SUPPLYING ONLINE LEARNING TOOLS FOR STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
The goal of any educator is to provide support for their students in a way that will inspire learning and personal growth. However, with a shortage of learning tools for students with special needs, many educators are challenged with supporting the unique needs of their students within and beyond the classroom. This is the problem that Dana Allen, an Instructional Program Support Representative of the district’s Communications and Social Skills (CSS) classrooms, faced in the North Florida school district of Duval County Public Schools. “Most of our students had access to home-based learning platforms, but our students with special needs didn’t have online learning tools that were tailored to meet their specific needs.” With 128,702 students and 198 public schools, Duval County is ranked the 20th largest school district in the nation. Allen, alongside five other district-level employees, is responsible for reviewing data, collaborating with and supporting the teachers who implement Vizzle, overseeing program expectations, and creating teacher training and support within the district’s Low Incidence Programs. In an effort to support IEP objectives of the district’s 17,113 students with special needs, Duval County implemented Vizzle, an interactive, visual learning software, to enhance the district’s special needs classrooms by empowering teachers with lessons aligned to state standards and automatic student data collection.
The overall response to Vizzle has been positive and the system is beneficial to both the teachers and the students, which is our main goal.
128,702 NUMBER OF STUDENTS
17,113 NUMBER OF STUDENTS ON IEPS
VIZZLE PROVIDES STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS IN DUVAL COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS AN INTERACTIVE VISUAL LEARNING PLATFORM TO REINFORCE, REFRESH AND REVIEW SKILLS AND CONCEPTS IN AND OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM.
USING VIZZLE WITHIN AND BEYOND SPECIAL NEEDS CLASSROOMS
“Until recently, Vizzle was primarily used in our self-contained elementary programs,” said Allen. However, after seeing success in the Communication Social Skills (CSS) program, which is designed to service students with ASD or related cognitive disabilities, Duval County Public Schools made the decision to introduce Vizzle to all 16 elementary Site Schools that have the CSS programs as well as 8 elementary Site Schools with Support Level Academics (SLA) programs and in select self-contained middle school and high school classrooms. “The teachers who utilize Vizzle love it! They use it every day in the classroom and even encourage parents to log in at home so the students have learned the system pretty well, too.” With a library of 15,000 interactive lessons and a user-friendly platform, teachers in the district use Vizzle to support individual IEP objectives with a personalized student experience. “The overall response to Vizzle has been positive and the system is beneficial to both the teachers and the students, which is our main goal.” In addition to the lesson library, Vizzle documents student success by automatically collecting data around lesson completion time and lesson scores.
IMPROVED LEARNING EXPERIENCE WITH PERSONALIZED, INTERACTIVE LESSONS
To ensure adoption, Duval County uses Vizzle’s reporting and tracking tools to monitor and gauge activity by both teachers and students. “I get a quarterly report that helps me see usage; my job is to make sure teachers are using Vizzle consistently,” explained Allen. “Ultimately, I want to see more teachers using Vizzle to assign individual lessons and more students logging on in the classrooms.” Allen has taken a unique approach to address this issue by offering rewards to the highest Vizzle user each quarter. Duval County also plans to increase parent involvement by encouraging students to use Vizzle at home. Assigning lessons and activities over school breaks can help reinforce concepts to students and increase retention. Regardless of where or on what device students access Vizzle, their data is recorded and easily available for review or reporting by teachers and administrators. Vizzle is an effective tool for supporting teachers of special needs as it allows educators and administrators to easily assess student achievement. Teachers can then adjust lessons and activities in the classroom and further reinforce concepts and skills. By using Vizzle, Duval County Public Schools are able to enhance classrooms with highly visual, interactive lessons tailored to meet the individual needs of students with special needs.