Semester Ending, Adventures Beginning

As the spring semester winds down with the University of Arizona, I demonstrated my final app in my graduate course on methods and assessment of students with severe and multiple disabilities. It was an app I had purchased purely as a joke. You see, one of the many soapboxes I stand on is the one where I protest the limited offering of bowling as a recreation and leisure skill for students with severe disabilities. Contrary to interpretation of others, I am not a bowling basher. I have nothing against bowling and for that matter, I have nothing against people with disabilities learning to bowl. What does make me cringe is the narrowing of opportunities offered to individuals with severe disabilities in the domain of recreation. Most bowling alleys provide adapted equipment so that without any additional accommodations needed,  anyone with any ability might participate and experience success. I’m all for participation and success! But more than that, I am for a bigger life and a bigger world with endless opportunities, or at least a similar number of opportunities as are offered for typical students. For our students who need to have the world brought to them and who are challenged in their ability to communicate choices, I want to provide experiences far beyond weekly trips to the local bowling alley in the name of Community Based Instruction (CBI). I want students to experience and be exposed to as many activities as possible. I want students to developed language and vocabulary related to those experiences. And after we have gone to great lengths to open their world, I want students to choose bowling only because compared to all the many, many things they’ve gotten to do in their life, bowling is their favorite. I don’t want bowling to be their favorite because it’s what has been easiest for teachers to offer.

There. That’s what that soapbox sounds like.

Now for the app. As a joke, with a colleague and given my bowling soapbox, I thought it might be way too funny if I bought a bowling app. At least this way, I reasoned, a student with severe disabilities might engage with typical peers who would enjoy bowling with them if it was on a cool app. Turns out, bowling is on a cool app! Sort of. Think shuffleboard, poker and bowling all wrapped up into one!

The app is called 10-Pin Shuffle and it is exceptional in its graphics and lifelike performance. It is irresistible to everyone I’ve shown it to so far. It costs $3.99 which may seem pricey but when I consider the amount of time that surely went into its design and development, it seems like a bargain to me. And given its 4 star rating with thousands of downloads, I’m apparently not the only one enjoying it.

In review, here were the apps I highlighted this semester:

Additionally, I did a short demo of Proloquo2Go as a guest lecturer for another course.

What an amazing semester it’s been! Best wishes to Project SCoPE teachers, 2010-2011!

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