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Sunday, December 22, 2013

iPads for Autism: Students Changing the World

iPads for Autism: Students Changing the World

"Everyone wins when we all join together"

Joining together a Community:iPads for Autism

During our most recent unit we explored whether technology has been good for society.  We had a number of experts come in to discuss the pros and cons of technology.  Obviously technology has brought forth millions of innovations that have made our life better, but it was interesting to see some of the negatives that come with technology such as loss of local jobs, a decrease in person-person communication, and fewer people exercising as much as they should be.

At the end of the project we decided to focus on one particular benefit that technology provides:  iPads for students with autism.  Over the course of a week the Communities program at Oshkosh North High School brought in experts in the form of therapists, autism teachers, counselors, parents and siblings of children with autism, and others.

Our class learned a LOT about autism and how it affects people who have it.  We learned a lot about what a spectrum disorder is and what the different levels of the spectrum mean.  We also learned a lot about how technology, specifically iPads, could help children with autism to learn and live better lives.  There are many apps that exist for children with autism to use that help with communication, expression, organization, learning to overcome stressful situations, and many more.  After talking with the experts, and those who have lived with children with autism, it became clear that iPads could greatly improve the quality of life for those who received iPads.

For our project we partnered with our local Mid-Morning Kiwanis club.  They were doing an "iPads for Autism" program and had already secured 10 iPads for students with autism.  The problem, however, is that there were still 20 children still on the list.  Many students and teachers agreed that we would love to have the ability to pull out the money and fund the purchase of these iPads, but this was obviously not possible.  We decided, though, that we could make a difference and help out this cause.

The students planned a fundraiser in which they will run a raffle at the biggest varsity basketball game of the year:  crosstown rivals, Oshkosh North vs. Oshkosh West.  The students began brainstorming and filled the boards with excellent ideas.  It was official.  Our Communities students were bound to make a difference and help out this cause.

We recently wrapped up the prepare and plan phase and fulfilled some solid work days of the action phase.  There were 13 different groups that all had different responsibilities ranging from advertising, contacting radio/television/newspaper, planning the raffle, calling local sponsors for donations towards the raffle, a t-shirt designing group, another group that reached out to partner with the other high school (Oshkosh West) in town to help out.  The group chose the theme "Two Teams, One Community" because of the need for us to put our differences aside in trying to help our community.

This blog post is simply an update on one of the most magnificent projects I have seen.  Students are extremely passionate, hardworking, eager to learn, and eager to make a positive impact in the world.  This is ComPassion Based Learning, interdisciplinary, differentiated, Project Based Learning and education at their finest.  This is all while inspiring students to be altruistic, learn 21st century skills, and learn about how to organize and execute events.  The future is bright!  These students are amazing!!!

This is a video that the students put together as an introduction for the "WHY" behind the cause.  They have more specific ones created for local showing, some for in-game announcements, radio advertisements, etc... 

Our staff has always believed that if you give students the opportunities, resources, and support to change the world, they will do amazing things.  I have never felt more confident about that then I am right now!

Communities at Oshkosh North High School
Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Please reply with any questions, thoughts, suggestions, opinions, or ways that you would like to get involved.

Please visit our website at:

Follow us on Twitter:  @communitiesonhs

ComPassion Based Learning -


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