Prepositions (Instructional piece of Software designed using Hyperstudio)

Subject Area:
Language and Communication( Comprehension and Sentence Structure)

Age Range:
This project was done with a group of Special Needs children in the Moderate range of learning difficulties aged between 12-15 years. This project would also be suitable for the junior classes or with children with Specific Language difficulties.

Goals of the Project:
1. To assist the students understanding of prepositions.
2. To use this piece of Software as an instructional aid and also as a Drill and Practice activity with my class and with other classes within the school.
3. To use this piece of software as a revision tool to ascertain what has been learned and to highlight what needs to be done or revised.
4. To present the learning materials in multiple ways using audio and visual means.
5. This piece of software will not only, develop prepositions but also expand the child's verbal comprehension, extend vocabulary and expressive language and build on pre-language concepts.
6. To provide the group with the opportunity to select relevant data, print out appropriate graphics, and scan and save these graphics as jpgs.

Curriculum Relevance
One of the most important areas in the Curriculum of Special Needs children is the area of Language and Communication. Prepositions present problems not only for Special Needs Children but also for children with Auditory Memory and children with Visual Perception problems. As prepositions are used to denote place, position or time in conjunction with a noun or pronoun, an understanding of them is important to assist sentence structure and meaning. The ability to understand and use simple prepositions is part of the language objectives for younger Special Needs pupils while older pupils would be assisted in developing an understanding and use of more advanced prepositions.

This finished piece of software, designed using the authoring package Hyperstudio, is displayed on the school computers. The three areas covered are Basic Prepositions, Other Prepositions and Test. There is an Activity Booklet available for each stack. Posters from the product are displayed on the wall.

The Pupils need to have the necessary attention span and comprehension level to understand the content, and to learn the concepts.
Some keyboard skills are desirable to assist in writing up the project.
They need to be open to new knowledge and to grasp its relevance.
The teacher needs to decide on the content, pace of the project and teach the IT skills necessary for the project beforehand.
The project needs to be structured by the teacher to make the maximum use of the time allotted, and to ensure the desired learning outcome for the student.
To use the software when completed the students need to have fairly good mouse control, though the software can also be activated by use of the Touch Screen.

Management: Tasks were allotted to the students working on the project. The pictures for the project were taken from Microsoft Publisher '98 as the students in the class weren't familiar with the workings of the digital camera at that time. Scanning the pictures took some time as they had to be resized for the project and saved in the folder allotted for them before importing them into the graphic object area in Hyperstudio. The worksheets for the Activity Booklet were tested on the class to see how they responded to them and adjustments were made according to the results. The booklet provided the child with the opportunity of following through on what had been learned. Designing the Test Stack necessitated presenting the student in some cases with the same objects but in different positions e.g., Which picture shows the airplane above / below the cloud? This meant designing new pictures and scanning them in. The addition of sound to each picture completed the project.

Organisation of Class: The students chosen for the project came from the two senior classes. This involved working out changes in timetables and sharing of students between classes.

Evaluation: Working on the project increased the students understanding of the content and assisted learning. The addition of appropriate sounds e.g. an applause if the child gets the correct answer provides instant feedback for the student. The Test Stack will allow the teacher to measure the student's progress and to see where further teaching is necessary, or where teaching should begin.
It is important to plan the project beforehand and to set the pace and content appropriate to the student's ability and understanding.
St. Clare's Special School
SIP 058

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