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The Durham iPad Project

The Durham iPad Project was launched in January 2012 to investigate some of the possible benefits of using the iPad in schools for children with Special Educational Needs, and one of its main objectives was to evaluate the success of using the Special Words app from Special iApps to enhance the development of communication, language and literacy skills.

The project was coordinated by Julie Brown, advisory inclusion teacher for assistive technology in the Durham SEND & Inclusion Service (in North East England). Participating in the project were 13 children from 6 schools, aged 3-7 years, with a range of communication, language and literacy difficulties.

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For the duration of the project, which lasted for a term (12 weeks), each pupil was required to use Special Words for 10-15 minutes a day. To obtain baseline data, schools were required to undertake a pre-assessment task with each child at the start, and an identical post-assessment task at the end to obtain impact data.

The project demonstrated that Special Words is an effective resource to enhance communication, language and literacy skills, and that it has a positive impact on the development of expressive language, receptive language, word recognition, reading and listening skills. In addition, the project has provided evidence of the iPad's impact on levels of concentration, confidence, motivation and fine motor skill development.

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