Access Thinking

Last week I had the pleasure and honour of presenting a workshop at the Creating the Space for Neurodiversity with iPad Apple Event at the Apple Head Office in Toronto.  I was fortunate to share this day and the time leading up to the Event with two wonderful ADE’s, Kaleena Hanoski and Kerry Dwyer-Mitchell and the talented team from Apple Canada.

I enjoy these opportunities to reflect on the work I’ve done and share how students given the right tools can leverage technology to achieve greater things.

I always welcome these opportunities to come together with like minded professional colleagues with the shared goal of making the learning experience for our students the best it can be.  I truly appreciate the professional sharing, the chance to learn from the experiences of my attendees as I share the successes of my students.  When we discuss problems or challenges, I try to keep the mindset that these issues are opportunities to find solutions and do better things.

My breakout session focussed on Access Thinking and how my students leverage technology to demonstrate what they know.  My intention is to serve my students to the best of their abilities, and to do this, I start by giving my students opportunities to find and advocate for using their preferred learning style.

I want this for my students because I want for them to create their knowledge in the most efficient way possible.  This gives them confidence by honouring their method of communicating ideas and the efficiency in communication helps them develop effective means of expression and at the end of the day we see authentic pieces of work that we can learn from, build on and share with their families.  At the same time, my students practise more independence in their learning journey.

There are usually many ways to achieve the same goal and for this day’s session I focussed on a select few tools and apps that my students use to access thinking.  Specifically, I focussed on Voice Memos, Screen Recording, Dictation, Freeform and Keynote.

These tools and apps empower students to express their thinking by fostering creativity and authenticity while playing to individual strengths.  With Voice Memos, students can efficiently express their ideas verbally and can be added to notes and slides to enhance presentations.  Dictation may help the student who experiences issues with handwriting, typing, grammar and spelling to get their ideas out.  Freeform and Keynote can be used during screen recording, capturing screen activity with audio narration, providing a visual and auditory representation of a student’s thought process.  Recordings facilitate self-reflection as students can review and analyze their recordings.  At the same time, I’ve found recordings to be beneficial as I can self-assess my sharing of knowledge and teaching practises.

I invite you to learn more about these tools by clicking on the these links:

Voice Memos 


Screen Recorder

As always, please feel free if you want to reach out and connect to share any questions or best practises used to support all of our learners.

Thank you

André Kapitan

ADE Class of 2013


An image from my workshop.  I'm standing in the background to the right of a large monitor speaking to my attendees.
Image from the workshop.
An image from my workshop.  I'm standing in the background to the right of a large monitor speaking to my attendees.
Image from the workshop.

3 replies

March 07, 2024

Thanks for the description of the way you use the tools with your students. I love your approach of giving students the confidence to communicate in a way that is comfortable and creative for them. Super ideas!

March 12, 2024

I appreciate your focus on supporting independent learning - that is such a struggle many teachers I work with face each day. Using the iPad creation tools efficiently, in ways that make sense to each learner, helps students feel seen and share their learning, and helps teachers better understand and address students' strengths and gaps. Thanks for sharing this; it sounds like a great time!

March 23, 2024

Thank you for sharing your insights and resources, and for your dedication to making the learning experience the best it can be for all students. The tools and apps you highlighted are out of the box and available to all teachers showing that you can do so much with out of the box apps.

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