Year 7 students with learning difficulties are required to brainstorm different survey ideas before writing them out with A,B,C and D answer options. They then enter these into Ninepoll and check their spelling and punctuation. Next up students rehearse approaching other kids and teachers to ask politely if they have some time, then read out their questions and answers before using the software to record the responses. Ninepoll adds up all the responses in different categories and displays the data as bar and pie graphs.
There are of course several reasons why we use this unit with our students. Obvious ones include exposure to the survey genre, practice at editing, and learning PDA skills. But their are two others also which I have observed that are just as important. The first relates to confidence, and it is truly remarkable to watch kids who are used to struggling when it comes to literacy task gain the confidence to approach even the Principal and clearly state their questions. The other area is about bridging the digital divide. Its no secret that many students with learning difficulties come from disadvantaged backgrounds. For these kids, the chance to learn how to use a PDA in primary school is just the sort of headstart they need to expose them to a wider world of digital possibilities than they may otherwise be exposed to.
So yeah, we're proud of these students, as are their classroom teachers. So do you think that there should be a skatepark at school? There are screenshots of this and other survey's the students created available at flickr group 'mobile tech'
- Jonathan Nalder