As a Milwaukee based special education teacher for Vincent High School, I have been a huge advocate for this product before it actually became the satalight®. In its first design phase, it was known as the Merlit. Vincent High School acquired the Merlit through a grant from the Helen Bader Foundation. We currently use both the Merlit and a wall mounted SMART Board™ in my classroom.
By having a wall mounted SMART Board™ interactive whiteboard along with the satalight®, it allows accessibility and interactivity for all of my students and keeps the students much more engaged giving them physical, cognitive and sensory access. For example, students who have physical disabilities (using wheelchairs for mobility) are able to search the internet or operate books we are reading, advance slides in PowerPoint, etc. while the rest of the class is able to see what they are doing and also participate.
The advantage we find in the classroom is the physical view of the class and it changes into a “focus point” that is “alive.” It’s much better than just using a chalkboard with no colors, we have real pictures, and it’s interactive with sound feedback.
The current software we use in class for reading books is Don Johnston along with other digital book sources, magazines such as news-2-you, The Key, Attainment, and SoftTouch. For multimedia we use Discovery Education, Google Earth maps, and interactive websites such as National Geographic and games. For math, we use a large clock and big calculator to help our visually impaired students. We also use PowerPoint because it allows “one finger touch or using pointer” to do a single switch allowing the student to advance the slides.
It’s interactive technology in the classroom. Today’s students are “digital natives” who are engaged by interaction with technology rather than just sitting and listening to the lecture. They can also present their knowledge with this interactive technology and conduct research on the spot if necessary (find a picture, website, information.)
We wouldn’t change a thing about the product. It serves so many different needs for people with various disabilities whether it’s physical, cognitive, emotional, visual, etc... Although we have some challenges with the old unit, we found the satalight® to be more versatile in the classroom and are hopeful that we too can obtain a new unit in our classroom.
Special Education Teacher
Vincent H.S., Milwaukee, WI