Learning through light: a life-changing solution

 

Historically, some of the most innovative products were the direct result of an accident. While months of brainstorming and discussion can lead to amazing results, many times chance plays a major role as well. That’s what happened when Catherine Rose brought her visually impaired daughter to work and noticed immediately that she was dazzled by the colorful lights around her. At that moment, an idea was born.

With the help of Philips and in collaboration with the Perkins School of the Blind, Catherine created the LightAide as a response to the fact that many children with visual impairments respond positively to light. As a cross between a Light Box and an iPad, LightAide engages children in interactive play through the brightly colored LEDs. (see http://www.wonderbaby.org/articles/cvi-educational-tools). A sturdy grid of 240 color-changing LED lights stimulates and encourages learning, teaching kids important skills such as taking turns, recognizing words and letters, as well as imaginative play. Teachers can use the device in various ways to meet the unique needs of their students – or employ one of the 66 different pre-programed activities. New and creative ways to use the product are being discovered all the time.

The power of LightAide lies in its potential of changing the lives of the children who use it. For that reason, WonderBaby [link to www.wonderbaby.org] held an innovative contest to encourage schools across the US and Canada to try out the LightAide in their classrooms. Teachers at chosen schools were given the challenge of creating a lesson plan using the tool and sharing their results on Facebook. The teacher with the most likes won their very own classroom LightAide. The winning classroom at Ox Ridge Elementary used LightAide to trace letters and work on standing and playing tic tac toe with a friend. According to Wonder Baby, “The lesson plan from Ox Ridge Elementary School shows how the LightAide can be used in a second grade classroom to make story time accessible to all the students while also encouraging social interaction amongst peers of various abilities. This fun, interactive activity allows the student to take turns with her peers, practice motor skills by reaching to activate the switch, and communicate the level of enjoyment through engagement, laughter and vocalizations. Another important objective is to help the typically developing peers understand and accept the student’s unique skills and contributions as a second grade learner!”
The LightAide is a unique platform from which teachers can observe students’ creativity and gain valuable knowledge about how children with various disabilities learn and play. The 66 provided activities are merely a starting point. With the incredible work of teachers across North America, the future looks bright for using these innovative lesson plans to change the lives of students for years to come. Next stop: the world.

The Lily LightAide Goes to School Competition is now closed and here are the final results:

1st: Ox Ridge Elementary at 678 likes
2nd: Ralph Pfluger Elementary at 669 likes
3rd: UAH Rise School at 489 likes
4th: Loge Elementary School at 343 likes
5th: Yakima Public Schools at 97 likes

*The school with the most likes will receive a free LightAide (fully-loaded with all 66 activities)

*The school with the second most likes will receive a 50% discount on a LightAide (fully-loaded with all 66 activities)

*The schools finishing third and fourth will receive a 25% discount on a LightAide (pre-loaded with original 10 activities)

*The fifth place school will receive a 10% discount on a LightAide (pre-loaded with original 10 activities)

Thank you to everyone for liking and supporting your schools and congratulations to Ox Ridge Elementary for winning a free LightAide!
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