Wednesday, August 21, 2013

CanPlan App Review: Easy, Personalized Method for Step-by-Step Directions

Hello everyone, it's Lisa! Last week I got an email about an app designed specifically for people with special needs by the University of Victoria in Canada. I must preface this by saying that I've started to receive many emails from various people/companies, but I only want to bring you the best there is to offer and things that will actually make your lives easier! This app made me instantly impressed! Within minutes I thought of dozens of ways to use CanPlan!!

Below is a set of images from the getting started section of the app. I thought about writing it all out for you, but they phrased it all so perfectly to explain the functions, that I just took screenshots of my phone for you.

While the app describes things such as making coffee in the examples, there is so much potential for other uses at all age levels. I teach younger students and many have auditory processing delays. It is great to know I can make a set of instructions once for things that are part of our routine, and let the student follow the steps on the app to complete the task.

There are so many uses for items with multi-step directions. Everything from the morning routine, to packing up at the end of the day, and how to complete centers activities independently. I love that you can take the pictures yourself so that it is identical to the task the student is doing, not just a generic representation of an item.

The voice recording allows for verbal cues the student is used to hearing as prompts, without needing the teacher to give them every time. The student simply taps the green speak button at the bottom of the screen.

One topic that comes to mind is writing! This is a huge area of difficulty for many students, but this app can really help break down the steps of the writing process. I did this version really quickly at home to see just what the app can do. For the classroom, I'd go into more detailed writing process steps. I really like that you can use any combination of pictures, words, and voice recordings to explain the steps.

The free version of the app allows you to create 3 tasks and the paid version allows for an unlimited number of tasks to be created. While it is on the more expensive side for paid apps ($14.99), I think it is one of those items that would be an investment to anyone working with students who have any sort of cognitive impairments.

The fact that CanPlan has an unlimited number of tasks allows you to use this app in infinite ways! For teachers in life skills classes, you can teach students the steps for doing laundry or dishes. For students with high functioning autism, you can generate the steps for social situations where the student struggles.

The app is very easy to use! I was able to create each step in 30 seconds or less!

I highly recommend CanPlan to any teacher or parent of students with cognitive struggles!

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