Monday, July 29, 2013

Sites for Learning with Sensory Play


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I have spent a great deal of time deciding how I am going to move forward with this blog. Probably too much, honestly, I over think everything! Regardless, I am beginning this week with a series of posts on technology in special education. Today I am going to talk about two great sensory sites that I cannot recommend more highly. Truly exceptional sites for children with Autism and other special needs. But first, I would like to share with you my plans for this week.










And before I forget, make sure you return on Friday for a Freebie!

Okay, now onto the good stuff. 

Have you ever heard of Zac Browser? The site calls itself a virtual playground for children with Autism and I believe this description is fitting. If you think of the browser you typically use; such as safari, internet explorer, or firefox, you know that you as the user require a substantial amount of skill and web knowledge to access your destination. These browsers are not always accessible to students with disabilities or overly comfortable to those with sensory needs. Well, Zac Browser is a visually stimulating, child friendly version of a web browser. The best part: its free!



Zac Browser Games Page

So basically you start by going to their website and downloading the browser. It was simple, it took under five minutes, and it is PC and MAC friendly. When I clicked on the browser after it had been downloaded, I was taken to a virtual aquarium. Wicked cool! On the bottom, which you can see in the image above, is 8 linked buttons for children: Aquarium (our current location), television, games, music, stories, activities, Zac Apps, Surprise. Each page offers further visual choices such as the screen shown above which is the games page. I clicked through a few games, super fun and easy to use. All of the activities are educational and skill based. You can make music with a virtual keyboard on the music page, and there is all kinds of different instruments to switch through. The TV was kid-friendly and offered an educational button as well. I can imagine having this loaded onto my classroom computer and being able to provide so much computer independence because of its user-friendly format! 

Okay even better news (if this wasn't already the coolest thing ever) Zac Browser Gold is available for FREE on the iPad!!! Who can resist? 

Alright I know you want to stop reading and go download Zac Browser but please be patient because I do have one more Sensory Play website to offer to you. 

Sensory World is a website for sensory play that is interactive and engaging. It offers activities and stimulating play environments in a virtual home and garden. Student can add moving images, sound, and colors in the sensory room.


Students can learn and practice different life skill topics such as, in the kitchen you can learn about nutrition, in the bathroom you can learn about hygiene, and in the garden you can learn about the different seasons. Or even in the hallway you can learn about money management! 



This is such an awesome resource! I love the different choices you have in this sensory environment as well as the learning opportunities that are embedded into it. I will definitely be using this when the school year begins! 

I am sure you can tell how thrilled I am about these two finds. Seriously, thrilled. Don't forget to return tomorrow so I can WOW you with some amazing Apps for literacy :D

My Best,

Danielle



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