App review by Keriann Wilmot, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2021
ICan Special Education Fun
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iCan Special Education Fun

Kids with special learning needs learn vocabulary with simple games

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Grades
Pre-K–3
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Math, English-Language Learning, Communication & Collaboration, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Includes activity for kids to learn life-skills routines and sequences through social stories.

Cons: Lots of repetitive games, puzzles, and activities that are tedious over time.

Bottom Line: It's a solid tool for teachers who need a way to engage kids with varying skill levels.

Given that iCan Special Education Fun is developed for students who have learning and attention issues that involve differing skill levels, it's suggested that the app be used in a one-on-one situation with just the teacher and the student. The best content includes a sequencing activity to put the steps in order for life-skill routines such as brushing teeth or getting a haircut. With so many game, activity, and video options, kids need supervision to reduce impulses to change from one activity to another. Once students are able to demonstrate proficiency with a game, some might like to use it a few minutes at a time during a break. The parent section has activities that teachers can print or email for at-home learning and skill generalization for social-emotional skills.

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iCan Special Education Fun is a collection of activities and games that teach life-skill routines in addition to vocabulary related to letters, numbers, colors, and emotions. Each category (e.g., letters, routines) includes eight activities to reinforce these skills using matching, tracing, sequencing, jigsaw puzzles, memory games, and coloring. A video section includes downloadable videos. When playing, users choose a content area and then a game to reinforce the skills in that particular area. To use the app successfully, teachers will need to have an understanding of the student's skill and knowledge level, especially when using the routines section, because there's no way to filter the options or choose from a menu of preferred skills. Content included in each section appears random, rather than built on prerequisite skills using a developmentally oriented curriculum.

iCan Special Education Fun is a solid supplemental learning tool for teachers who are willing to pick and choose the games and content that are most appropriate to help an individual student's needs. The routines section is a highlight, and may be the best section for kids to learn about the daily sequences they must participate in to gain new skills. Some of the photos in this section are small, and the order of the routine steps could vary slightly from one person to another, and this might otherwise be indicated as "wrong" in the sequence of the app when placing the cards in order. While there are lots of embedded vocabulary words in each category, the games and activities are repetitive and will likely become tedious for some kids. There aren't a lot of settings to help teachers prioritize the amount of content shown at once to a student, which would be helpful for those kids who struggle to focus with too much information present. There's no data or a skills progression to show individual progress or proficiency of the user.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Though there are eight activities, they're a bit repetitive and simplistic. 

Pedagogy

Curriculum isn't presented developmentally or sequentially, and no data is provided, which makes it hard to tailor it to an individual child's developmental skill level to show progress.

Support

Tutorials and parent-child activities are available using downloadable printables to enforce social skills and learning activities. There are links for additional support in the Grown-Ups section.


Common Sense reviewer
Keriann Wilmot Health practitioner

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