Assistive Technology in Special Education By Christine Dennis
Teaching Students with Autism Using Video Modeling by Mary McDonald Interactive Whiteboards Keep Special Ed Students Engaged in Their Learning by Neal Starkman Perceived Knowledgem Attitudes, and Challenges of AT Use in Special Education by Yeunjoo Lee and Luis A. Vega
Click on the puzzle piece to view some social behaviors associated with Autism.
In the article “Teaching Students with Autism Using Video Modeling” video modeling is a way of teaching students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Through the viewing of models, students learn to imitate playing skills, appropriate behaviors in social situations and even daily living skills (McDonald, 2010). One of the advantages of video modeling is the ease in which direction can be faded. “Verbal prompts can often be difficult to fade and the student may become more dependent on the teacher who is providing the prompt than is appropriate”. With the use of video modeling, the model itself is the prompt and can be easily faded by systematically playing shorter clips of the same video for the student or assessing the student’s skill in the absence of the video” (McDonald, 2010).
In a pre-school setting, imagine a child learning to share toys and interacting with peers with age-level appropriateness. I believe video modeling would be good for all students at this age level, not just the autistic child. I can also imagine preparing a third grade student for acceptable social skills who is prone to temper tantrums due to their losing the class spelling bee (or other activity) through the use of a video model on good sportsmanship. Lastly, imagine that teenage boy who learns to shave by practicing with a video as many times as needed. This would also be ideal for that single parent mom who doesn’t know how to teach her son to shave. The teenage girl could also benefit by learning to sort clothes by colors, measuring detergent and learning which load to add bleach to, through video modeling. Video modeling has a place in every day life and can be a tool for lifelong lessons.
Which way do you prefer to learn? By the Hands-on? Lecturer? Instruction Manual? ( Click on the picture of your preferred method of learning.)
Auditory Learners Learn through listening... They learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking things through and listening to what others have to say. Auditory learners interpret the underlying meanings of speech through listening to tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances. Written information may have little meaning until it is heard. These learners often benefit from reading text aloud and using a tape recorder (Learning Styles). Click here to choose another learning style
Visual Learners Learn through seeing... These learners need to see the teacher's body language and facial expression to fully understand the content of a lesson. They tend to prefer sitting at the front of the classroom to avoid visual obstructions (e.g. people's heads). They may think in pictures and learn best from visual displays including: diagrams, illustrated text books, overhead transparencies, videos, flipcharts and hand-outs. During a lecture or classroom discussion, visual learners often prefer to take detailed notes to absorb the information (Learning Styles). Click here to choose another learning style
Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners Learn through moving, doing and touching… Tactile/Kinesthetic persons learn best through a hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around them. They may find it hard to sit still for long periods and may become distracted by their need for activity and exploration (Learning Styles). Click here to choose another learning style
Special education students often have a variety of learning disabilities. Some are obvious such as visual or hearing impairments and some are not so obvious, such as processing disorders. Whatever the disability, all students are guaranteed a free and public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In the article, Interactive Whiteboards Keep Special Ed Students Engaged in Their Learning by Neal Starkman, the use and success of SMARTboards in the classrooms have become instrumental for the instruction of students with learning disabilities. Centered around the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB), this article tells how the use of SMARTboards became an integral part of daily instruction. The article also offers links to other types of assistive technology information such as the Journal of Special Education, Closing the Gap and DO-IT (Starkman, 2005).
The interactive whiteboards have offered numerous benefits to students with special needs. Some of those benefits include: - Enabling students with motor disabilities to write on the interactive whiteboards using either their fingers or other instruments, with touches that don’t have to be precise to get the intended effect. - Allowing visually impaired students to take advantage of an interactive whiteboard’s enhanced visibility, as well as an integrated handwriting recognition feature that converts annotated notes into typewritten text for easy reading. - Providing a platform for lessons that are visual, interactive and challenging for students with behavioral disorders such as ADDF/ADHD. - Promoting focused interactivity as well as multisensory experiences for students with learning disabilities (Starkman, 2005).
Having had the use of a SMARTboard, I can attest to its value while teaching special education students at the high school level. Being able to write everything with a smiley face marker brings up even the shyest student to work out a math problem in front of their peers. The SMARTboards also have the ability to clone an object and pasting it to the next page, thereby providing an example that you don’t have to flip back to or constantly re-write. Since our SMARTboards are hooked up to teacher computers, video models could be created and shown, podcasts could be made and projected, and several different disabilities can be addressed all in one classroom by one teacher. I must admit, after the research I’ve done and the new technological experiences this class has provided to me, my mind is spinning with ideas to help motivate my special ed students with a new desire to learn.
