TUTS Helps Individuals With Disabilities; Introduces iPads in the Classroom at The River's Theatre Camps

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TUTS Helps Individuals With Disabilities; Introduces iPads in the Classroom at The River's Theatre Camps

Theatre Under The Stars' (TUTS) The River Performing and Visual Arts Center (The River) is bringing new life to the arts by introducing iPads into the classroom this summer. During the pilot program at The River's weekly musical theatre camps, the iPads will be used to create meaningful opportunities for self-expression, communication and demonstration of skills for individuals with disabilities.

"What an incredible opportunity for The River to be able to offer such exciting technology that will provide these students the chance to explore musical theatre in a whole new way" says Bob Lawson, TUTS' Director of Education.

While students at The River have varying disabilities and come from different backgrounds, they all have one thing in common - the love of the arts and the desire to express themselves. In the process of teaching these individuals how to sing, dance and act, The River is using these iPads to enhance creative content and provide a voice to non-verbal students.

"Some of our students do not have a cognitive impairment, but have limited ways to communicate their ideas. This technology not only provides a voice for them, but they now have a vehicle for artistic expression," says River Teaching Artist, Jill Giles.

The iPad integration will provide students at The River the opportunity to experience the arts through a variety of learning methods that best suit their specific needs. These iPads will serve as a portable vehicle to provide music for classes, a means of communication for non-verbal students and a unique way to reinforce learning (record and document choreography, songs and acting scenes that can be shared with the families for students to work on at home). They also provide easily accessible visual cues and images that are an effective tool for individuals with learning disabilities.

In addition, this program will allow The River teaching artists new styles for engaging students and providing them with a tool that expands their capability to comprehend, react and respond.

"All of our teaching artists have been trained on the devices and are ready to implement the program into their classes," says Eileen Edmonds, Program Manager at The River. "It is our plan to continue and expand the use of these iPads in the coming semesters at The River."

Funding for the iPads was provided by a generous grant from the United Way of Greater Houston 2013 Community Building Grant Program.

Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is a Houston based non-profit institution dedicated to enriching lives through musical theatre and positively impacting beyond the stage through innovative education and community outreach initiatives. The River Performing and Visual Arts Center (The River), a program of TUTS Education, provides an accessible, affordable fine arts education for individuals with disabilities and their siblings. The River's year round programs include the Saturday Morning Program, Classes in the Community, Adult Workshops and Musical Theatre Workshops during the school year and Fine Arts Summer Camp.

To learn more about The River and the impact in the community, click here.

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