high-tech tools every day in the classroom and have even helped pilot, and create, new technologies.
While nothing can replace a skilled dedicated teacher, these technologies transform learning, especially for students with special needs. Students have grown up with touch-screens, cell phones, laptops and video games. They probably wouldn’t know what to do with a piece of chalk. Our teachers are taking these tools and incorporating them into lesson plans and projects to make school more engaging and interactive.
Our Chatham school established a computer lab room, and classrooms are equipped with iPads and SmartBoards. A mobile computer lab roams the hallways, offering laptops to students. In 2016, the school welcomed virtual reality Google Expedition glasses. These glasses are the ticket for students to take off and travel the world without ever leaving the classroom. See Google Expedition in action.
“These many tools at our disposal let us reach students in ways that traditional teaching methods cannot achieve,” said Technology Teacher Dan Erhardt. “The ability to bring content ‘to life’ occurs in unprecedented ways using these resources. We pride ourselves on staying on the cutting edge of educational technology to ensure that we are consistently supporting the varied needs of the students we serve.”
Our Ho-Ho-Kus school classrooms are also equipped with computers and SmartBoards. A mobile computer lab provides laptops to students, and there are about 50 iPads available. In 2016, the school welcomed Milo, an adorable robot that is especially helpful for students with autism spectrum disorder. Milo teaches emotional, social, conversational and self-regulation skills. He is used in individual therapy sessions, small groups and in the classroom. Milo brings many advantages to a lesson. For example, there is less need to redirect students back to the content, and therapists and teachers are able to move through material more quickly. Meet Milo.
Since 2013, the Ho-Ho-Kus school has helped develop new technologies in partnership with a New Jersey-based company called WebTeam. The Ho-Ho-Kus school piloted the kiosk-based ColorsProgram, which helps students improve their language skills and their number and object identification skills. Learn more.
Another project was the MyToday app. It was designed in particular for students with autism spectrum disorder. These students often have trouble with transitioning from one activity to the next or handling unexpected situations. The app was built in partnership with the Ho-Ho-Kus staff to help both younger and older students stay on track and better manage their daily routines at home and at school. With guidance and continuing support from ECLC’s teachers, WebTeam built MyToday. This app is now available for purchase in the iTunes store and elsewhere. Learn more.
In the 2017-18 school year, new innovative seating and desks were added to meet the diverse sensory needs of students. Some students are fidgety. Others need to stand or require constant movement. The school purchased AlertSeats, which are inflated-ball seats with zip-off washable covers and are secured into metal frames. The seats allow children to move—even bounce—without disturbing others in the classroom. AlertDesks are adjustable standup desks, which some students use for every subject. These desks are similar to what has become trendy in office furniture. For our students, the desks promote more comfort and enable better learning. Read more.