Because the demand for assistive technology is being required through Individual Education Plans (IEP) and the advancement of assistive technology itself continues to progress, it is important to understand how it is being used, what the attitude and challenges of assistive technology are by those who use it, and where improvements can be made so it is a successful tool for both educators and students. The article Perceived Knowledge, Attitudes, and Challenges of AT Use in Special Education outlines the results of a survey which “sought to assess how AT services have been implemented since the mandate of IDEA ’97” (Lee & Vega, 2005, p. 60). The survey consisted of 4 multiple-choice questions, 15 open-ended items concerning demographic and background information of participant’s students, perceived AT challenges and barriers and types of specialized devices in their classrooms. Twenty Likert-scale items (Strongly agree = 1, Strongly disagree = 5) asked about special education perceived knowledge and skills, resources and teacher preparation programs for assistive technology (2005).
The Sample- * Special education personnel from a mostly rural county * High migrant population in California * 154,913 students, 48 school districts * Lowest median income and highest unemployment levels * Ranks poorly on dropout rates, drug abuse and levels of education (Lee & Vega, 2005).
The Results (Click on the answer you want to know) Perceptions of AT Knowledge and Skills AT Resources and Perceptions Barriers to AT Use Teacher Preparation Programs
Perceptions of AT Knowledge and Skills * 64.3% reported they were comfortable using AT in the classroom. * 71.9% of those with more than 40 hours of AT training agreed that AT was an important part of their daily routine while 73.9% with no training disagreed with the importance of AT in their daily routine. * 67.6% of those with over 40 AT training hours agreed they could identify and use AT to ensure students’ educational access while only 8% with no AT training agreed. * Although there was no statistical difference in the perception of those who had 0 to 40 AT training hours, it is worth noting that 85% of those with 40+ training hours agreed they feel comfortable using AT (Lee & Vega, 2005). (Click here to go back to Results page)
AT Resources and Perceptions * 42.6% respondents said they had one or no computers in their classroom. * 62% reported they did not use computer adaptive devices such as touch screen, joy stick, or specialized mouse. * The most typical computer application used by teachers were word processing software and email, while students used word processing and educational software. * 50% reported their administrators supported AT usage. * 81.2% reported they were unaware of community AT resources(Lee & Vega, 2005). (Click here to go back to Results page)
Barriers to AT Use * 41% of the respondents said the greatest barrier to AT usage was lack of knowledge. * 19% reported a lack of resources and materials as a barrier to AT use, including outdated and limited numbers of computers, adequate programs and support for students. * 18.5% replied that time to learn, set up and plan for the use of AT was a barrier. They also repeated that lack of knowledge and more training was needed. * 16% attribute lack of funding as a barrier to the use of AT in their classroom(Lee & Vega, 2005). (Click here to go back to Results page)
Teacher Preparation Programs * 24.7% agreed they had had adequate AT training from their teacher preparation programs. * 87.7% disagreed when asked if they thought their teacher preparation program emphasized the use of AT. * 27.7% responded that little or no information about AT was addressed. * 14.3% reported more AT information was needed. * 7.6% responded that their AT information came through workshops, conferences or in-service training (Lee & Vega, 2005). (Click here to go back to Results page)
Although this article is five years old, I am sure many of the same concerns are relevant today. Obviously, in these economic times, funding is going to continue being a major factor. And even if more funding does become available in the future, it will be imperative to see to it that personnel is adequately trained to make assistive technology the positive and successful tool it is intended to be.
References 1. McDonald, M. (2010, June 17). Teaching students with autism using video modeling. Suite101.com , Retrieved from http://autistic-students.suite101.com/article.cfm/teaching-students-with-autism-using-video-modeling 2. Starkman, N. (2005). Interactive whiteboards keep special ed students engaged in their learning. T.H.E. Journal , Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/articles/2005/03/03/interactive-whiteboards-keep-special-ed-students-engaged-in-their-learning--03032005.aspx?sc_lang=en 3. Yeunjoo L., & Vega L.A. (2005). Perceived knowledge, attitudes, and challenges of AT use in special education. Journal of Special Education Technology, 20(2), 60-63. Retrieved June 17, 2010, from ProQuest Nursing & Allied Health Source. (Document ID: 875051051). 4. Learning styles . (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ldpride.net/learningstyles.MI.htm#Visual%20Learners: