The Answer to everything is not an App.
While there are apps and assistive technologies to help students with their learning, the reliance or focus on one particular app is not what the likes of RTLB or Special Needs teachers should be using to “solve” the learning needs of ‘problem’ children. It may be appealing because of a one off price that seems to satisfy the powers that be as a successful outcome for the student and signs off the intervention.
But there is no way that any app, no matter how developed, how much money has been poured into it, that it should ever be “the answer” for students’ learning difficulties.
Because there is never ever one reason for students struggling in their learning. There are usually a myriad of issues, and strategies that address these are not going to be encompassed in an app.
Don’t get me wrong, tech can be incredibly supportive in assisting students with with their learning; but in my experience it is much less about the apps you use, but the process that the technology makes and allows for in the classroom.
Furthermore, teaching ‘an app’ is restricted to using that app and the limitations of it. Teaching a process opens up the student to other possibilities for using the technology (or not) in the future. Take for example Writing. You could teach a student how to use Microsoft Word and it could help them to write. But teaching them how to write is actually better (or more to the point – what is needed), and there are any number of apps that could assist with this, including Word, Google Docs, or Collabrify Writer.
Somewhat ironically, I know of a case where a student diagnosed with dyslexia received the support of using the Chromebooks in the classroom to do her writing. This was the recommendation from the specialist that was providing the support for the teacher, and supposedly the student.
However; talking with the student; she preferred to do her writing by hand because she didn’t have to ‘find’ the letters on the keyboard when she could just write them with a pencil when she wanted.
Sometimes technology doesn’t have the answer that we’re looking for.