Hacking the Classroom to Encourage Student Independence

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, February 14, 2013

To say that special education teacher Shannon Putman "does things kind of differently" in her classroom is an understatement.

On a given morning, one can find students zipping back and forth on scooters answering questions about core curriculum, or turning in homework using a QR code scanner. But those are the words the Kentucky-based, Cochran Elementary School multi-modal communication teacher uses to describe her unique teaching methods, which blend sensory integration and technology to help students with communication disorders find alternative means of interaction.

Others do Putman greater justice.

"Shannon is very much a zealous, very enthusiastic ideas person," said Timothy Dowling, whose twelve-year-old daughter Rebecca has a dual diagnosis of autism and Down syndrome, and is in her seventh and final year of the multi-modal program.

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