The inclusion of technology in the classroom does wonders for motivating students, for bringing resources into the classroom, for remediation purposes, and for many other beneficial purposes. One of the most beneficial purposes for technology is the assistance that it can give Special Education students. Through the recent advances in technology, teachers can provide these students with specialized software, websites, and hardware in order to meet their specialized needs. Due to No Child Left Behind and inclusion, teachers can expect to have students with a wide array of abilities and disabilities in their classrooms (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 402). Special Education students with mild disabilities, moderate and severe disabilities, physical disabilities, sensory disabilities, at-risk behaviors, and those with gifts and talents can all receive specialized instruction that is tailored for their needs through different technologies.
Those students with mild disabilities usually struggle in learning how to read and write. This type of disability is the most common of the disabilities; therefore, teachers will encounter these students and will need to know how to best assist them (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 406). For the students who struggle with handwriting, the Neo Writer is a great piece of hardware that assists students by offering large keys and many other beneficial features. Students who struggle with reading and writing can also benefit from using software that is designed for their needs. Students, who have Dyslexia and other types of reading disabilities, can use WYNN Literacy Software. This particular software is helpful as it highlights certain parts of the text and it speaks to the user.
Students who have moderate and severe disabilities need to learn how to take care of themselves. They need to be taught how to function in today’s society. For example, teachers focus on teaching them how to dress according to the weather, how to use money to purchase groceries, etc. Teaching of the basic subjects is not so much of a focus with students with moderate and severe disabilities (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 408). These students learn well from watching videos and through interacting with specialized software. The Go Talk NOW iPad App is perfect for aiding those students who struggle with communication (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 408). This app features big symbols and audio capabilities. The Talk Trac Wearable Communicator is a device that’s worn on the wrist. The device assists wearers with beginning conversations. This device is perfect for students who need assistance with communicating appropriately.
Students with physical disabilities are those who have complications in moving. Students may have problems with fine and/or gross motor skills (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 408). These students can be accommodated by using certain devices that help them perform the same tasks as the other students are doing in the classroom. Students with physical disabilities often use switches in order to manipulate computers (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p.408). A Pal Pad is a type of hardware and can be connected to computers and is triggered by touch. IntelliTools is software made specifically for students with disabilities. Students with physical disabilities can learn the required educational standards as well. The software can be manipulated with special switches and keyboards.
Students with sensory disabilities are those that have a loss of hearing or vision. Students that fall in this category may be blind, deaf, or impaired in seeing or hearing (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 409). A device that can aid the vision-impaired is the MagniLink Vision. This hardware magnifies reading materials, photos, etc. that are placed under the lens. OpenBook Scanning and Reading Software changes text into electronic speech for those who are visually-impaired. For those students who are hearing-impaired, the Prime Link Classroom Audio System amplifies the teacher’s voice so that he/she can be heard by all. Software for the Deaf teaches children through the use of American Sign Language.
Students with at-risk behaviors are those who don’t have a Special Education diagnosis but struggle in one or more academic areas. These students may be behind in reading, writing, math, etc. These students learn well when the software and websites are motivational and presented in a fun way (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 409). The website, BrainPOP, offers videos on an array of subjects. These videos are presented by interesting characters that make learning fun. Tom Snyder Products offers software that focuses on intervention in math, science, reading and language arts, etc. Students with at-risk behaviors can benefit educationally from these two resources because they are motivational and provide intervention in important academic areas.
Students with gifts and talents are typically those students who are achieving academic success at a higher rate than those of their own age (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 411). These students can be academically challenged through the use of technology. These students and their parents can gain valuable information and resources from the website titled, Duke TIP. Through this link, subject-related resources can be purchased in order to challenge gifted students. These resources enable students to work independently and at their own pace. Instructional and learning tools can be purchased for gifted students from the website titled, Hoagies' Gifted Education Page. Games, books, toys, software, etc. can be purchased from this site. As with all students, those with gifts and talents need to be challenged in order to bring out their full potential.
In conclusion, it is an educator’s duty to do all in his/her power to insure that all students, regardless of their abilities, are being educated appropriately. Upon high school graduation, all students are expected to be responsible citizens. This can only be achieved if their potential is realized and brought out through effective teachers.
Google Reader Reference While reading through blogs, I came across a post titled, "First Browser for Autistic Children: Zac Brower," on the blog, A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet. The blog post provides a link to a tutorial on a browser that was designed specifically for children with Autism. The browser (Zac Browser) was created by the grandparents of an Autistic child named Zac. They wanted Zac to be able to manipulate the computer in a way that was conducive for a child with Autism. This post touched my heart. I love to read about families who fully support their child's needs. This blog post can be found by clicking here.
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